She gets up much earlier than everyone else.

Filling up the water tank from the supply now rather than walking miles to fetch water.

Cleans the house and organizes the clutter in our lives.

The little amount of time she takes out for herself in the wee hours of the morning, chanting her prayers, even her communication with God is filled with worries about her family.

She tells me, every time she closes her eyes in deep contemplation, it is only to ask for her children’s bright future.

All around me I see beautiful, intelligent, hardworking women carrying through the hardships of life, enduring unappreciative, ungrateful partners and in-laws, going to bed tired at the end of the day, their aching feet acting as tranquilizers.

Who is there to take care of our women? Our mothers, daughters, wives and sisters.

Why is it, that they are supposed to go through so much trouble for people who don’t even appreciate it and take their existence for granted!

I remember reading this story in my English textbook, probably in the 10th standard. There’s this guy who comes back home from work every evening, his wife having prepared delicious dinner sits around waiting for him. As soon as she welcomes him back, he grabs his golf gear and excuses himself that he needs to accompany his friends to the golf club, and leaves. This is the routine. Every evening the wife waits for him, he comes back and goes off again to the golf club. One such evening, upon his return home, instead of his wife and the sumptuous meal he finds a letter waiting for him on the dining table. Owing to her father’s ill heath, the wife had to leave in a haste and she couldn’t prepare a dinner for her husband that evening and so she left a note explaining everything, assuring him that she would be back tomorrow morning. The husband shrugs it off, grabs his gear as usual and joins his friends in the golf club. That evening he eats out in a restaurant, comes back home and sleeps by himself. The next evening when he comes back to an empty house, suddenly it hits him. Holding on to the dining chair for support, he lowers himself down slowly in the chair, scanning the house for a glance of affection. He feels alone and terribly guilty. Oh how he wished his wife would just come around the corner, smiling and asking about his day, handing him a hot cuppa tea. How he had never appreciated her love and care. It was her presence that turned the brick and mortar structure into a place worth calling Home. Sitting there alone, reminiscing upon his conduct, he realises there was still a chance to make-up for past mistakes and decides to behave differently from now onwards.

“She will come back home to an altogether different place. I will redo the kitchen and buy that microwave she has always been asking for. I might even learn to cook her favorite pasta and will never allow her to enter the kitchen on Sundays.”

As he sits there lost in guilt and grief, the doorbell rings and he rushes to open the door. His wife walks in with her bags and exclaims, “Oh it was a false alarm, Papa had a slight pain in his left arm and we got worried that it could be another angina. Sorry I got a little late in catching the morning local.”

The husband looks at her in an expression of momentary relief. She smiles, “Why, aren’t you a little late for your golf club now? Am glad you decided to stay back, I am dying for a hot cuppa tea.”

“Well I had mine already and the guys had asked me to join them for a few drinks tonight, a little change of place.” He grabs his coat, and off he goes!

I remember the entire literature class bursting into raging laughter at the end of this quirky little tale. But now, as I look back, my mind turns somber realising the bitter truth and sarcasm this story carries. Today the women don’t sit around waiting for their husbands to come back home as they’re busy finishing the house chores after coming back from their own tiring jobs. What is a woman’s job by the way? It appears there isn’t a definition to that, because they run around handling the household and career at the same time. And yet after all this efficient jugglery, the wait for that little word of appreciation never ends. Some have altogether forgotten that their laborious feats deserve an applause from the audience. They have undertaken the weaving together of a family and home as their sole responsibility and ‘duty.’

I cannot emphasize enough how grateful I am towards my mother who wakes up with the birds when it is still dark and then the Sun follows her and rises up in the East.

I wonder if humanity will ever be able to thank women enough for the thankless jobs they pursue.

I for one, am an utter failure at doing so.

Only that I make sure I am there to massage her tired feet at the end of the day and express my inexpressible gratitude, knowing fully well that I am forever indebted to Her, as is the rest of this ungrateful petty world!

I love you Maa.

Picture credit: Karan Nandaniya @painting.palette 

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