Category Archives: Career Moms

How Independent Are the Independent Women of Our Independent Country?

Debolena Bose speculates about the notion of independence conferred upon contemporary Indian women!

Independent woman

“Ma, I’m leaving”, shouts out Tarun to his mom.

“Okay but don’t be late”, replies his mom.

“Fine”, says Tarun and he leaves.

“Ma, I’m going out with friends”, says Tarun’s sister, Hrishita.

“Oh! You, too, are leaving…alright…but when will you be back”, asks Mrs. Bhatt.

“In about 3 hours”, answers Hrishita.

“THREE HOURS! What will you do for such a long time?”

“Going for a movie, Ma. Please understand! The movie will take at least 2.5 hours. It will take us 15 minutes to reach the theatre and the same time to come back. That makes it 3 hours!”

“Do you really need to go for the movie? Why can’t you simply invite your friends over? All of you can sit around and chit-chat! That’s also a fun thing to do. Don’t you think so?

“Ma, it’s Friday evening! I don’t wish to sit at home. We chit-chat every day. Any way, I will be out for just 3 hours!”

“Listen, you have to be home before dusk. Do you understand? I don’t want you to be out in the night. And what kind of clothes are you wearing? The neck is so deep! How many times have I told you that capris don’t really suit you! Put on your black jeans.”

“Ma, enough now! I’m going! You’ve already delayed me by 20 minutes. In case I am late, it will be all your doing; not mine!”

“Rishu, I’m not allowing you to step out of home in these clothes. Go and CHANGE. Right now!”

“FINE!”

(After a while) Hrishita comes back wearing jeans and a different top. “Does this make you happy?”

“Ya, this is alright! Now listen to me very carefully – don’t look at any boys in the neighbourhood. If anyone tries to speak to you, or even make an eye contact, don’t utter a word. Just move on. If you hear someone making catcalls, don’t retaliate. Also, if some passerby car stops by you to ask for an address, ignore that person and move along. Make sure the auto driver does not take you through those small alleys. Always take the road which remains crowded. Most importantly, how many of you are going? Are there any boys accompanying you?”

“No Ma! Sujata, Priya, Poonam and I – four of us are going for the movie.”

“Four girls ALL ALONE”!!!

“Ma, be reasonable. How can four girls be alone? We are four of us and we can take care of each other. Don’t worry!”

“Abhinav and Hritik could have accompanied you. Had you informed me about your plans earlier, I would have asked you brother to drop you off to the theatre! Any way, one more important thing – don’t befriend strangers in the movie hall. In case, someone offers you popcorn, politely refuse. And yes, COME HOME EARLY!”

“Yes Ma, thanks for the advice-cum-lecture. Now, if you are done, can I leave?”

So, how many of you have gone through this routine? Raise your hands! I’m sure all of you have! I guess this has now become a part of our cultural heritage. Just like we brag about our ancient monuments, art and culture, so can we boast about the number of Hrishitas and Mrs. Bhatts our country has created.

When I was 6 years old, my mom warned me about strangers for the first time. “Don’t talk to strangers”. “Don’t accept chocolates from them”. “Keep your eyes open, always”. By the time I turned 10, strange questions poured in – “Why do you have to smile at everyone beta? A familiar face does not mean that you have to smile brightly. You are inviting trouble. When you grow up, you need to have such a personality that people are afraid to approach you.”

Such questions and remarks are a part ‘n parcel of every girl’s life in India, starting from the prominent metro cities to the small towns. A girl has to be chaperoned wherever she goes, otherwise some invisible hands will grasp at her and tug at her virtue or pull it off completely. And, of course, since the family’s honor rests on their female’s virtue, it has to be guarded with utmost care!

India became independent 66 years ago. Yet, half the country is still under the throes of bondage! Yes, bondage it is! The captivity of half the population of the country is not represented by heavy iron chains or handcuffs, but something more subtle, therefore, more powerful and long-lasting – lustful eyes, a picture of unbridled animalistic instincts. In the largest democracy of the world, half the population of India can’t move about freely, whenever they want to, in whichever way they wish to, wearing whatever they feel like! If this is not a gross failure of democracy, human rights and civil liberties, then what is it!

girl childWhat I fail to understand is that in a country where female deities are more revered than their male counterparts, how can such brazen acts of irreverence happen towards women? What are we doing about these acts? Most importantly, can we really solve this problem? Or, may be, we can pray to God for our safety every time we step out of the lakshman rekha of our home. If we are able to come back home with only a few catcalls and some lewd gazes, we can consider ourselves lucky! If not, probably we are paying for the sins committed in our previous birth!

