Dear Mira Rajput (oops, Kapoor now),
Yesterday was a busy day. Half-drained, I reached office in the afternoon; and you were being discussed.
You’re too often in news these days. You keep making it to headlines for your pictures with Shahid, for all the times you’re spotted with daughter Misha, and sometimes for the appearances that you make. But yesterday, it was different.
You, a happily married young woman and a proud mother, were interviewed by a leading publication on the occasion of Women’s Day. But obvious, your life as a star-wife was discussed. And I believe far-fetched subjects like women’s empowerment and social rights earned a little place too. I’m quite sure you’re content with your life, and I am glad. So when you proudly declared how happy a mother you were, I smiled. I thought you were about to break a stereotype. After all, who takes dependent house wives seriously these days? But what you said next, came across like a punch on my senses, conscience, and sensibility. You said you’d not leave your daughter and go to work, because she wasn’t a puppy and deserved every bit of her mother’s time.
My mother was married at 21, while still at college. She continued with her education; thankfully, someone as broad-minded and loving like my father had held her hand. She was undergoing her B.ed examination when she was pregnant with me. She became a mother at 27.
When I was as little as 2 years, my mother had the nerves to shift to a small town in West Bengal with me. She had cracked through the Public Service Commission examination and iy was her first job. How could she let it go?
I remember being taken care of by aayahs, some of whom stole my portion of food and kept me starving. Very faintly, but I remember my mother running around, looking for a better house to stay at. I remember staying at a house that had cows and pigs coming in. I remember playing with children of our maids, and sometimes standing in the balcony, waiting for mom to come back. And you know? She once discovered me in my underwear and horribly dirty legs, asking for some samosa’s aaloo from the sweet shop outside one of the places we lived in. Till the age of five, my father to me was only a man who dropped in every Saturday morning and left by Sunday night. I would accompany my mother to see him off at the railway station. He would give me one rupee to buy some groundnuts. You know why we survived those days? Because my mother was a strong woman who prioritised her life as per her own preferences. She made a choice of being a working woman and still raising her daughter well. She made a choice of helping my father; financially, emotionally. I’m sure it broke her heart every time I she came home from work and I ran to her. I’m sure it tore her apart every time she desperately wanted to shower me with presents but couldn’t. I remember asking for a large sized teddy bear as a child. She could only get me a small, white puppy made of cotton. That was my favourite toy for years. You know, why all this? Because she didn’t have the luxury to leave her work and still live a beautiful life.
She raised me well. I’m proud not just because I myself am an independent woman, but because I was born to a fierce woman who gave me the courage to fight situations. She taught me to embrace life no matter what, and she taught me to fill the toughest moments with love. And privileged women like you can never sense why a mother at all has to leave her newborn at house and go to work.
I hope you take your words back. You just looked down upon those millions of working mothers who sweat out to ensure a good living for their children.
Well-raised daughter of a working woman