My husband recently complained that I seemed to be folding clothes all the time.
Folding clothes? With three school going kids I could have been seen folding clothes but with just the two of us occupying two corners of the flat why was I folding so much clothes? Then I found reason to be happy. Take any of these serials and soaps telecast ‘from Monday to Thursday’. The lady of the house, every hair in place and dressed up (read decked up) as if she planned to host a party, seems to fold clothes as if it were her hobby. That the folded items are a treat to my middle class eyes is another matter. Silks and chiffons, with and without zari and zardari in all colors do appeal to a person like me who would feel baffled inside a cloth store. Watching them from a safe distance and betting to myself about their possible price and quality kind of keeps me occupied since the plot or story offers little or no interest. So if husband really felt that I was folding clothes was it possible that my class was being elevated? Did I really belong to the group of ladies who neither cooked nor cleaned but folded clothes all the time?
God is sometimes unkind and he doesn’t let me be so even in my imagination. The truth has to dawn upon me within seconds. Earlier I had two daughters taking care of these things. All I had to do was to collect the dried ones and dump them on the cot and thank God for giving me two very understanding daughters who’d fold and stack them. I have to do all this myself. Or else the clothes would be hanging in the balcony for days together.
That brings me to another question that bothers me. Apart from Kerala we Indians have an arrangement where the son and daughter in law take care of ageing parents. So I looked after my mother in law and my sisters in law looked after my mother and it went on and on. In the early days of my marriage I’d feel that if the Kerala arrangement was followed there may be less of those MIL versus DIL conflicts and life would be a lot more peaceful. Those were days when I looked for my mother in my mother in law and felt disappointed. I would have liked to live on at my mother's place if possible. In Jamshedpur I often see that married girls usually in their teens would stay on with their mother and the unemployed son in law would join her. The couple would have children and the poor father would have to feed not only the daughter but also her family.
“Why did you get her married at such a tender age?” I’d ask.
“Unemployed boys demand less dowry and we have 2/3 more girls to marry off.”
But did they live in peace? Not at all. The mother daughter equation changes once she is married and mother daughter clashes are even worse than the ‘TU,TU main, main of the MIL/DIL group in which women exercise some caution and have some consideration for the son/husband caught in between. There is a woman who sells masalas and other items like soap, detergent etc. I normally don’t buy anything from her but she stops by on Sundays to ask. She actually feels comfortable sharing her problems with me. She has two married daughters staying with her and says that the very girls who shared the same roof till about 2 years back do not want to stay in the same room for more than a few minutes. They fight over the chores in the house, the preference given to one or the other son in law and what not. The woman goes to a school to help prepare mid day meals for the children. The time she is away is the only time that she can think straight she says.
She approached the older girl’s in laws and asked them to be strict and order their son to return home.
“Chase them out” was the reply. “They left of their own accord and will have to return on their own.”
I wonder if they would say this if their son was earning.
All this makes me infer that lack of money causes problems and clashes occur when one is dependent on another for finances. Wouldn’t it be better to educate the girl and encourage her to have a job or a small business that fetches her money before getting her married? The logic behind getting one’s daughter married to an unemployed man to save dowry has always baffled me. Can this be called logical?
If lack of money was causing problems does excess of it solve them? The ex CM of Jharkhand has apparently siphoned off 4,000 crores during his tenure as mine minister and later as chief minister. The former CM of Bihar is famous for his role in the fodder scam. What do people do with so much money? Poor man Sukhram stuffed currency notes in pillow covers and almirahs not knowing what to do with it. He did not have a friend to advice him about investment options. Compared to the current bunch of politicians, helped by computer savvy associates, the man was a novice and consequently naïve. And to think Bangaru Lakshman of BJP resigned as party president (?)for accepting a bribe of just one crore. They say that the chair corrupts people. I am beginning to believe it too. But that is not my question. Do these guys sleep on currency notes? Do those who own flats in every known metropolis ever spend an occasional day in them? A boy whom I met during a program on AIDS awareness used to work as the actor Rajesh Khanna’s cook in Mumbai. According to him Rajeshji would visit the house once in 4 or 6 months (On a rotational basis perhaps?) but the cook, watchman, 2 dogs and the servant maid had delicious meals all through the month and enjoyed other luxuries too. At least our actors toil in the sets to earn that kind of money. Politicians can’t even see to it that roads laid with the tax payer’s money do not get damaged in the next monsoon season. And they have crores of rupees invested in deals that are of no benefit to the country.
Amassing wealth much beyond one’s requirement is also a mental illness. It hardly matters whether it was obtained through fair or fowl means. If you have money to spare use it prudently the way Warren Buffet did. I have a power point presentation on him but I don’t know how to upload it. But it is very interesting and lifts up one’s spirit. I’ll try putting it up or alternatively I’ll mail it to Suranga or Usha who can put it up in their sites. Let the money generate jobs or help eradicate illness. In short let money be used in an intelligent way by intelligent people and not by a bunch of self centred people who cannot think beyond themselves.
That was a long post and I just remembered that I have clothes to fold. Let me imagine that I am the mother/mother in law in an Ekta Kapoor serial who folds clothes with manicured hands looking as if she has a hundred others to do every odd job in the house.Thanks to Usha and Praveen I've managed to link Warren Buffet's power point. go ahead and enjoy!