Has Corona Empowered you?

I opened the plates shelf in the kitchen to pull out a clean plate to serve breakfast. I was surprised and happy to see the plates so nicely stacked in the shelf. Only a day before I had told my son how to stack the plates in the shelf. Until then, he would take the plates out from dishwasher and keep them on the slab seeking excuse that he wasn’t tall enough to reach the shelf. So I made him realize that he could become taller with the help of a stool or a chair. His eyes shone up and the thought of some mischief that he could do climbing on the chair, and as a side-effect he stacked up the plates very nicely.

I was naturally happy to see that he had remembered the trick even next day and announced to my family members, “Look, how properly, our champ has arranged the plates”. Just then my mother in law claimed, “it wasn’t him but Papa. Papa couldn’t get the clothes from the terrace as it was very hot so he took the dishes out from dishwasher”.

I was basking in the glory of my son’s effort but was soon dragged out of it. However, I realized that how empowered my entire family had become in last few days. They didn’t need to be reminded that their contribution was important and they had authority and freedom to chose what they wanted to do, just keeping in mind that the entire ecosystem worked in harmony. I am not ashamed to say that my father in law also contributes to the house hold chores, in-fact I am proud of him. He doesn’t let the usual male ego or age old believes or “Log kya kahenge” stereotypes to stop him from doing tasks for his family.

Now, you must be wondering that how does empowerment come into picture here? And don’t we always talk about women empowerment  or employee empowerment, so how is contributing to household chores fall into the category of empowerment?

It surely does. Let me explain. if you search synonyms of “Empowerment”, this is what you will find: autonomous, paddle your own canoe, at will and so on. Basically all them lead to a simple philosophy ,”sustaining on your own”. How many of us are truly capable of that? We are always dependent on others for our sustenance and dependencies cannot be completely eliminated, for example, not all of us can do farming and grow our own food. But, given a well established ecosystem, like a house and family, still we are dependent on few in the family to do our tasks. We have created our own set of rules like cleaning, mopping, washing dishes, putting clothes on drying lines, cooking and everything that makes your house livable are duties of female members. Soon, these rules got associated to beliefs and “log kya kahenge” biases. As a result, female members outsourced some of these tasks to maids and cooks because there was no use of asking the males to help. And one find day, “Corona” happened!

Now what? Some cribbed about the increased work load, some sent jokes and memes on social media, some did nothing because it was a much needed break for them while females in their house slogged and few decided to take this opportunity to empower themselves. I do not mind if those few gave “Corona” as the reason for their empowerment because reason does not matter, only the intention does. Because empowerment happens only if one wants to gain the power, because with power comes responsibility. That’s another reason that most of the times, we do not show the willingness to learn a task, because we are afraid that if we learn, then it will be stuck with us forever.

We have been watching “Ramayan” lately and though until now, I couldn’t agree to some beliefs shown in the epic, this time, I am watching it with more maturity and acceptance. In early life of Ram, the Gurukul phase is shown where all students are bound to learn and do all the tasks, irrespective of their family background. Ram and his brothers, are seen doing all worldly tasks. Sadly we conveniently ignored this part of the great epic, but remembered how women are supposed to pray their husbands as GOD. Anyways, lets not get into this debate.

Coming back to the story of my household. Much before the lock-down started, my mother in law and I contemplated to give paid leave to our maid and cook as both looked genuinely scared to come for work. It was our duty to keep them safe as they used public transport and had a family of their own. I was in dilemma, with work from home keeping me on calls all the time, I was not sure how much I would be able to contribute towards other chores. So we agreed on distribution of work among-st five family members. Its been 3 weeks of work from home now and our boat has been sailing smoothly. Everyone is well aware of what they have to do, we have chosen our own timing of completion our tasks, all of us are playing our part diligently, if for some reason one person is not able to do his part, other one pitches in. Their is a smile on everyone’s face, a feeling of pride that we are self sufficient, generous, grateful for our blessings and most importantly, we feel Empowered.

