Indian Premier League (IPL) has begun and as I started preparing dinner the other day, I had my daughter’s high chair pulled in the kitchen. She was bibbed and eager to watch mommy’s magic show, once again, as it’s free of charge and highly entertaining you see! Of course, my magic wand has synonyms like knife, grater, peeler, tong, colander, strainer etc. She was also expecting her dinner plate(s) to be ready, mind you, she gets two, one to play with and the other to eat from, so she was served according to her choice of meal, which is anything under the sun, BUT accompanied with curd. There were three pans on three gas stoves, one microwave, one mixer, my kitchen shelves were filled with various dishes and tools. It looked like a battlefield for any third person visiting the area but for me, all in control. Yeah, that’s my play field and that’s how I almost entirely operate. Not kidding!
Feeding the daughter every minute, heading to the first pan then hopping to the second, stirring the third, checking the microwave dish, filling up water, attending phone calls, getting the door, adjusting the TV volume on the way back to the kitchen, wiping daughter’s tray and phew! That is some amount of work, isn’t it? But surprisingly enough, my body somehow has managed to act in that fashion. The cycle never ends. For the fact, it keeps adding up, there’s a morning cycle, an afternoon one, an evening one, so on and so forth. Before I hit the sack, I’m already in the next day’s cycle. Baby’s school, next field trip, dry cleaning, my e-course on photography (which is keeping me upbeat these days), the bio-degradable pesticide I’ve been trying to get for 6 months now. I’m in the center of furor as I often say.
But why only mothers? I think it implies to every female human who has the capacity to take on any challenge or job or responsibility and completing the task with utmost truthfulness. There are friends and fellow bloggers around the world who’ve managed amazingly to create their own cycles without having a baby in their lives and have given their 100%.
It could be an employee at a hotel, working in shift (or double shift as operation structure demands), who has the responsibility to not only do the listed chores but also sail through the night standing at the front desk. This one has to greet the guest with a smile and not letting the sleepy eyes talk to her guest (and that could be the hardest thing to accomplish on planet at 0345hrs. when she has already missed her 15minutes break). Has to make sure that the guest gets the cold towel, then collect the luggage tag, as she takes down the details of the fresh arrival, the mind never stops doing that extra thinking and battling some usual unanswered questions. Her system is down for night auditing so she wonders if the guest room is ready yet? (and yet another reason to detest the sold out season) Whether or not the housekeeper has done her bit? May be she has, but no confirmation, so! Why is that damn pager not responding? OK, the tongue steps in and shows her magic. Here come the golden words which never fail to impress or involve the guest in a prolonged conversation, and no, they don’t even exist in the Standard Operating Procedures file but come with experience. But the mind is still engaged with the thoughts. Oh lord! I don’t see anyone at the bell desk too! And it’s almost impossible to locate the duty manager, again! The cashier, yeah, as always had to go and take a leak at this very moment. The concierge is busy at the main porch. The lobby which is rattling and crackling by the day, now seems like a deserted castle. How I wish I could bury everyone at this very moment? I’m leaving this job right after the handover is done. She swipes the key card anyway and right then, the elevator bang opposite the reception opens up, the house keeper communicates with the secret sign language giving a thumbs up, and all at ease instantly. She finally escorts the guest with a genuine smile this time. On her way back from the floor, she reckons about the hostel rent, dentist’s appointment and applying for the leave for a family wedding.
As we grow up, life throws more challenges and sooner or later we acquire the skills to deal with each one of them. While some of which are immensely toilsome, some by default bring along the solutions. Supported or unsupported, we seldom fail if we make up our minds.
My ex domestic help has two kids. Her husband got severely injured in an accident a couple of months back, he was a truck driver. The family eventually had to move back with her in-laws for the first time to a village in the outskirts of Mumbai. The girl had never stepped out of the city, was born and brought up here, had eloped with her boyfriend (now husband) at the age of 16, got married against the parents and the caste system too. Now, the catch-22 situation here was that the husband’s parents, to the present day, aren’t aware of the fact that she’s not from their caste, hello? She did manage beautifully for a while but a few weeks post the BIG move, she packed herself and the daughter, left her boy and hopped onto a train to return back to the city without anyone’s knowledge, again, hello? No shelter, no food, no money but yes, heaps of confidence to start afresh. She had the nerve to take that giant leap and start from the scratch. Too embarrassed to approach her mother (a widow), who works at Muhammed Ali Road and 3 married sisters who had abandoned her. She struggles for a week, never gives up and finds a space to live. One burden less, she now was contemplating on calling her husband. Her mind still said NO. I wonder if that was because of the ego or the guilt or the shame? In a few days, the daughter gets free admission in the school, thanks to the government’s Anganwadi initiative. Everyday became a new battle. To get through the day perhaps was a whale of a challenge. I remember her saying that there was a day when she sat in front of the stove, crying endlessly and praying the food to miraculously appear before her daughter returns from school. She ultimately grabbed a job and started working in a workshop near the dock. The same day, she called her husband and cried her heart out. The preponderance of this humongous family in a not-so-familiar place was killing her, the lie about her religion was killing her, so she took off. Post that she initiated the process of reuniting with her sisters, bringing her boy to the city, starting sewing for extra income.
So, are we really multitasking or do we feel that God’s mind overworked and imploded after all and he turned into a plagiarist and maintained the same base for all the stories for each one of us?
The above stories are related to a variety of walks of life. Willingly or unwillingly, all the female humans are effectively working on infinite levels. The angle, the pressure, the need, the aim could vary but at that moment, the structure, the way forward remain the same. Physically, psychologically, emotionally each female human is striving to thrive on their own terms. Well, that’s the closest I can go to answer this.