I actually intended to write about another topic – but the build up to that topic was so long that I decided to make this one a pre-post !
Ever since our school days, sis and me were assigned home tasks that meant going out – like paying the telephone/electricity bills, booking train tickets, insurance payments , grocery shopping , collection of admission forms to colleges/courses, Buying Auyurvedic medicines, Booking thanks giving mass in churches for occasions etc. It was my dad’s way of training us to be independent and building our confidence.Further he’d encourage us to travel by public transport thereby the BTS/BMTC buses in Bangalore became our primary mode of transport. As a result we were well versed with bus routes and destinations in Bangalore.
Just in case at any point of time dad ran out of tasks to be assigned to us and noticed that we were having our school hols and were idling at home, he would borrow tasks from his colleagues and assign them to us, one of his colleague usually used to request Dad to book his family’s tickets to Assam. Dad would do take it on with pleasure as he was happy that the task helped in training his daughters to take on the world. Adding on , we were showered with appreciation if we went out the way and did something exceptional in completing the assigned responsibility.
An instance that remains fresh in my memory and serves me an emotional boost till date was when I headed early morning (to beat the queue) to Cantonment railway station to re-schedule a set of rail tickets to Assam for one of Dad’s friend . Upon getting to the counter I was told that the tickets cannot be rescheduled as they were booked through a credit card and therefore will not get a cash transfer for rescheduling the tickets to a later date. Also, any transaction would have to be done at Bangalore City railway station- I did’nt have the money – so I decided to get back home, by bus of course – collect my mom’s ATM card (who was at home as it was summer vacation and teachers get their hols too ) – withdrew money – got back to City railway station (which was kms away from home and crowded) and went about the cancellation and buying of new tickets on the re-scheduled date . All this involved filling cancellation forms for the family and new forms for the re-scheduled tickets. When dad got back home from work(At 4.00Pm) – he was in all praises for my initiative . I could see he was quiet proud of me shouldering the responsibility. All this when I was barely a 13 -14 year old.
So you could see – Sis and me are naturally confident outdoors, we go about most complex tasks in a whisk, we travel alone, we rush out to help people in distress get things done for them – Ohh seriously – we are outdoor people ! Also, we are not women who’d be content with being stay at home mom’s. Ya ! we do go out and have our own jobs , along with balancing our own homes.
In contradiction , it was just the opposite with Mom’s training. My mom being a teacher herself just overtook responsibility. With a lot of love – she let me and my sis have a gala time not assigning any work. Neither, did my dad help mom – other than the grocery shopping nor did we ever think we’d have to help her. I just didn’t occur to us, as kids. Mom’s only tag line was “They’ve got to do it in their own home’s in future and let them be pampered as much as they should at present”. My mom went about ironing our clothes and packing our lunches, sometimes even packing our bags and putting our food on the table for years well beyond the onset of teenage.
Until, we later realized ourselves that we needed to chip in – The extent we would go was at the most with the dusting, sweeping and mopping but never on the cooking front.
With this kind of an upbringing we have utmost reverence for mom, for all the sacrifices she did for us, keeping us most rested and relaxed and giving us time to study and excel. Mom waking up at 4.00am to run the home and packing us off, getting to her school and being back at home cooking dinner has left an impression of guilt in our hearts.
So you could see – My sis and I – aren’t great homemakers at life , we are working mothers but with the pampered upbringing we struggle to run homes and scrape through basic responsibilities.We are so not so well versed with the cooking and the home running skills. We pull ourselves and trod to getting a home spic and span. My sis , living in Bangalore is fortunate enough to rely on a domestic help for basic chores and has a hubby who does chip in with cooking sometimes. On the other hand – me not living in India is put through the true test of home management with no domestic help and a most affectionate hubby who strongly believes that the kitchen is a womens part of the home and who thinks that diapers are untouchables – I think i’ve managed ok !
I strongly prefer training my little boy on both sides of life skill training – He’d have to be competant enough to whisk a quick meal for his wife and be a champ with outside home tasks as well.
In the future, if I ever heard from M’s wife that he whisked a quick dinner at home after his long day at work , along with remembering to get clothes back from the laundry + a bunch of flowers for her and all of this even before she could get back home from work – I would smile for having trained M wholly to face LIFE a full circle 🙂