If I am able to reach the age of 70 unharmed, perhaps I will go on some grand pilgrimage to thank God for keeping me safe!

Oh shit! Recently, there was some news about a 70-year old woman being raped by a neighbor! Ok, maybe I will pay my regards to God only when I have a tete-a-tete with him after death!

Chronicles Of A Mom – To – Be!! Woo Ho!! Part 6

pregnancy

By Shwetha Kalyanasundaram

Phew! I’ve finally touched the halfway mark. And another 20 weeks to go. Time does fly!! The serious rounding of my tummy finally makes the pregnancy feel more like a reality.

Week 16 to week 20 has been interesting, yet again. The little orange (no more a peanut folks!) is growing nicely (touchwood) and is busy practicing its twists, rolls, kicks and punches. Definitely no WWE Dear Husband, if it’s a boy! I’ve had and still going to have enough action inside to last a lifetime. As the baby doll keeps itself busy performing acrobatics inside, there is no better proof that a brand new and remarkably spirited life is evolving within me.

It’s around this time the little one gets to taste whatever I eat. So out goes the green chili sauces (yea, I developed a taste for it over the course of my pregnancy) and in comes everything that’s sweet. Sugar, I’d definitely watch out for you!!!

And hurray, my little one has its own unique fingerprints. Biometrics, we’ll meet you soon!

There’s something about an obvious bulging mid-section that attracts gratuitous advice-givers and you can’t even turn a deaf ear to. I call ‘em old wives’ tales! As much as these tales do have a strong base in facts and some have been scientifically proved, how accurate they are in every child born is still unclear.

One such is providing the baby a head-start by conducting classes in the womb! You heard me right – providing an utero concert and reading great epics and/or classics is going to turn my child into Mozart and a soon-to-be Booker prize winner!!! My my aren’t we being pushy parents even before the baby comes out?!?

Nevertheless, I see no harm providing a uterine environment rich in music and literature; it helps me bond with the little one, much before its first momma cuddle! And it helps having an astounding singer in the family – my Dear Husband! His YouTube music videos do make up for his absence every day and my kid’s jus loving it (and me too, as the baby kicks to the tunes of its father!). And out comes the dusty classics (now dust-free) which I read away to my belly every day.

Boy! This is definitely turning out to be a lot of fun!

Will meet you all soon with updates on the 6th month chronicles.

Au revoir for the moment!!!

Disclaimer: As much as the above experiences are my own, I have definitely referred to my pregnancy bible “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” by Heidi Murkoff and other pregnancy blogs easily available on Google for certain details and reasoning.

Chronicles Of A Mom – To – Be!! Woo Ho!! Part 5

pregnancy

 

By Shwetha Kalyanasundaram

A new day dawns bright and it’s the first day of my second trimester. First thought – One down, two to go!!!

Over the course of the next 4 weeks, it’s amazing to watch your little peanut grow from the size of your clenched fist to the size of an orange to the length of your palm. Wow really?!? Great delights do come in small packages!

As the little one prepares for a great debut appearance (in a couple of months, that is) and life outside your womb, it’s always interesting to hear and read what the baby is doing inside you (a li’l too early to feel the baby jig as it wiggles its newly formed toes and fingers). Towards the end of this month, Mother Nature teaches the baby to suck its little fingers. Hold on baby orange – it’s mittens for your hands when you’re out!

And finally the BUMP appears. You can no longer pass it off as a stomach after a heavy lunch!

To add to this, the woes of my mother who can’t get her forty winks, thanks to the nocturnal nasal symphony (performed by me, of course! In simple English, it’s snoring). She says it reminds her of an induction motor running. Boy, that can be really disturbing.

Not that I’m a weight watcher; but to see the numbers creep up every time you stand on the scales can be depressing. Sigh, one has to pile up the pounds to support the baby inside you. In my case, according to my BMI, it’s close to 25 pounds. Goodness gracious me! But Vidya Balan – I love you! Thanks to you and definitely Dirty Picture, curvy is in! I’m definitely embracing my new-found curves!!! A high protein diet with the necessary carbs, and not to forget, the goodness from buckets of ice creams – yummy! What’s going on?!? Blame it on pregnancy cravings!

As your wardrobe makes way for new clothes (read: maternity clothes), it’s scary, at first to imagine your cupboard to be filled with ghastly tent-like muumuus to hide your expectant shape. The dread is replaced by excitement when you visit a maternity shop. Today, maternity clothes are very fashionable and practical to wear. I love it!

Though the little one is far from ready to make a personal appearance, it’s really nice to know for sure there’s actually someone in there.

