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birthday retrospection- coming of age

Over the years, I have started to retrospect on the year that was; more so when I have blown out an extra candle on my birthday cake.

The year before last had been a happening year, where I took charge of life, and learnt to be at the steering wheel, both figuratively and literally. But what about the last year?
The last year has shown me a glimpse into my future. Not only did I see what I would most probably be doing for the rest of my professional life, but also a glimpse into all the other aspects of my life.
Last year I found myself working alongside women who were at-least 5 years my senior. Women who were married, some had children, most had worked for a few years, others had taken a sabbatical to raise their children. Women from all walks of life, hailing from joint families, to nuclear families settled abroad. These women showed me a glimpse into what life would be in years to come.

We spoke not just about our work, but about problems of in-laws, misunderstandings with husbands, anxiety of pregnancy, potty training children, to handling pre teens. All in all a learning experience.

But what I found most amazing was how these women were still the same. These women liked to have maggi for dinner, infact preferred it over boring hostel food, they got excited over sales and movie releases, they fought for the last piece of chocolate, they refused to share their ice cream, they ate junk food, and they pressed the snooze button of the alarm. I was astonished. 

Mothers aren’t supposed to have junk food, or Maggi! They are supposed to have only nutritious healthy food, or so I thought as I grew up. Mothers are not supposed to fight for the chocolate, afterall they should be used to giving it to the children/other family members.mothers wake up at the crack of dawn and keep nagging their children to get up, they DO NOT SNOOZE.

 Women always sacrifice, in small or big ways I felt. They toil in the kitchen , while the children and hubby dearest have hot rotis then they have their meal last. Women move with their families, do what is best for the ‘team’. Here I saw the ‘team’ helping the woman out. The husband moving to down south Madurai as his wife completed her course. The in-laws , and parents looking after the children. The wives and mothers continued to be the women they were prior to all the ‘major life changes’.

Ever since I was a little girl I wondered what will I be, only to be answered by que sera sera, the futures noy ours to see. Would I be demanding, or easy going. Would I be a martyr or a matron? All these questions stopped mattering all of a sudden when I realized that I was already what I was going to be.
I realized that I needn’t hold my breath to see if the caterpillar had turned into a butterfly. I was a butterfly-for better or for worse.I always thought life was about reaching milestones, the growth milestones where we cease to do what we did as younger selves.This past year showed me that I had already become whoever I had to become, the changing tides of time would not change the fact that I loved dark chocolate or that I liked chick flick movies. As a kid when I heard my mother say don’t eat chocolate or no maggi before dinner, I figured that she did not like them herself. Every child likes chocolate and doesn’t like to study and just see tv. Every adult on the other hand is all about nutrition, and study and NO TV. So I presumed that somewhere between being a child and becoming an adult I would lose these ‘childish ‘ habits. This past year I have seen these same mothers, say lines like, “ I don’t want to go to the library or read today, lets watch a movie.” So there. These same mothers who sit on their childrens head for homework, have a trouble doing their own. I would not miraculously become more responsible, circumstances might make me tow the line, but deep down I would still remain the girl who would rather wash the dishes ‘the next day.’

I felt a lot like the proverbial leopard who realizes that he has stripes and these stripes are not going to change. I was an adult now, and I still lived with my ‘childish habits’ and news flash , they were gonna stay. I no longer had to worry about I I would be, as I had already become.
Much like a bowl of jelly, which seems semi solid and malleable, I just realized that I had jelled and solidified into my own mould.


Unknown said…
Good one Kuheli....I loved it. I guess we'll always be what we are...there might be some changes here and there but in the end we are what we are!! Age is not going to change it. And you are right about the family helping and sacrificing for the women....its not always the other way round. I guess we should consider ourselves lucky to have all those "backbones"to help us stand up as an independent individual.
it's truly a good sign to see that the family is helping women retain their identity and helping them achieve their goals. a very heartening thing. after seeing you guys, roopasree and lalitha, i feel more positively about the institute of marriage :D

Very interesting blog, Kuheli. You really write well. It was interesting to read about your contradictory beliefs about women and growing girls. Yes, women have changed a lot in the past few decades. The playing field is not the same as it once was.

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