Friday, 12 October 2012

Housewife Syndrome

A couple of days back, one well meaning acquaintance from our building came to meet me. She wanted to know if I was interested in joining a “Beesi” group that she was starting. Not having the heart to refuse for fear of hurting the person in front of me, I actually found myself agreeing to join. It was actually a spur of the moment decision mostly triggered in an instant of self pity for losing my job in, a decision which I regretted the moment I uttered yes!  I started cursing myself from the minute she left.  What had I gotten myself into? I despise the word and more that that I despise the concept!

To all the ignorant folks, “Beesi” is an Indian version of kitty party. Each member in the group contributes a pre determined amount during each gathering. They then draw lots of all the members’ names. The person, whose name comes up, takes the entire amount home. Apart from the money factor, women use this opportunity to socialize, chat, and meet friends and gossip!

All my life I have looked down upon “Beesi” groups, kitty parties and gatherings of such kind. I thought of myself to be much above all this. I am a financially independent woman.” Beesi” is for those unfortunate women who have to rely on the meagre allowances that their husbands provide.  Such gatherings provide the means to buy that piece of jewellery they saw in the shop window or some other much sought after luxury which they have been yearning for a long time but would not otherwise be able to afford. I don’t need to do this I used to think, I earn money so I can buy whatever I want and whenever I want, I don’t really need to wait for such an avenue to make big money. To me Beesi was just a place for these typical housewives who have nothing better to do.These women have a typical mindset and their conversations are also so typical (ex. What they prepared for dinner, or what their hubby likes/dislikes) etc. They are blissfully unaware of what is going on in the world so there is no scope for any intellectual conversations.  Such gatherings were an opportunity for them to get together and gossip and show off their new clothes and talk about the latest scandals in the society.  I used to pity such women.

And now, against my wishes I would be one of them. I felt utterly disgusted and sorry for myself. Hubby also joined in the fun, started mocking me with comments like “now you are those typical housewives who attend kitty parties and roll papads on their terrace in their free time” !! Was this going to be my fate after quitting work? The very idea was depressing and I was demoralized to the core. Was my decision to quit totally wrong I began to wonder?

About two weeks have passed since this incident. So while I am no longer depressed about going to a “Beesi” party, I am not very much looking forward to it either. I am still having second thoughts about whether I would fit into the “Beesi” group, but nevertheless, waiting for my first party!  So Stay tuned and watch this space to read about my first Beesi experience! 

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

To Do List

Yesterday being my last day at work, I decided to make a list of things I now want to do:

·         Learn driving
·         Make a CD of my favorite songs
·         Sign up for some voluntary work with some NGO for children – mostly teaching
·         Learn something creative like pottery, or some kind of craft
·         Gain a flat tummy so that I can wear all my pre-pregnancy clothes
·         Write , write and write more
·         Read a lot of books
·         Reorganize some furniture at home
·         Update Anagha’s baby record book
·         Learn a foreign language
·         Clean my refrigerator
·         Research schools for my daughter
·         Find a better BSNL broadband plan
·         Update financial accounts

Hope I am able to do at least half of the things listed here! Fingers crossed!!

Saturday, 6 October 2012

School Saga

As soon as my daughter turned a year old, I had well meaning relatives asking me if I had decided on a school for her. I did not take this very seriously, surely, you don’t get a one year old admitted to school I thought. However, more and more people joined in the chorus and I could no longer turn a deaf ear.
Let’s at least find out the age criteria to get admission into schools I thought so that I could silence all these ignorant people forever. However, I soon realized that I was the most ignorant of them all, for 1.5 years turned out to be the age you could actually get a child admitted to a playschool. It was like a bolt from the blue!!  As far as I knew, school started at JKG when the child turned 3. Little did I know that nowadays there is playschool and nursery to which kids are sent to even before their formal education begins!! This was a whole new revelation to me!
So read on about my journey towards enlightenment as I got myself educated about the current education system in India.

Playschool  or not?
Not to miss out on the race, I soon started researching playschools and even visited a few.  The teachers and staff assured me that in playschool there is no reading/writing, they just teach children basic stuff like shapes, colors etc. When I hesitantly expressed my concern about getting my kid admitted to school at such a tender age and inquired whether she can skip playschool, she was aghast!! She will miss out on the “playschool syllabus” she said!! Playschool syllabus?? Excuse me, you just told me you don’t teach kids anything in playschool, so from where does the syllabus part come in?

Nursery or Playschool?
Despite all the protests from everyone, we decided 1.5 years is too young for our daughter to go to school, this is the age for free play. So we decided to get her admitted to nursery when she turns 2.5. But my tribulations were far from over for now we were faced with another choice. Nursery in a small school to get her prepped up for JKG in a big school or nursery attached to a big school itself so there is no change of school in JKG.  If I went with the first option, that would mean a lengthy selection process for getting admission in JKG, while if I went with the 2nd option, it meant directly getting my child admitted in a big school without having being prepped up for it in a smaller school. Sigh!! What do I do?

Which board?
Nevertheless, I decided to find out good schools in the area. When I posed the question to friends in the neighborhood  their answers stumped me!  While one friend suggested “abc” school, since it’s a CBSE school and CBSE board is very up to date, another said “xyz” school is good because it’s an SSC board school, so very easy for kids to study. But the best response I got was, “SSC has 1 book for every subject, CBSE has 2 whereas ICSE has 3, so obviously ICSE is the best”!!  Does having more books mean a better education system?  I had known only SSC board, since that is the board I studied in. Nowadays there is SSC/CBSE/ICSE/IGSE/IB and on and on. Whoa, and I thought choosing a school would be easy!

My verdict
It was while I was going through this unrelenting pursuit that something else dawned upon me. I studied in an SSC board school, in a small town in Goa.  Today I am a software professional in a good company earning a good salary. Above all, I think I am a good human being. And what is it that shaped me up? While I am thankful to my school and teachers for instilling good values in me, I will not deny the fact that my career is shaped a great deal because of my hard work. So will a posh school or a much hyped about educational board assure that my daughter has a great career? Not necessarily. What really matters is the determination and the inclination to do well.  Eureka!! That was it.

So while I am not really any closer in deciding which school to send my daughter to, I now at least know that I do not want her to go to a school that bogs her down with a lot of undue pressure in a bid to make her “competitive”.  I will not send her to a school simply to show off my socio-economic status. Rather, I want her to have a good balance between studies and fun, a place where she will look forward to go to every morning, a school with teachers who motivate her to perform rather than turn her into a bookworm.  Will I find my dream school? Keeping my fingers crossed.