I am well aware of the fact that we will relapse to our usual dependent living on maids and cooks, after Corona. Still we decided to utilize this time to break biases, forget about the jokes people will crack on us, find our own capabilities and stand by each other. I proudly send pics of “us” doing household chores to my family groups, some laugh, some praise, and some probably feel bad about it. It does not affect me, because even if one person gets inspired and gets up to help, seeing those pics, my job is done. And if nobody gets inspired, then also, MY job is done 😉

This week, my son taught me a very important lesson using his fidget spinner (check out the video on my LinkedIn page), that empowerment does not need forming a strategy or brainstorming, all you need is a touch and energy itself takes care of flowing to the touched person.

Ironically, Corona does the same, just that its power brings in negativity in life.

Now its on us to decide that how do we want Corona to empower us and our dear ones.


Image Courtesy: https://www.proactiveinvestors.com/companies/news/179261/fidget-spinner…

No Strings Attached (The Bond) – Part 2

Part 1 – http://thoughtschef.com/2020/02/17/no-strings-attached-part-1/

Mohit had first interacted with Rachel six months back when they were both assigned to work on a project. He was supposed to head the India market while she would be his counterpart from the US. They had instantly hit a great working relationship. With in a few calls, Mohit had realized, how diligent Rachel was towards her work. He had started respecting her.

He would often talk about his work and Rachel to his wife Samaira.
Samaira and Mohit were happily married for 2 years, though it wasn’t a love marriage, but Mohit being a born romantic always tried to surprise Samaira with his subtle ways. Samaira on the other hand was a very practical girl. She was always focused on a better life. And Mohit felt that the bond was missing, that even after 2 years, Samaira was holding herself back, that she didn’t love him.
The feeling nagged him all the time.
He constantly thought about how to win over her heart.

Project pressure was also increasing by the day and he interacted with Rachel on hourly basis now. They were always on call about work and during some light moments they would share jokes or even flirt with each other. Rachel once made a statement that she was spending more time with him rather than with her husband Pete.

After 6 months of practically talking to each other for hours, Rachel’s trip to India was planned. Mohit had his own plans for Rachel. But she is a smart women. It won’t be easy and he also had a guilt. She trusted him, was he doing right? But he needed to do it for himself.

After 2 glasses of wine, he felt relaxed and ready and so he asked her! She was intrigued. Exactly the reaction he had planned for. After another glass he had the next four evenings planned.

Next 4 days, he took care of Rachel, he loved her, bought flowers for her, took her for shopping, dinner to Indian restaurants. He opened his heart out to her. He told her about his childhood memories, good and bad. Heard her talk about her life, her dreams. He made her feel special, important.

After dinner on Friday night, he asked her if she was able to make up her mind and she said “you are 4 years late”. That meant an uncertain yes, but he wanted a definitive yes.

Later in the night when he dropped her at the hotel, he gave her a hug, a warm hug. And he knew he had succeeded. Rachel held him, she didn’t want to let go, she wanted more. At that moment, when they were so close yet so far, he knew, she meant “yes”. He moved away delicately.

They waited for a while in silence and then she went inside the hotel and he drove back home.

When the plane landed, and Rachel turned off the airplane mode, all she wanted was to see his reply. Her phone kept beeping, so many texts, from Pete, from her mom, finally she found what she was looking for, “4 days were enough, thanks Rachel”.

He saw the blue line, she had read it, he hugged Samaria and looked into her eyes. He was happy with himself, he could still make a woman fall for him. Some day, Samaira will also love him.

Note: If you liked the story and want more from it, then do leave a comment 🙂

High Heels

Meher felt uneasy, she turned to her side, trying to shield her ears with her cushion. Words that fell on her ears sounded like noise. She tried hard to sleep. But the dreams that filled her eyes and mind were disturbing. She didn’t see her fairy angel this time.

She woke up startled, and started kicking, trying to grab attention. Like always, kicking did not go unnoticed. Meher felt the pat and heard those magical words, “hey baby, so you are awake. Don’t worry, mamma is here. Are you hungry?”. Meher kicked again. “I knew” a pat with a chuckle. “You know what, mamma is hungry too. Lets eat something sweet”.

