When I came to know about this topic Journey from ‘OR’ to ‘AND’ provided by BlogAdda and Gillette Venus – a topic which aims to highlight the inspirational stories of women we know – the stories of taking challenges in life and become successful – the stories that defines #UseYourAnd – I could think of only one person. And she is none other than my mother. She has shown me the light of this world. She has been the source of my inspiration in difficult times. It is the story of my mother’s journey from ‘Or’ to ‘And’ in every stage of her life.
She was given a choice in the early years of her marriage – a choice that is quite common for working women in India – and that is, Job or Family. She had two toddlers and the responsibility of a joint family, as she was the eldest daughter-in-law. She was a staff nurse in a state-run hospital. She had to work in shifts. There were night shifts for seven days in a row and only 3 months for maternity leave (1.5 months pre-natal and 1.5 postnatal). Still she managed to take the pain of giving birth of two babies and fed them and raised them until they learned to live on their own. It was a tough struggle.
Thirty-five years back her ordinary middle class family could not afford the luxury of home appliances to reduce the load of household work. There was no cooking gas, no microwave oven, no mixer grinder, no vegetable chopper, and no washing machine.
She used to wake up at 4:30 almost every morning to cook for the family, prepare breakfast, pack her food, pack her husband’s lunch for the office, make tea and serve to her in-laws (who were not very caring towards her). After all these she used to get ready and leave for the hospital by 7:30 in morning shifts while her in-laws took their own time to get up and sip their morning tea without even coming out of the bed. There was tremendous pressure to handle both at work and at home, especially when you have “non-cooperative” family members. But she never complained to her husband or to anyone else.
After her first child was born she had to join the office after the maternity break. She kept a part-time maid to look after the baby in her absence. One day her husband returned home at lunchtime as he had an errand at the bank. She was at the hospital attending her morning shift. After finishing the work at bank her husband came home to check what their little one was doing. To his astonishment he found the toddler was lying asleep on the floor in the bedroom while her grandmother, aunts and uncle all were chatting in the adjoining room. It was 1:30 pm but the maid did not bathe her, neither did she feed her. She was made to cook chicken and all for the rest of family instead of taking care of the baby. The father was angry and upset. But he didn’t say a word to anyone in the house. He himself bathed and fed his daughter and left for the office.
That was the day she was given the choice. You either leave your job or let your child suffer.
She is my MOTHER.
She was born and brought up in Bangladesh and came to India at a very young age after completing her schooling. She took up nursing course and poured all her dedication and perseverance into it and passed with flying colours and got into government service. It was a hard-earned job which she could never give up. Not even for her child, because deep in her heart she knew what she was doing and why.
She thought practically. She needed to save for her daughter’s education, marriage and for emergencies and difficult times. Life is so full of uncertainties. She was doing all these struggles only to give her child a comfortable, secure life; only to ensure financial stability for the family in future; only to ease off the burden from her husband’s shoulder. She knew her husband, being a clerk at a government office, doesn’t earn big money. Moreover, he was a bit imprudent in money matters.
She was intelligent. She never argued with my father about it. But she never quit her job either. She cooked for us. She looked after us when we fell sick. She was always careful about how we made progress in school. But she was equally serious about her job.
She was not selfish. She always thought about her brothers and sisters. She contributed maximum in her youngest sister’s marriage and took all the responsibilities on behalf of her father.
She was compassionate. Although my grandmother never behaved well with my mother I have never seen her shouting back to my grandmother or behaved the same way as she did to her. I remember, one-day grandmother returned from my uncle’s place with high fever, seriously ill. My mother immediately applied for leave from her office and nursed her day and night until she was completely fit again.
Now after all these years when I look back I can see how strongly she has managed everything and taken care of us. Today we are living a comfortable life all because of her wit, will power and farsightedness.
When my father died a premature death it was like a storm, a severe blow for our family which was going through a financial struggle after buying a flat on loan. It took her more than a year to become normal after losing her husband – her dearest pal which my father was to her. But she was never broken, never gave up, and never faltered from her duties as a mother.
Five years back she retired from her service. In her 40 years of government service she got promotion, she has earned a lot of praise from her colleagues and she made many friends at workplace who still visit our place to see their beloved ‘Sabita Didi’ and call her regularly.
She has proved herself as a good daughter and a caring sister and a loving, dedicated wife and a dutiful daughter-in-law and a protective mother and a supportive colleague and a successful professional at her service.
I am proud to be your daughter Maa!
I thank BlogAdda and Gillette for giving this opportunity to contribute on a topic like this and celebrate the story of the woman I honour and love the most. My heartiest thanks to my blogger friend Teny for pinging me in his post titled More than One Label. Otherwise I might have overlooked this update. I would love to read about the stories/views of Svetlana, Pamela, Narmadha and Maniparna on the same. Please visit the following link for details: http://blog.blogadda.com/2015/01/08/useyourand-break-free-with-gillette-venus-indian-women-bloggers. And don’t forget to acknowledge me in the submission. 🙂 Thank you.