Monday, March 5, 2012
I remember, very early in life, during a moral science class, we were told how important it is to be 'humble' and 'modest'. "Whatever your achievements be, you should always be 'umble", said the teacher wisely. This was ofcourse a convent school dedicated to the purpose of producing 'young ladies' who'd hold the social fabric of the outside world together with their humble and modest persuits. In today's world, these virtues are tantamout to committing harakiri, both in your prefessional and personal life. That's why 'Moral Science' has been done away with even in the convent school curriculum!! Anyhow, the above mentioned humility and modesty were specially appreciated in women, and we imbibed the same with great enthusiasm not understanding how, we as women, had virtually agreed to make ourselves and our work invisible! Now after a lifelong practice of modesty and humility, I look back upon my life, my studies, my home, my children, my existence and wonder, is there any way in which I can justify celebrating myself?
I ask myself, what is it about me that can be celebrated? I am a singularly unambitious person, and at one point, I did not know what I really wanted to do....I just went with the flow and appeared for MA entrance exams, I got through, so I did my MA. Then my father wanted me to do a BEd, as teaching, according to him, was the best profession for women, so I did a BEd. There was only the one time that I actually took a strong position regarding my studies at that was when I decided to do an MPhil in History because I had missed my subject during my BEd days! Then, after marriage my dear husband wanted me to try for a teaching job in college so I appeared for the NET examinations (I had flunked it twice and was mortally scared of it), by some miracle I got through and I even received a scholarship for further studies, so I joined Phd! Thus, circumstances were so created that I came to become quite 'highly educated' even without trying consciously to be so!
After my academic escapades, the next thing about me that could be celebrated is motherhood. I take my two kids very seriously, infact, they are something that I feel thankful for every single day. Both my babies are planned, hoped for and wanted dearly. In fact I had always wanted babies, even though I was not sure whether I wanted to be married at all! I am the epitome of Bengali motherhood and I am very proud of my talented Brat Girl and my loving Mite. That does not mean that I don't shout my lungs out to discipline them or don't whack them when necessary! But I also give them a lot of love, I still kiss them awake every morning and try to always be there for them. The problem with that is that even the 12 year old Brat won't get out of bed without me coming and hugging and kissing her even on a holiday! Also, I do not enjoy a moment of peace with the kids being used to having me at their beck and call even when I have sat myself in the loo!
As a person, what can be celebrated about me is that I am very loyal, and I am always very fair. I have a strong sense of right and wrong and I can separate a person from the wrong he or she has committed. I won't ever hate a person for some wrong deed or word that might have hurt me, I will focus on his or her good points and try to explain why I have got hurt. My husband often says, "If you go out with Diya, be prepared to take an accident victim to the hospital, rescue troubled old ladies and engage in sundry other social service work..." I can't ignore people in distress, I try to do what I can, help in any way possible. Ofcourse, the Mr has only been forced to come to the aid of two young boys who were finding it difficult to push a huge puppet along the road as part of the World Puppet Day celebratory procession in which we had participated! If I had been earning now, I am sure I would have given regular contributions to several causes close to my heart! Now I try to give my services and contribute books etc...
I am a strong and dependable person and I take my relationships very seriously. The problem is, I often expect the same dependability in others and get jolted back into reality as a result. If I give my word, come hail or high water, I try to keep my word and I am very apologetic if I can't! But I do think that this is rare quality in this day and age and should be celebrated!
I also pride myself on being a 'feminist' in that, I believe that women have the right to equal opportunity and should be given the dignity and respect they deserve as human beings. Any discrimination and prejudice based on gender is unacceptable to me. That does not mean that I hate the people who are so prejudiced, but I try to point out how the prejudice works and I hope to root out such prejudice from the minds of my family and friends and indeed anyone that I may encounter. I am not afraid of the any attack or accusation I might face on account of my stauch defence of gender equality and non-discrimination.
Well, in conclusion, I can say, I am a passably agreeable sample of womanhood worthy of some 'celebrating' and deserving of some appreciation. Not a bad sort at all, in fact I would be quite happy to have myself as a friend!