Mom called the backyard Dad's rose-garden. It was a small plot of land at the back of the house. Everything but roses grew in that wild space. Weeds, long grasses, bushes of wild plants.Nobody actually had the time to take care of the plot. Dad always intended to. He had grand plans. He wanted it to be a beautiful garden with a manicured lawn and landscaped beds of roses. He was only a planner. Mom executed most of his plans and they made a great team. Gardening though was not her cup of tea. Dad wanted to have his morning tea in that rose-garden sitting on a white wicker chair with a round glass top table. He had always planned to read his newspaper and sip his earl grey with cheese crackers. He also planned to listen to his music in the evenings there while having a drink or two. Shruti, their daughter was the passive listener to all his plans. She wondered often as to why he didn't hire a gardener and get it done with. One day she asked mom. "He wants to do it himself. Its his retirement plan", said mom. She was as usual dismissive of the idea, even ridiculing it.
That day Shruti sweated all day stoically to remove the weeds and sow the grass. She manicured the flower beds, planted rose bushes of all types. The flowers will bloom in spring and all beds will have different coloured roses. A set of white cane table and chairs was brought in. Then she spread his ashes all over the Rose Garden. The earl grey was steeping in the tea pot, so were the tears in the two women's eyes.
Patriarchal bargain is a term coined by Turkish author and researcher Deniz Kandiyoti in 1988,which describes a tactic in which a woman chooses to accommodate and uphold patriarchal norms, accepting gender roles that disadvantage women overall but maximizing her own power and options. (Wikipedia). So they end up compromising collective good for individual gains.
Are you Oikourous, Keepers at home, homemaker, workers at home?
Do you manage your household duties well?
Do you take good care of your household?
Well if you are then you are certainly justifying this word which has been only used Once in The Holy Bible. You are a Godly woman.
Oikourous, is a Greek word which means keepers at home. The Bible says that women should be keepers at home. In older times good Christian women were advised by the church to stay at home , look after the children and house and obey their husbands. Though there are examples where women were engaged in various occupational and economic activities yet mostly it was interpreted that the role of the woman is confined to household duties. Later it was adapted to suit working ladies as keepers OF home not AT home. Meaning they could work outside given that they do not neglect their duties at home. I am surprised that even today Amazon has as best sellers books which prescribe a curriculum for Godly women to teach their daughters the tips and tricks of being good wives and mothers.
The word may be Greek and used in the Bible but almost every culture has a similar theory. All cultures suggest and perpetrate the theory that women are nurturers and keepers and their foremost duty is to keep the home and hearth healthy.
In India and many South Asian cultures as well as the Arab world women are still relegated to housework; unpaid, unending and thankless. Rural women also take on farming, looking after the animals and looking for firewood. Only a minuscule section of very highly earning women living in ultra modern cities can yet afford to put up their feet as soon as they are home and order food. The condition of lower class women is still worse. They work as maids and servants n homes and shops, then go back home and fulfill their housekeeping duties and then wait for their drunkard husbands to come home and beat them and take away all their earnings.
It has been observed that women in India make only 27% of the working force. Those who work mostly take on both; paid jobs and unpaid housekeeping. Don’t be taken in with the numbers though. Chinese women make 64% of the work force yet they also take on double duties.
So be it any culture women are burdened with houseeeping duties regardless of class or income group. The house and the children are their prime responsibility, the husband if helps does so grudgingly or will only handle the financial and shopping for the groceries part. Thechildren don’t help either.
The family members need to help each other run the house. Times have changed. We are no longer hunter gatherers or early farmers. Women are just not nurturers, they are as human as all the men. Women can work in all areas and do wonders. They can be equal earning members and add to the economical productivity of the country and the world. To achieve this they have to be relieved of this burden. The responsibility also should be shared.
The husband needs to help even if the wife is not working because this work is monotonous and back breaking as well as emotionally stressful. They need to take care of their wives physical and emotional health.
May be the men should be Oikourous too the keepers of/at home. The word is not gender specific after all. Equality may well begin at home too.
Queen Jezebel of Israel was considered a dominating , scheming and murderous harlot. She refused to give up her Phoenician beliefs and idolatry after her political marriage to King Ahaab. In turn she convinced him to worship her God Baal. She was hated by Israelites, the followers of Yahweh, who, they considered The only God.
She held on to her beliefs till she was killed by Jehu, an army commander after a couple and thrown to the dogs.
As she chose to dress up like a queen and painted her eyes and face ,it was believed by some that she tried to ensnare Jehu with her charm this forever associating her name with prostitution and harlotry, without any concrete proof.
I personally believe that she was akin to our modern day women, probably the first woman who fought for her rights and died fighting for them. She chose make up as it was associated with dignity raising her above the ordinary women, making he appear the Queen that she was till the end.
Today also women who have a voice, an opinion and who fight for their rights as mostly generalised as women with loose moral values, modern Jezebels.
(Today I present a micro story. A micro story is a subset of flash fiction, a super short story in about 300 words. It still has all the story elements.)
Amrita had it all planned. They were going to Goa for their anniversary as soon as Arun was back. Coming back they had parties lined up. It was going to be another busy but enjoyable leave tenure for Arun. They were going to be together all the time. She hoped he liked the planning. She was so blissfully unaware of the havoc she was creating.
Arun was tired and wanted to rest. He didn’t even meet the kids properly. They were off to grandma’s. He didn’t get to spend time with his parents. Goa was hectic too. She was so dominating and demanding. He had loved her so much once. She was pretty and smart. He felt that he had the world at his feet. He didn’t know how things had come to this stage that he didn’t even want to look or speak to her. Many times he didn’t feel like coming home after his tenure at the rig was over.
