The Ladies Lounge

Welcome to Ladies Lounge,

If you wondered what this is, well, let me walk you through the history, Once upon a time there was the anthapura, the zanana the women’s quarters where women discussed things that were important to them. this was the place from where the women wielded their power. In the Mughal Zanana being in-charge of it was a prestigious issue.

The village well was another place where women, brainstormed, did troubleshooting and of course a bit of bitching and a whole lot of gossiping. In the postraj urban India, the village well the centre of lot of social changes and emotional support was looked down on. the so called emancipated Indian woman had actually become weaker, for she was all about turning masculine.

The nurturing qualities of the female energy are consistently mis-presented as home-management, child rearing and subjugation to the male energy. Its independent strength and potency is ridiculed and still worse it is not acknowledged in its totality.

The early modern woman is handed a super-cape from her mother but guess what there is this constant pressure to use a rather ill-fitting cape from MIL, well not that the mother’s cape fits to the T.. but one can manipulate it. The village well has vanished, so no collective wisdom was available.

The village well magical remerged in various spaces one being the school yard where women waited to pick up their kids, the ladies room in every workspace, the mother-in-law, sister-in-law and other extended family replaced, by colleague, boss and other key players. The issues have remained the same, breaking ice, finding my voice and space, establishing my energy.

The cape gave us various hues to play with the victim, the warrior, and the survivor, whatever.

The Ladies Lounge is for the woman in 50’s the baby boomer generation, the epiphany that mother-in-law is no more the person who annoys us, but we are the mother-in-law can be quite scary..Ladies Lounge… a space where they can unwind and feel their energy, brainstorm, troubleshoot, bitch or just gossip.

This is an unique space where men are denied access, they were never there.

Well here is the deal, you can share anything you feel appropriate, and the interaction can happen. Brainstorming, Troubleshooting and gossiping is on.

 

Mah jawbox ay dishes–rescuer — Big Bosch!!

I am hurt, angry and want to forget that I am 50+ and stamp my feet like the youngest inner child trapped in me,

BlogAdda you have hurt me so terrible, that I shall go and eat some worms, big ones small ones wriggly wiggly one.

Don’t stare at me, okay I get it you are clueless about what inspired my ranting okay.

Remember the time when you are young and you have the next 20yrs years to build your dream life, I was there once. And my dream house had a wonderful kitchen right out of inside outside magazine with a Nikki-Tasha cooking range and unnamed brand of dishwasher and unnamed brand of washing machine.

When I set up my own house, I realized that there few tasks that can be akinned   to the torture of Sisyphus and housework was one of them an never ending cycle of the clean becoming soiled, the soiled having to be cleaned over and over , day after day.  I hate it…

“I do the dishes in my house, because nobody does them the way I do it,” this is a quote from either Bill Clinton or Bill Gates I am not sure, but I hate it…

Standing with sleeves rolled up and arms in the sink, is not how I like to end my day. My thoughts go round and round and it occurs to me, if I ever wrote a book, which I attempt every November it would of the stream of consciousness type and deal with an hour in the life of a woman, at the sink. I feel resentful at Mr. Tee and Jay as they plonk right in front of the TV while I am cleaning up the mess, of course nobody compels me to do it, but a sunk sink at 4am is not a welcome sight. More importantly I would be sitting on nails with dishes not done, or laundry not aired.

You know one of the wisest advice I received about kitchen chores came from my mother, “Do the dishes when you’re cooking” I visualize myself stacking the dishwasher as I cook.

I dream of buying that dishwasher. I have walked up to the IFB kitchen got the pictures and quotes, the only thing I get to hear…

“Oh! It is fine for us in US, even in US we don’t use it for all our dishes” one bay area house wife advices.

“Oh! It cannot be used for Indian cooking, our cooking is greasy” next NRI gyan.

“It does not really reduce work, you have to rinse the stuff and put it in,”  — it cannot more frustrating than washing dishes already washed by the maid, because, “she travels by bus and you do not know if she who she was sitting next to”

If this Bosch demo was open to people outside Mumbai=Bangalore- or Delhi, believe me I would apply, if I know the dates at Mumbai/Bangalore I would still manage after all with my family being Bangalore based and my in-laws from Mumbai not a bad deal.

