Today was my monthly visit to the beauty parlour and I asked for the same girl who had waxed my legs last time- Manu. As she was familiar to me, we got talking while she expertly removed the unwanted hair off my legs. Manu is 26 years old Nepali girl with a reasonable background who came to India for pursuing her graduation. She fell in love with an Indian student and got married. Her husband who was her college mate is completing a post graduate course in International business, while Manu is working in a beauty parlour. She travels everyday for two hours to reach her work place; works nine hours and again travels back. She is out of her house for 14 hours and goes home and does the house work also.
She married willingly and in love, but is still unhappy. Why? She has become the typical “Indian housewife” who is both a working woman and a home maker and is equally proficient in both. This is the story of millions of Indian women, whether in urban or rural areas. They are the cheapest labour on earth and are conditioned from a very young age to be giving and accept their fate. Does it mean that juggling work and house duties is a sign of continued repression?
For me as a single woman it is independence to live my own life; but for a housewife the pressure is too much to handle. The sense of guilt of concentrating on their career more than the house work stresses them out. Even the in-laws and the parents expect the woman to be at the sacrificing end. While in urban areas, the men are sharing housework and helping their wives, but the majority of Indian women still continue to take on the dual responsibility without any help. In the west this is called multi tasking which is a positive word, but in India it takes another colour. Women are supposed to be earners and have a traditional mind set, be virtuous in all aspects.
This mix of modern and traditional mind set is too much for a woman to handle and she struggles to prove herself as a mother, a wife and as a career woman. This all can change if the men and the family eases the pressure and responsibility on the women and let her breathe and stop expecting so much from her. It is too much some times to be a super woman.
As Manu-the super woman curses herself and says “Indian males are the worst” and I have nothing to contradict this.