Roma seemed like a whiff of perfume to his otherwise stinking life. She was happy, modern and lovely. She was Amrita's best friend. Their children had grown up together. They celebrated everything together. Even their respective marriages were going through the same cycle.
She had no demands only asking for his time, which he had plenty. He liked her verve and laughter. He called, they spoke. They walked with each other. Discussed music and literature. They had their secret pleasures. Each other’s presence made things tolerable now. They had discovered a special joy in this friendship. Life, marriages and the routine became tolerable.
That phone call on the landline made all hell break loose. Her husband heard them and beat her. He told Amrita. She was hysterical.
They both kept saying they were only friends but infidelity has no definitions.
Friendship is a relationship that gets severely tested in case of women . We tend to let go of friends at a drop of a hat on some trivial issues. Sometimes we just lose touch due to our busy lives in our marital homes nad at other times we get too involved in our spousal relations. I had done the same, forgotten some, lost some and ignored some.
After I got married I simply got lost in a maze of family and relatives. Also my husband's friends became more important. I forgot my school and college friends or rather lost touch with most of them.
When my child grew up and I was out of the workforce for certain reasons I found time to look for them. I found some on the then popular Orkut and Batchmates and then Facebook happened. Everyone found everyone and I jumped on the chance of organising a school reunion. (well that's a different tangent altogether)
After a few impromptu coffee meetings and two reunions, we found our gang. Like minded people who were either very close friends or acquaintances in school now formed a tightly knit group.
We were a motley gang all different yet bound with a deep sense of friendship. People even laughed at the guys when they said that they were in a coffee kitty with 6 girls and 6 guys! A restaurant refused to give us kitty discount saying that they only gave it for ladies kitty! Sometimes it was just two of the men and rest all women and vice versa but we all gave two hoots about it. So much so that we had other schoolmates hankering after us for getting into the group. I must say spouses play a very important part and here the wives and the husbands got along too and we welcomed them with open hearts.
Its said that your friendships are tested in tough times. My friends stood by me like rocks.A few years down the line I lost my husband and my moorings in that order and they all rallied round me from that day on. They never let me feel that I was alone.
They supported me financially, psychologically and socially never ever making me feel burdened. Never did any of them leave me behind or forget to include me in their activities. Some activities were in fact planned specially for my benefit. They helped me stand on my feet, sending me business, references and sometimes even asking me to teach their kids. They counseled me, heard me out, guided me and They did it so subtly and so persistently that I finally found myself back again. They even visited me in the hospital when I was down with swine flu.
When I found love again they were the first ones to endorse the relationship and encourage me. They were the only ones genuinely happy for me apart from my parents, brother and sister in law. Today this post is devoted to them all. My Gang.
I miss you my friends, my people and know in my heart that you all are happy for me as I am for you!
Sitting in the stark white hall
with fluorescent lighting, Sureshan saw
the scenes of his life flash by. School was a distant memory now. All Sureshan remembered was a petite, fair and demure
girl who always sat on the first bench. She laughed with a twinkle in her eyes and his heart missed a beat.
Theirs was one of the best schools
in Mumbai. The city’s rich and famous
pulled all strings to get their kids into Scottish High. They both were privileged yet grounded. He found himself attracted to her simplicity and serene beauty.
A studious boy he didn’t indulge in the antics and pastimes of the rich spoilt brats. The great old school library was his haven. Now a tall, well built and handsome man, as a boy he wasshy but always had a pleasing personality topped with intellect and compassion.
He wanted to become a
pilot in the Indian Air force and was focused on his goal right from the beginning.
School and then NCC was his passion in that order. He followed both with
devotion and became what he wanted to.
Last year when he had seen Ruchita in that
coffee shop near the school all the memories had come flooding back. They were
all here for the 8th reunion of their batch and Sureshan was
attending it for the first time. Ruchita was still the same petite and demure
girl. She had looked more sophisticated and stylish yet a little offbeat and
too thin. “Must be dieting “, he had thought, “all young women these days took
their fitness seriously, sometimes too seriously”.
He had suddenly felt butterflies in his stomach. He had been looking for this girl since he was commissioned. He was
in love with her since school. He had always known where she lived when and was glad when he found out that her residence was still the same yet he didn’t have the guts
to approach her.
In the coffee shop that day they
just exchanged a hello and then were swept away by their respective friends. Amit, his best buddy had noticed the furtive glances of both.
He knew Ruchita well . He offered
to help but told Sureshan that it won’t be easy. Sureshan was now flummoxed . “Why?”he
asked. Amit said, “ Ruchita herself will
A meeting was arranged. Parents met
and the wedding date was decided. It was a fairy tale wedding on a cruise.
Today was their last day of honeymoon.
Ruchita was crying and Sureshan was wiping her tears. “I told you it won’t be easy”,
she said. “Who wants easy? I only want you”, joked Sureshan. Lets go and get it
The ambulance was waiting at the
airport. Her chemotherapy was to start immediately. She only had a year or so to live.
He was prepared to love her for eternity.
His eternity was limited to the corners of
her mouth when she smiled and the twinkle in her eye when he said I love you.
The poem above is for my dear husband. He is the
most important relationship in my life. He is someone who holds my ship steady
and life in balance, someone who gave me so much love and care that I forgot
all my troubles and who made me discover that life is not just struggle and
strife. He is calm and a content man who has his head in the right place, a
perfect foil for a volatile me.
all the pain in your life is wiped off with a single loving kiss. I love you
Navin for being my panacea.