I was invited to a party at an official acquaintance’s home. Parties always get me all excited. The idea to dress up and look pretty is such a girlie thing.
So I wore a pink sari, brushed my long hair down and trotted into the party with my husband.
There were many familiar faces there.
But each seemed very important and all of them seemed to have a fabulous career, fabulous bodies and very happy marriages. The alcohol consumption was tipsy but not tippled over. I had learnt the rules of social etiquette by now.
I had given up career and had embraced becoming a full time mother to my growing son. I was a dutiful wife to my husband, a good daughter in law and a good daughter. By good as society defines it as a “woman who makes things as comfortable for each family member. I forgot to add the house-help staff too, but she has learnt to disconnect from her own discomfort”.
Women complimented my sari, my looks and then they asked me what do I do? I used to struggle to answer.
Pregnant with feelings of invalidity I said “I am a homemaker”. She smiled at me and said “lovely” and as gently as she had said lovely, in equal gentleness she moved her shoulders away from me to talk to another woman who was talking about women entrepreneurs loans from banks.
I stood there alone, feeling rejected but I smiled and took a gulp of my drink, keeping up the appearance.
In all this I realized that women themselves don’t recognize housework as a valid job.
India is a far cry from equality in villages but women in cities too have been fed the notion of value versus salary.
So a housewife remains redundant in this conversation of the pseudo feminists.