The wedding was over peacefully. The bride and groom boarded their flight to USA. Karavaki felt a sense of release, the clamps on her feet had eased.  She was now free from the social constrains she had placed on herself. It was time for her to put herself first, with parents and parents-in-law six feet under, spouse a cohabitating stranger she was free to move out of her solitary confinement from Singur where she lived for the past 40yrs of her life.

She had just regained her autonomy. Somewhere the word autonomy had mixed up with not being attached, a state that is rather different from being detached. Autonomy also had another infliction, ‘the man” each of us have a different out look to this word. Maybe because it plays a key role in all we do. It is also important to know how we respond to it.

Karavaki wondered, what was her strength when it came to dealing with the authority? What about authority challenged her. of course, the answer to latter was easy authority limited her autonomy. Years of being in government service had taught her, that our way of responding to authority, opened opportunities on hand and dealt challenges on the other. The authority could be person, or organize who has power in our sphere of action, it could also interfere like she thought before with her own person autonomy.

Left to herself, she really was not very keen on authority, she was also kind of sceptic of wielding too much of authority, from where she stood, being authoritative she curbed someone’s autonomy which in turn curbed that person’s innovative power. For Karavaki it was important to create an environment of trust, sharing and communication. Any thing else would be a compromise. She had introduced Kaizen in her section.

Her struggle with authority was quite simple…

As she innately knew that power corrupts the wielder. Handling authority ensuring democracy was dicey, for there would be an imbalance in team contribution which could lead to disharmony.  Interestingly she got more balance and input from her team just because she was aggressively independent, and did not openly wield her power. The power and magnetism was through the charm of her dimpled simple to most of her team, her wish or vision was a command, a privilege for them to fulfil. That was the secret of wielding authority she had learnt right from her cradle.

There was also a feeling that each human being would be the best he or she could be if they had to take responsibility for their action. Though people initially did perceive her as soft, and push over, realized the iron that was withing the velvet glove. Her innate belief in hierarchy of power seemed contradictory to the kind of profession she had chosen, yet she knew the difference between power control and inspiring. The energy that could nurture, which always won over authority, for it was not threatening.

Though hierarchy she knew was a necessarily evil, the belief that holding the other in power somehow felt like a cannibal.

Karavaki looked back at her career, for at the moment, she was on the brink of retirement, from her job, her role as a mother, loosing her parents 10yrs back she was no longer the daughter, and it had been 10 months since she stopped being the daughter-in-law. The reality that she was now free to take on a new role, change the script of a narrative that she had drifted into without much thought, was liberating.

Deepa her junior who headed the ‘SheLeads’ program had told her “madam-sir, aapko na, aap ke, persuasive gentle Leadership sikhana chahiye”  Karavaki smiled, for she truly didn’t believe she had anything worth teaching, and spotlight was not her forte. Of course if it was a matter of principle or a relevant cause, she did take a stand and she did fight it through. But usually her passion, empathy and warmth had carried her through conflict free.

Here conflicts and pain came in the space of intimacy, that one space where one was supposed to be safe. She could not inspire there, though she inspired people both in her extended family and work. Totally dedicated to her work, and her role as homemaker. Nothing corrupted her there. She did triumph as a daughter, daughter-in-law, mother but the role of the spouse seems to be vacuum.

SangurKarvaki1955 has a question for you, maybe you can muse over it and put your answer in the comment box.,” how do you feel about authority? Or taking an authoritative position? Are you constantly challenging the system? Or do you have faith in the existing one?  Looking forward for your inputs.

Day 14 –788






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