Meher felt content, and she dozed off in dreams coated with the sweetness of her mother’s words! “Mother’s womb is such a beautiful place to be”, she thought. But what was that noise?

Meher’s entry to the world was marked with bitter and sweet moments. At the age of 2, she was judged for being short, like her mother. At 5, she was advised to practice wearing heels when she grows up, if she wanted to grab a good husband. At 9, she was made fun of, for being the shortest girl in her class. “Nobody can see you”, everyone would laugh at her.

She would come crying to her mom, “Why am I not tall like other girls mamma? Why is being visible so important?. Her mamma had no answers, she was advised to eat protein rich diet during her pregnancy to have a tall baby. Meher was judged even before she was born. All her mamma could say was, “Don’t worry baby, mamma is here. I will buy you a beautiful pair of heels and then you will also be visible”.

At the age of 12, heels became Meher’s best friend. She wore them like a pro, blocks, stilettos, cone…she adored her heels for giving her, that much needed visibility.

At 13, she was hit by lightening. Her heels would not be able to help her anymore. She was covered from tip to toe in a black naqab. “Why were they all so worried about my height, if all they wanted was to cover me up?” she complained. She wanted to rebel, but her mamma stopped her. “It will not help you Meher. Find your own heels, and then everyone will see you”.

She found solace in books and read as much as she could. Meher was a natural at stage, an extempore speaker. Her voice would wake up the most sleepy heads in an auditorium. The shortest girl of the class started representing her school in debates.

College was a dream come true, she took a bold step to change her naqab into a hijab, but heels still remained her favorite. Now she had a face and also those heels, to make her stand out in the crowd. She was visible enough. Meher became an integral part of drama and oratory club. Her dream was to be a great orator, and she chose an idol for her. “I would be like him, one day”, she promised herself secretly.

“Hey Meher, director is calling you”, her friend called. Meher rushed towards the director’s room. She had good grades and she was outstanding at extracurricular activities, so there was nothing to worry about. “May be, there is an event coming up and they want me to compere for it” she guessed.

“Hello Sir, did you call me?” she opened the shaded glass door of director’s room after knocking once.

“Yes, Meher, please come in. I wanted to talk to you about an event”, director declared.

So she was right. She sinked into the chair and listened attentively.

“We have a special guest coming in next week and we want you to plan out a 2 hour program. It should be based on nationality, challenges of current generation and the changes that your generation want to see around you. I want you to take the lead. You can plan it as a drama or musical but you should speak about a topic. You will be the first student to meet our guest and also take a short interview”.

“Sure sir, who is the guest? I will prepare the interview questions accordingly”. Meher inquired.

“I can’t reveal that as its confidential. Don’t worry, I am confident that you won’t have any trouble framing your questions as soon as you meet him”, director smiled and indicated her to start with the preparation.

The Day

The college was buzzing with activity. Meher chose to wear sleek golden stilettos for the occasion. Guest had arrived. She hurried towards director’s room and knocked, “May I come in Sir”.

One look at the guest, made her go weak in her knees. She stumbled in her heels, getting engulfed in his aura. Her ankle twisted bringing her back to her senses, and she said, “Sorry Sir, I mean, Hello sir, its a privilege to meet you”. Interview went on for half an hour and she felt captured. Captured in his enigma. Her idol was sitting in front of her, answering her stupid questions.

“You have a great voice Meher. And you are extremely well informed. You would be a great orator one day.” he paused for a second and they said, “And your heels are beautiful”, he laughed out loud.

“Lets go to the auditorium for the cultural program sir”, Director said and Meher followed them.

She had to make an opening speech, the topic she had chosen was close to her heart, about her favorite heels. Meher walked on to the stage, stared down at her feet and stepped out of her stilettos. 4 inches shorter Meher stepped forward and opened her speech, all eyes curiously glued on to her.

“Hi everyone, can you hear me?”. A loud uproar echoed in the auditorium.

“Can you see me?”, audience burst out laughing.

“Never mind” and Meher continued.

It was her “Mitron” moment!!!