I visualize myself, recording the demo, and then asking those questions I have the check list

  • Can I wash the wok in it?
  • Can I wash the milk vessel in it?
  • Can delay the onset, — that really does not matter, for I can run the dishwasher and set the clothes washer to start when it is done.
  • What happens if the power goes off in between
  • How much of water will it consume – can have the used water collecting at a place to recycle it?
  • How much of power will it take?
  • How much of floor area will it consume?

But (my nostrils flared, fists clenched, rib tightened) BlogAdda, you deprive me of a chance to present my case to my family.dishwasher 2

Think about this, everyone, wants to save the earth, but nobody wants to help mom do the dishes, and no matter how much I hate it, most discussions of feminism refuse address the question who does the dishes, yet at the end of the day those damn dishes are there in the sink and they have to be done!!

The only redeeming factor of the lack of a dishwasher is you get the ideal time with appropriate emotional backing to plan the perfect murder mystery  … how else would explain the juicy murders penned by Agatha Christie?

 

 

Paying Cinderella

Its Pay Time — Cinderella

All my commitments and targets are not really met, simply because a large chunk of my time goes in playing spider solitaire and I play solitaire whenever I have to get back into a working frame of mind. Housework I realized did eat into a chunk of my time.

of course I did reorganize my work schedule to optimize my efficiency but new challenges like travelling, in-laws moving in I was getting overwhelmed and having temper tantrums, fuelled by menopausal mood swings it was time to call the cavalry. Or rather hire help.

Growing up in feudal environment I never really I just took things and the domestic help for granted, as I did when I set up my own house. but the last 5yrs I have been without domestic help, (the family accused me of not being able to retain help), never mind I had one before, when my daughters were young it was full time help, and then part time.

Yet when people did show up for the job, I was clueless how to handle it, I actually sat down to figure out what was the core issue here, it was I did not want to someone to do my work, ironically on one hand I cribbed that my vagina did not come with a I’ll do the housework clause yet   I was reluctant to hire a maid.

The first step was for me to figure out what were my priorities I realized I wanted to have a house that was running, and lets me honest my command being obeyed I did not want to relegate command.

Once the decision to hire help was taken the next step was finding one, the best possible way to do it, is to seek help from our community and people we know. They are the most reliable way of finding good help. The people who introduce become referrals,  usually a person working in a friends house is looking for a job and that is how most people connect. We left the informal “wanted info” with the watchman, the milkman the fish and vegetable vendor.

We also looked up reliable placement agencies based on the recommendations online, while www.quikr.com did get back to us with their referrals quickly the vendors they referred to us did not get back.

When the chief of security got the person, he told us that she was Nepal and her background check and police verification was done, I was quite taken aback for never in my 50yrs of life have I heard of a background check done for domestic help since most of them came by referral through mutual friends or connects.  But now it is mandatory to have this check done.

Most of them asked me what are the jobs to be done, again I was a little agitated, then I realized that unless I told her what I expected she would not know. Before I spoke to the maid I had to create my check list

  • What are the working hours, day off etc.
  • What are the jobs that I delegate to her.
  • How do I want it executed.
  • What are the rules of the house regarding phone
  • What about food and tea.

Like I mentioned before in the feudal system we did not worry, it was assumed that food was taken care by the employer, sometimes the help took home left over too. so were medical expenses either the employer paid it outright or if it is was too large then it was an interest free loan. They were part of the family, I remember we got two of the girls working in our house educated, one learnt tailoring and “Delhi cooking” so she has a “Delhi durbar” a small wayside restaurant at a village where lot of truckers travel.  The other did her graduation is a pharmacists assistant. Another maid we had, was an impoverished semi-educated lady, so my parents got her daughter married and as per the Indian custom took care of her entire first delivary. Actually last month her daughter built a house and my mother sent in the gifts as if it were for her own daughter.

