Yesterday, I sat at a table full of women.
Bizarrely, I was the only Indian at a table full of Caucasians.
Actually, Aru and I were the only Indians.
A long, long time ago. Before you knew me like this.
I was going to get married to V.
At that time, I was worried.
What if I was going to be with a guy who thought I had to do all the housework?
Who thought that if I earned less, I would need to make up for it around the home.
See, the sad thing, is that I associated these characteristics with an Indian male.
And when I was pregnant, I asked V, “Would you ever be a stay-at-home Dad?”.
He said to me, “No. But I would never expect you to be a stay-at-home Mum either”.
So when I landed at this table.
Full of women, who seemed like they had it together, babies, children and all.
I was shocked to find a new equation.
One where, a woman would rarely leave home even for an hour.
A sum where women always felt compelled to cook and serve dinner on the table.
Of course, this equation included minding the children and running businesses as well.
In my head I was like WTF.
And then I was like – why can’t I do this? What is wrong with me?
And then I was like – these women shouldn’t be doing this!
When Aru was first born, it took Vivek and I a while to find our rhythm.
So often, he’d think I was doing it wrong.
I’d think he was doing it wrong.
So often I was worried (even now), he’d forget when Aru’s next feed was.
Or he might be in a bad temper.
Or he might not wash Aru’s bottles right.
But, he would always force me to get out.
I went and watched “The Hundred Foot Journey” solo.
I’ve sat and eaten eggs at a table for 4, alone.
I took a massage and I’d never had massages ever in my life.
It taught me one thing.
Aru will survive. He will be fed. He will be loved.
And it taught me one more important thing.
For me to love Aru and not resent him, I need to look after myself.
I need to have my oxygen mask on, before I can safely put his on.
We talk about empowerment all the time. You know, women’s liberation, equality of the sexes, leaning in and all that.
But in your own home.
On one day of the week (at the very least).
If you can’t do something for yourself that doesn’t involve work or home.
Then there is something very wrong going on.
And it will continue to go on.
For your daughters. Who will think that they too need to be martyrs who are barely making it through the day.
And for your sons. Who will not know any better in their own marriages.
Sorry for my rant.
But empowerment. Needs to stop being a word and staring being a real thing.