Name: Mehroo Turel
Age: 38 years
I still remember my hesitation when I had to fill out the 'Occupation' field for a passport renewal form, two years after marriage. Housewife!
How much more old fashioned and passé it could get! I tried searching for 'Home maker' or 'Stay at home mum'', or 'Family Relationship Manager' from the list of available designations, but to no avail. I had to resign to the fact that a Housewife
I was and was going to be, for a very long time. In my mind it conjured up just one image - Surf model, Lalitaji 'Surf ki kharidari mein hi samajdari hain!'
- a saree clad, hair tied in a bun, tired looking woman - a wife married to the house!
|Lalitaji saying "Surf ki kharidari mein hi samajdari hain."|
While the kids were still in their nappies and depended on me for eating, drinking, walking, every waking hour would be spent hovering around them. The only time I would give attention to the house was when it needed a quick mop up. It was as child friendly as child-friendly could get, as the last thing I wanted on my mind was to protect a crystal flower vase! I did do mindless splurges on some paintings and decorative wall hangings once in a while, but that was just to cover up the stains on the walls left by tiny fingers. The hierarchy was clear...I looked after the boys (husband included) and the house looked after us.
I saw this hierarchy soon changing as the kids became more and more independent. They could eat by themselves, walk by themselves and even go to bed by themselves. It soon came to a stage when I did not feel needed any more. This year onwards in fact with both of them in full-day Primary school I felt completely redundant! "Shall I help you with your homework?" "No mum I got this one." "Shall I give you a bath?" "No way!" The only area where I still felt needed was in the cooking department, as hot meals, with consistent taste and quality, had to be ready on time! No this couldn't happen. Once I got over the unwanted feeling, I decided to expand my love, this time to some thing that I had long ignored and some thing that needed me as much - my house!
Thanks to my kind landlady, first we got the apartment re-painted to make it look fresh and new. I spent hours deciding the new colours of the walls - thank goodness I have a small-sized apartment, else it would have taken me months to select the perfect colour! Next, came in the need for more storage, which I always thought the house lacked so I got busy visiting stores, getting the best deals on wardrobes and cabinets. The kids wanted to have a say too and requested for a new bunk bed. A simple request yet it took me a long time to find the perfect one that fitted into their cozy room without inching out the wardrobe. The living room was never going to look new without a new sofa and it had to be a sofa bed as we like having house guests. Last but most important was the decision on what to buy to adorn the walls. We did have some decent paintings but I was tired at looking at autumn leaves falling and harbour sunset views. So I spent days looking for a new painting during one such hunt I fell in love with a decorative mirror! A bit over my budget, but what the &^&^&. After all my house was my new baby and it deserved all the love and attention.
So you see after a certain stage The home becomes the focus point for any housewife, specially one turning or going upwards of 40. I can now empathise with my dear mother who used to constantly remind us to keep our feet off the sofa and not to jump in bed for fear of crushing her preciously ironed linen. "Deevar sambhalke" (take care of the wall) "Arre light bachake," (mind the overhead lamp) she would shout out to the helpers, trying her best to protect her home. I never liked mum saying that all the time and now believe it or not I am her! "Don't rock the chair!" "Don't put your hands on the wall!" "Don't bang the cupboard shut!"
So yes, a housewife is married to the house, if not immediately well eventually she will, and like anything else she loves, she can't have anyone abuse it. As with all other stages in my life, let's see how long this one lasts. Will I still be my house's guardian at 50? 60? Well, there is only one way to find out. Call up mum!