This kind of bonding may no longer be there, but yes we do need to give them respect and treat them the way we would like to be treated. When my last help quit I was quite upset because there was a bit of flare up with the other house she worked, then I realized I was so caught up with my illness that I had failed to recognize that the maid was diagnosed grade one cancer and had to go for therapy the other lady did recognize and support her. We need to be involved a little bit in their lives too.

Sometimes there might be work beyond the designated time, it should be adequately compensated for, how you do it is between the two of you, but it has to be acknowledged and dealt with.

Working with Mr. Roland Martins in the consumer awareness and women’s forum I was aware though domestic help is unorganized sector and it is rather not very practical to cover them, there are certain guidelines to be followed.  For example we never really discussed the medical expenses. I still don’t intend to.

Anyway, coming to the domestic workers in India, the Domestic Worker act was introduced in 2008 – it deals with registration, social security and welfare. This is applicable to both men and women, though as the presence of women is larger it becomes more significant to women. The state government governs its implementation as it is subjected to the state legislation.

Applicability:

  • Applicable to whole of India except the state of Jammu and Kashmir.
  • Not applicable to domestic workers who have immigrated for employment to any other country.
  • Employment of child is prohibited under any law for the time being in force as a domestic worker or for any such incidental or ancillary work.
  • Implementing authority under the act will be Central Advisory Committee, State Advisory Committee And District Board.

As per the act any person older than 18yrs, but less than 60yrs, and is engaged in any domestic work for not less than 90 days, in the preceding 12 months can be registered as a domestic worker under Section 16.

Any domestic worker registered under the Act who lives in the premises where workplace is situated is entitled to 10hrs of rest between the ending and recommencing of work. Also workers living in the house are entitled to 15 days paid leave annually. Section 22—Working Hours And Leave With Wages.

All registered domestic workers should be paid minimum wages as per the minimum wages act 1948

The Act has specific safety and Penalty provision (Section 23) in cases where any person knowingly sends, directs or takes any girl or woman domestic worker to any place for immoral purpose or a place where she is likely to be morally corrupted or in manner sexually exploited. Such a person can be subjected to imprisonment for a period of 6 months which may extend up to 7yrears, and fine up to 50,000 Rs. month or both

Any service provider who contravenes the provision of the act can be punished by 3 months imprisonment  or/and 2000/Rs. fine.  Obstructing the inspection by an authorized person or refusing co-operate faces the same penalty.

Anyone knowing abetting trafficking of domestic workers, faces a penalty of 3 -7 yrs imprisonment and/or Rs.2000/- as fine.

States like Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Karnataka, Rajasthan and Jharkhand have included domestic workers in the schedule employment with hourly, daily, monthly wages fixed by the states. For example Andhra has a minimum per hour wage as Rs.12.5/hours, Rs.107/day or Rs.2800/month.

With the passing of the Domestic Workers Act 2008, domestic workers are slated to receive pension, maternity benefits and paid leave that is a weekly off.  Workers living on premises are entitled to 15 days paid leave annually, and 15days otherwise throughout the year. Constituting a district board has been proposed to ensure the proper implementation of the act.

http://blog.localcircles.com/how-to-hire-and-retain-household-help/

Who Empowers?

Merriam-Webster says to empower is to give official authority or legal power to act on ones behalf.

It could also mean to enable

It could also be to promote the self-actualization or to influence.

Do we need someone to really empower us? Doesn’t the constitution already empower every citizen of the country immaterial of the sex? The fundamental rights go

  1. Right to equality
  2. Right to freedom
  3. Right against exploitation
  4. Right to freedom of religion
  5. Cultural and educational rights
  6. Right to constitutional remedies.

On one hand we have given the rights to patriarchy, age, and whatever suits us and the other hand we talk oppression. The issue here is actually ignorance, we know not either of our duties or of our rights, how many women actually ask their spouse what they are signing up for when they get married? Think of it, college women are typically given to declaring for one or the other thing, my mother’s generation it was marriage, my generation we were confused, now it is career, and only later did they find to their surprise that they should cope with both – while men try to figure out how to get out doing either.