Until next time, goodbye folks!

 

Disclaimer: As much as the above experiences are my own, I have definitely referred to my pregnancy bible “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” by Heidi Murkoff and other pregnancy blogs easily available on Google for certain details and reasoning.

 

 

 

Chronicles Of A Mom – To – Be!! Woo Ho!! Part 4

pregnancy

By Shwetha Kalyanasundaram

With a husband slogging away across the seas, handling a pregnancy alone can be a daunting task. It has been hard to stay positive about this pregnancy. As much as I am thrilled, I do end up mind-fighting nasty little thoughts that something may be or go wrong.  Panic attacks do suck sometimes!

So here I am, typing away furiously on my tablet, waiting outside for my NT scan. So what exactly is this? NT stands for Nuchal Translucency. This screening uses a high-powered ultrasound to measure the clear or translucent space in the tissue at the back of your developing baby’s neck. Babies with abnormalities tend to accumulate more fluid at the back of their neck during the 1st trimester, causing this clear space to be larger than average.

And boy! This was fun in its own way. The scan doctor did have her time getting the li’l peanut in position to take the necessary measurements. My mother-in-law and I had a ball of a time watching the peanut dance in my womb. Dear Husband, looks like this is an indication of the times to come after November!!

And results of the scan, the li’l one is doing absolutely perfect! All the tension, stress and anxiety that had been building up prior to the scan just disappeared instantly. And to top it all, to sit and listen to the beautiful sound of the tiny heartbeats echoing in the room, that moment is truly priceless!!!  I melted inside, and my eyes welled up with tears of happiness.  This is definitely the icing on the cake.

And finally with the first trimester behind my back, it’s time to visit the salon, to transform from a Planet of Apes resident to a more beautiful pregnant self. Your body definitely pays for the privilege of pregnancy. And this calls for a lot of pampering. Aaah, a day at the spa works wonders on your body and adds the extra glow that lasts (this in addition to the glow on a mom-to-be’s face)!

And now that I’m totally relaxed after a fun day, it’s bout time for me to sit with my eyes closed and imagine a beautiful, peaceful scene with my fantasized baby-to-be, wrapped in my arms – tis being my only solution to my panic attacks!

So it’s time to say good-bye to my first trimester and to all you folks! Brief y’all soon…

Disclaimer: As much as the above experiences are my own, I have definitely referred from my pregnancy bible “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” by Heidi Murkoff and other pregnancy blogs on Google for certain details and reasoning.

Chronicles Of A Mom – To – Be!! Woo Ho!! Part – 3

pregnancy

By Shwetha Kalyanasundaram

Being pregnant means one thing – you are barraged with a plethora of advice from the older generation and older to older generation (sigh)!

Coming from a typical Tam-Brahm family who love their filter “kaapis”, cutting down on your caffeine intake is a Herculean task. From drowning 4 cups of coffee a day to a cup or two does lead to its own share of withdrawal symptoms. It’s advisable to add just about 10 ml of the coffee decoction to your milk. (And I sure do use a measuring jug every afternoon when I make my coffee!)

Here’s why! Heavy caffeine intake in the early stages of pregnancy slightly increases the risk of a miscarriage. Caffeine acts as a diuretic, which washes away some of the key nutrients required by the mother and baby.

A pregnant woman doesn’t feel too great a lot of the time and the fact that her bladder is indeed becoming squished as well as having to drink more water to make up for the additional blood supply she is making. When caffeine can act as a diuretic, oh my god! One can just imagine spending most of the time in the loo.

Forget your aerated drinks too (that contains caffeine as well). So all my Mountain Dews have become Mountain Don’ts!!

And not to forget your mood swings which are anyways volatile, thanks to your pregnancy hormones!

And here’s to all my rants on my morning sickness, I finally have an answer in the form of a lemon! Scratch the surface of a lemon and work up the good oils and one sniff and lo! Your sickness mellows down.

Practically everyone is connected through mobile technology. Life’s next to impossible without a mobile in your hand. I have been advised to reduce my exposure (and the baby’s too) by going low on Bluetooth. I get a glare every time I hold my mobile device close to my belly. The only solution – use the landline!!!

And I have bid adieu to all my lovely, shining heels (Sob! Sob!). Sadly, they are all collecting dust in my shoe closet. And soon, my wardrobe. It’s hello maternity wear time!!!

Do you know a pregnant woman drools! I surely do that a lot. Especially at the sight of the pictures of cakes, CUPCAKES, pies, tarts, ice creams…(now I definitely have drool all over my laptop just typing ‘em!) that adorn my Facebook home page. But all that’s a complete no no for me (Baaahh boo hoo hoo!). And they say buy whatever a pregnant woman desires (hrmph..)!

