The two ‘E’s, spoil the being!!

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Last night my father shared some words of wisdom that rang so many bells in my head and I couldn’t thank him enough for teaching me the values I move ahead in life with.

His philosophy was simple yet powerful. He explained how the two E’s can intrude into the peace and harmony of our lives. Ego and Expectation should be looked as the worst enemies that we take along with us. If we think deeply, all negative forces are born from the two E’s.

What is the cause for any relation to fall apart? It’s the unfulfilled expectations and sky high ego. This in turn gives birth to offspring like anger, frustration, jealousy and hatred. We all have been victimized by these offspring some time or the other in our lives. We have loved a few but lost many because these forces creep over us, paralyzing our very own existence. The simple thumb rule is that higher the expectation, bigger the disappointment.

But aren’t we all humans and isn’t it very natural for us to expect something from the ones we love”, I questioned.

Dad explained that expectation causes all despondencies, it’s like premeditated resentment. If we know this, we will automatically either improve our realities or lower our expectations, just to maintain the harmony with ourselves, within ourselves. I was listening to him quietly like a child and he added that anyone who fails to fulfill our expectations should not be judged or labeled as bad. We all have limitations that we walk with. At some point of time, even the closest of our people might not fulfill our expectations but should we keep getting hurt and leave all the hands on this beautiful journey? No. We are all born differently and not necessarily have similar way of thinking or acting. So it is likely that the way we want things to be done might differ from others perception.

The same goes for ego, he said. If we don’t leave the ego, everyone will leave us. This three letter word pulls us back from saying important things that our heart wants to say and it’s a fact that all it needs is a little ego to destroy any relationship. I understood what he wanted to say and I learned that there should not be any regrets, but lessons and there should not be any expectations, but gratitude. Life is shorter than we think.

I immediately called and sent a text to few people who were loved and lost in this journey. I apologized, expressed gratitude and slept with a peaceful slumber. Trust me, it felt so light and nice. It was, in true sense a great Diwali for me.

Your challenges.. my challenges!!

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I recently happened to meet a lady in my residential society who clearly seemed to be in her mid-thirties, had two girls and carried very neutral expressions on her face – neither happy nor sad. She displayed a great manifestation of an emotion – acceptance. We shared the same bench of the garden while giving some rest to our fatigued legs. After a few minutes of tote-à-tête, I realized that she worked with a renowned finance firm in Pune and had quit job after her first girl was born. Then she took a short break before she rejoined as a school teacher in a nearby school, just so that she could feel the happiness of being independent. But eventually, after her second girl was a year old, she had to leave again, as she wanted to give her time to the family. She is now a house wife who looks forward to being a working professional again. When? That’s certainly an open ended question mark.

Her circumstances made me ponder more about the challenges faced by a working woman in India on a daily basis. A recent study shows that almost 48% of women in India drop out of the workforce before they reach the middle of their careers. Only 5% of working women make it to senior leadership positions in the corporate sector, compared to the global average of 20 percent. Is it the environment that pulls down the moral of the working women or is it the mindset of the society that is not yet tuned to accept the changing trend? It rather came as a surprise to me when I learned that only about 20% of women in Urban India are working; forget about the percentage of rural India.

To mark her identity, to be independent, to earn a living, to run her family or to support her husband run the family; there are numerous reasons today women step out of their home, to work and to earn. A woman plays so many roles (of daughter, sister, wife, daughter-in-law, mother…) and for ages has been a multi-tasker. Her tasks and challenges have increased and hardened multi fold now when she is super multi-tasking; juggling between career, traveling, kitchen, kids, husband, house, society, personal health, passion and desires. Balancing between so many duties and obligations, a woman faces numerous challenges and problems every day, every time, and may be every second minute.

Discrimination at Work – Sometimes the discrimination starts at the very level of recruitment and interview, where recruiters/interviewers see women incompetent for challenging roles and ask questions like whether you would be able to continue after marriage?

Challenges to Safety, Life and Dignity – Sexual harassment, theft, molestation, eve-teasing, etc. are some of the forms of challenges working women face to their safety, life and dignity.

Non-acceptance of Talent, Offered Disrespect – Though India is progressing but there are still sections of the society where a woman going out to work is seen very lowly and questioned about her moral. Major part of the country still sees women as only home makers.

Family Duties – In today’s modern time, even after working in the corporate world and after taking up challenging roles of executives/directors/marketing professional/IT professionals, etc a woman is expected to cook food, take care of kids and all other household duties.

Juggling Between Work, Home, Relationships and Personal Life – Amid all the dilemma and stretch of balancing the job responsibilities, following her passion, going ahead with her aspirations and looking after her family-kids-husband; a woman handles and balances a big lot of stress, which deprives her of peace, rest, sleep, independent though and luxury to be herself.

Maternity Leave and job pressure – Many organizations are strict about the maternity leave and women have the constant pressure of rejoining their organizations soon after the delivery else they run a risk of losing their jobs. Some recruiters are reluctant to hire a married woman considering the maternity leave she might be required to go on. Sometimes, the appraisal ratings and hikes are the aftermaths women have to face as a price of being a mother.

I know of a female who is incomparably independent, confident, earns more than or equal to her male counterparts but faces acceptance issue when she returns home after spending full day at office. The family enjoys the lifestyle that she contributes to, but also feels that a woman should work only to the limit where it doesn’t affect the family.

I think many women lives in guilt almost each day of their lives. Guilt of either leaving their children at day care to attend work or the guilt of letting their dreams go off. Guilt of ‘not being’ the perfect home maker or the guilt of ‘just being’ a home maker. Guilt of either being alone at home or guilt of hanging out with colleagues and friend. A working woman has to make choices every morning, every single day of her life. Whether to cook for her family or to rush to work. There’s some sort of compromise a working woman has to make with herself daily. Even if a working woman leaves her house to be taken care by the domestic help, either she herself or someone else compares her with others who manage to do certain things on their own, and in the end it leads to guilt of not being an ‘all-rounder’ lady.

The challenges a working woman faces is beyond people can comprehend. She is on her toes from morning to night just trying to balance family, work, relations, obligations and many other duties. It’s true that a few give up on their way but some fight till the end.

Let’s see how long my challenge takes me to 🙂