Like my grandmother told me, that we need to be more generous and favourable to the men than our ancestors, particularly the ones from the north, and we do this by not putting unlimited power into the hands of the husband, the saddest thing a girl can do is to dumb herself for a man; at the end of the day, all men could be tyrants if they could.  How dare someone, be it a masculine gender or his mother, tell me how to dress, how to talk, how to behave any being who does that is not human. The fact is all women can make it on their own, it’s not about needing a man or not – it just means every woman knows she can do whatever she sets out to do—the disempowerment here is not knowing what she wants to do.

The north Indian society, has always been patriarchal and male chauvinistic they would rather deal man to man than a woman, when they have to deal with a woman, particularly an articulate woman, they struggle to place her, she is not married to any man, clearly she is not the mother of a son, she has not gone to school with his sister, and she is definitely not going to bed with him.. That leaves him asking what the hell is happening here? What is she here for?

True that we begun raising our daughters like sons… we still do not have the courage to raise our sons like our daughters. If only one generation would take action, in raising their children as humans instead of raising boys and girls then the society can get rid of this misogyny lot earlier. woman power

Let’s take a pause…  think this over, when your parents choose your groom, the criteria is…more qualified than you, higher income than you… older than you… all the power equation…for every woman who we know who has been given substandard treatment by her parents, used by her husband or boyfriend, discriminated by her employers, and ridiculed by society is a man who has been burdened with family responsibility since childhood, humiliated by his girlfriend, bullied at work, pushed by society and harassed by his wife, everybody is fight a battle of their own.

Through life there are distinctions, clothing for men, and clothing for women, etiquette for men, and etiquette for women, toilets for men, and toilets for women but at life’s end it is the same six feet under or the pyre of wood for everyone.

Barking up the same tree —

https://parwatisingari.com/2017/03/09/until-next-march-8th/?frame-nonce=f8426732fb

https://parwatisingari.com/2017/03/08/taming-the-shrew/?frame-nonce=f8426732fb

No HouseWork Day

There are something’s akinned to Chinese torture.. Endless… repetitive and monotonous one of them is house work. The clean becomes soiled, the soiled is cleaned over and over again, dust-bunnies seem to invade the minute you take a shut eye. It is kind of like growing up never finished.

April 7th is that utopia day of #NoHouseworkDay, I put in the twitter status and went right back to making breakfast, maybe I should have called few friends and we should gone out for coffee, well instead, I am serving left-overs and finishing my outdoor work.

This holiday was created by Thomas and Ruth Roy, at Wellcat.com; you are permitted to do anything this day except doing house work. It feels good when the reason not do house work is legit.  Initially it was the National No Housework Day at Uncle Sam’s Land, now it has gone worldwide.

I was wondering how I could celebrate it

Maybe trade places, I lie in bed and get MrD to do all the housework…maybe book a slot at Relooking for a head massage. Maybe head to this club with a wonderful library and great coffee and camp for the day… no still better I plan to ignore the sunken sink, the grimy floor, and damp laundry, at the end of the day, if the item does not multiply, smell, catch fire or block the refrigerator door, turn a blind eye, apparently no one else cares, so why should you?

Happy No HouseWork day…

Until next March 8th

Can Women have some dignity…?

We have so many popular slogans and campaigns running, every Rotary club and any other club worth its salt is talking Women’s Day let’s not forget the feminist seminars and public debates, RJ’s screaming at the highest pitch that their voice about the greatness of women, lets look at ground reality through the eyes of  the PM’s banega swach bharat,

There are settlements where people can be forced to build toilets.

The group I am talking about is the labour force the woman working out in the fields, building your roads and houses, they work about 8hrs a day, having to leave their homes earlier than that, during the day they need to ease themselves, can we allow them the dignity of doing so?  people have offered to give them mobile toilets but labour contractors don’t want to take it on, people living on the flats and houses where these construction work is going on, look at these mobile toilets as contamination of their turf.

Then the women who work with garbage sorting, the non-biodegradable used sanitary towels are handled by them, rendering them open to infection, can we provide them safety?