Psst…I still manage to get my hold on these once a month, thanks to a wonderful mom who allows me to indulge in my cravings.

So it’s good bye time folks as I have to hog an ice cream waiting for me in the freezer! Catch up with y’all soon J

Disclaimer: As much as the above experiences are my own, I have definitely referred from my pregnancy bible “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” by Heidi Murkoff and other pregnancy blogs on Google for certain details and reasoning.

Relevant Articles

Chronicles Of A Mom – To – Be!! Woo Ho!! Part – 2

Chronicles Of A Mom – To – Be!! Woo Ho – PART 1

Chronicles Of A Mom – To – Be!! Woo Ho!! Part – 2

pregnancy

OF SICKNESS AND FIRST LOVE

By Shwetha Kalyanasundaram

April 2nd 2013 will be the day my husband and I will never forget, the day the big P-moment was announced to us! First a sense of incredulity followed by a wave of joy and now an imminent feeling of fright and anxiety.

First thought after all the celebrations – to add this moment as a life event on Facebook (We love updating our timelines!). But we chose to keep mum for a while, at least till the end of the first trimester (We didn’t want to jinx the whole baby thing; rather the elders in our families didn’t want us to!).

Well, pregnancy does have its share of wonderful moments that are precious but there is also a cartload of less than fabulous symptoms!

The first and foremost is the “morning sickness”, which certainly doesn’t live up to its name! I definitely spent most of my mornings (afternoons and nights included) hugging the toilet!

Secondly, the “heightened power of smell”! Do I blame the hormones that magnify every smell that comes my way for this??? The foods that I used to go gaga have me gagging at the very sight of them now.

Phew, “exhaustion” features onto the list as well. Guess building a baby inside you is a far more tiring than working out in the gym (lol! Bet my husband’s reading this…my only chance to brag; ha ha ha!).

And not to forget “lost sleep”! Insomnia has struck me while my husband snores away to glory (Duh)!

And last but not the least, “mood swings”! As much as my body is working hard to nurture the tiny bundle of joy inside, the pregnancy hormones are definitely working overtime to take control of my body? No rather control of my mind! One minute I’m happy, the next minute, weepy; one moment deliriously happy, the next moment disproportionately pissed! I’m definitely riding an emotional roller coaster!

All the grumbles roll away the moment you see the tiny peanut growing inside you for the first time in your ultrasound!

I fell head over heels in love with the baby nut! The most intimate moment and the first of many! The first picture of our baby will definitely occupy the center space in our baby book!

So what happens next? My second ultrasound called the Nuchal Translucency (NT) scans. I can’t tell you how excited we are to see how our little peanut has grown and transformed.  And as I enter the second trimester which seems like the next big milestone, the worry that everything is good – seeing that our baby is doing alright as I enter the next phase of pregnancy has definitely set in! Nevertheless, am looking forward to all that comes with it.

 Will keep you all posted! Adios till then!

For the first part look here

Chronicles Of A Mom – To – Be!! Woo Ho – PART 1

pregnancy

By Shwetha Kalyanasundaram

Two educational degrees – check! Career – check! Marriage – Check! Love – Check! Baby – Err?!?

A couple of months into our blissful marriage, a delayed period turned our lives into a tizzy! Barf! The numerous visits to the bathroom to retch, occasional dizziness, a freaked out husband!

Could I be pregnant?!?

The neurotics that we both are, we both spent a couple of sleepless nights googling out the numerous signs hoping that they could just be false alarms. There was no way that I could be pregnant. A baby was definitely not in our bucket list of things to do in our first year of marriage (sigh).

And soon enough, the first appointment with the gynecologist – the doc who delivered my husband! After a few milliliters of blood less and an empty bladder and two hours of waiting, the big P – moment finally arrived! We had done it!  I was PREGNANT!!!

An ecstatic mom and dad – in – law and overjoyed parents and a hurried call to my husband to regroup back in the house, my fingers were crossed! How do I break the news to him?!? Numerous flashes of the Cadbury’s ad showcasing the wife breaking the news of her pregnancy kept playing in my mind. Do I follow a similar technique?

The husband arrives…with a bunch of flowers and a box of my favorite chocolates! What?!? Am I dreaming?!? A warm hug and a kiss on the forehead later, and with a wide grin on his face, “Can you believe it baby? We’re gonna be PARENTS soon!!”

Let the celebrations begin!

What happens next, stay tuned!