Recently I came across many blogs about the hardships that women go through and also the tags they do about gender stereotypism. I would like to do a tag about sins against gender stereotype but you know I am afraid of being called a sissy.
Though, the women in my immediate family were always independent, it took me some time to realize the hardships women go through. Seeing the issues the blogs talk, what I tell may be miniscule but still.
When I worked part-time, I had no qualms in spending the money. I used to give money to home. But I saw the girls working with me giving all the money to their family, even saving the bus charges by walking some distance for their family. I always wondered how they were able to manage. After all that if they speak anything against the decision of the family, it was not appreciated.
I personally know a person who got affected by this issue. Her name was Bhuvana. You know this Tirunelveli Agraharams. It was a very close community and everyone knows everyone. Bhuvana akka was quite brilliant. She took tuition for me when I was in 6th std. She is a great girl with interest in every thing, including flower arrangement, candle making. She helps me prepare for my oratory and poetry competitions in schools. Mom liked her so much. If anybody needed any help in the street, Bhuvana was the name to be called.
Her mom, supposedly nice women, by my mom’s comment passed away when Bhuvana akka was in her higher secondary. She had two brothers. It was when she finished her college, her father got retired. And Bhuvana akka had to work. In Tirunelveli, you wont get top-notch jobs then. We didn’t even know about the opportunities in other cities. She joined as an accountant in a small private firm and started earning a decent salary.
Thats where the problem started. Her father felt like he was dethroned and she taken over his throne. His daily sniff powder quotas became limited and lot of other things. And he started his part of torture to akka.
Even if it took 10 minutes extra for her to return from job, all the unwanted questions would be thrown at her. Bhuvana akka most of the times will be silent. And it went up to the extent that he started following her up to office in the morning and waited in her office in the evening to bring her back 🙁
We shifted house then. But Bhuvana akka used to come to our house now and then. I met her in bazaar one day. With her father of course.
“Hey you got a job akka, Where is my treat?”
“Hmmm!! How about our usual bakery tomorrow at five?”
“Sure Akka” Her father didn’t seem to approve or disapprove. Did I say you that I am a poor face reader?
Next morning, I got a call from Bhuvana akka,
“Pras! Can you come to home in the evening? Am not comfortable with bakery and all.”
I went to her house in the evening, and I was treated with Poori and Aalu sabji. It was divine to say the least. She didn’t even open her mouth. Her father did all the talking for her.
“Her mother is a wonderful cook. Bhuvana is fit for nothing. Adding to this, she doesn’t do any work with the reason that she works hard in office. I too worked for 30 years. She is making too much of fuzz”
“I don’t understand uncle. Bhuvana akka will cook. She will do the cleaning job as i know that you wont turn a grain of sand. What is that she is not doing or you doing” I asked.
“Prasanna! I have to pick up the milk pockets in the morning. I walk everyday to get the newspapers. I drop her in office and I pick her up. Now a days, I have to serve lunch myself to me.”
I didn’t know what to say then. After a super dinner, I went back to home.
Next morning, I called Bhuvana akka.
“Why did you do like this akka? Did you think I want cake or something. Its been a long time and I thought I could talk with you” I said.
“Sorry Pras! My dad started shouting when we got home. Thats why..”
“Akka! I have a doubt, you are working and its your salary. Why do you need your dad’s permission to spend that?” I asked.
“I know Prasanna! All you guys will talk like this at 19. When you get married, you will grab the salary cover from your wife.” Akka said.
“I don’t know akka, but mom wanted to see you. Come home on Saturday. Mom will work half day on Saturdays” and I hung up.
Mom knew the family situation of akka. She had brought and alliance working in Mom’s office. Akka came home and saw his photo and asked Mom to talk to her dad. And then all hell broke loose.
“What do you think of me? Am I not capable find a match for my daughter. I will not approve this.” thaat boot and all.
Mom came home crying and dad didn’t want mom to interfere in their business again. We all know that the true reason is that her father didn’t want someone who is superior than him. In that way he cannot boss around.
He found someone like that. There was this engagement things and all. As I was allergic to that silk saree crowd, I didn’t go but mom came back disappointed.
“She don’t deserve this. Such a nice girl. If her mom is alive, she will not let this happen” mom was saying.
“What happened ma? Is the groom dark?”
“Color doesn’t matter da. But he is so indecent. Bhuvana said that he asked unwanted questions to her.”
I can only pity her. I was not able to go to marriage also. We lost in touch with them in our own difficult life.
I worked in a browsing center. The owner had so many business. Gas agency is one of them. He was conducting interview for some clerk post in our browsing center. So I was there.
I saw Bhuvana akka’s father. He came to interview. I didn’t tell anything to owner. But when he left, I tried to talk with him. He didn’t change a bit.
“Dont talk about her Prasanna! She went to mumbai with her husband. She is also not talking to me. I thought the boy is nice and he will be nice to me. But she said something to her husband and he is not even giving a hundred rupees to me. Now I have to go. I have other interviews”
Finally, I thought Bhuvana akka will have some independence. Phew!! To think about the problems they handle, I am happy to be a male.