Go to any women’s toilet most of them are dirty, with sanitary towels strewn and menstrual discharge around… it looks like the toilet came alive and regurgitated all over the floor and walls, the putrid water still trickling from the bowl.

We can talk about women’s rights, and dignity but where is it? unless we recognize that each individual is unique and valuable by the virtue of simply being conceived human, we cannot really talk human rights, this includes the right to be born, as  many of us have, and many have not just because they were female, the accidental attributes we acquire, maybe our colour, intelligence, our physical and mental abilities, these should not be a barrier to our dignity.

So thanks for the women’s day’s saccharine messages but no thank you.

 

Taming the Shrew…

De-fanging the Goddess,

Its woman’s day and the day begins with a whole hoard of simpering celebrate womanhood message, which is not only annoying it is demeaning and a colossal lie.

Starting from Sita, Valmiki’s Sita is not very aggressive, but she is assertive, but by the time it came to Tulasidas, who has displaced the non-judgemental story we have a Sita who suffers with her husband, conveniently the Urmila who  is abandoned for 14yrs of her life is totally forgotten, some stray mention of her here and there in some feminist conference. We are so busy inflating Draupadi, who to me actually represents the psyche of a woman, through her aging we do not talk about it.

Sita was a Kshatriya woman, if the women of Brahmanical households grew up scholars, daughters, and wives of teachers, women of Kshatriya houses grew up as warriors, warfare was part of their learning, caring of horses, political and statecraft was something that they grew up with. So defending herself from Ravenna should have come spontaneously in her… and why draw a Lakshman Rekha (this incidentally appears from Tulasidas onwards)  why not empower her to protect herself? Of course the doyens of patriarchy and Neo-Hinduism will talk about destiny, and her role in the larger event of things, but honestly there is something that we are not acknowledging here.

The visible proof of kshatriya women being trained in warfare comes with Kaikayi being Dasharatha’s charioteer, and then nursing him back from a war wound. Kausalya’s knowledge of statecraft is amazing.

Savitri’s powerful feminine energy is put down to the “sati-savitri” syndrome without understanding that she was a woman, who choose to marry a man who was doomed to die in a year, she brings him back from death, not because he is her husband and it was her wifely duty but because she choose to exercise her choice and manifest her power. We fail to acknowledge that and glorify that fact that she was a wife.

Somewhere I think these stories were re-rendered to fit into the pattern of patriarchy and neo-Hinduism.

Majorly because the textual stories which are considered authentic are written by men, many of them bachelors or definitely estranged marital status, so women and their role goes unacknowledged. The folk renderings are more natural where the woman takes her place.

Shakespeare could much lauded, and everyone might say that it was in the lighter vein but “taming of the shrew” is one of the most insulting plays to women.

When it comes to post colonial India, there is a strong change of concepts that are constantly being bombarded through the media that is the woman is weak, she has to be protected, she should not earn more than her husband, she should not be more educated than her husband oh! We assume that more educated means more knowledgeable… even if she is she should not voice that is patriarchy is being drummed in systematically.

Let’s not go very far, look at the 2014 election clippings of Priyanaka Gandhi we have a fiery woman, who takes on Narendra Modi, lashing out… look at this article by Thampu he has reinvented her into for the current election, the fiery woman has been clothed in a more demure garment of being low profile, choosing a modest college, dedicating herself to noble causes and coming into the political arena reluctantly to bail her brother out, thus defanging another powerful goddess, between you and me, I no great Priyanka or any Gandhi-Nehru fan, I definitely will not vote her to represent me, but none the less, I think her fiery nature should be acknowledged, if she wants to be a political power why not?

Just look at the rubbish that gets telecasted as television shows, demure girls with their heads covered, I wish the world would realize that being a biologic girl does not automatically put a girl into the cook, and clean slot. If she can go out and earn the man can jolly well cook and clean. He is not doing his wife a favour.

When I read Anandamath I realize the all potent mother goddess, who wild and energizing is restrained and constrained to become the domesticated Gauri, even when she reclaims her power she can only become a jagjanani and not a jagadhatri.