Coronavirus Lockdown: Are Women Disaster-Proof?
On bright, sunny days, I plot the murderous machinations of devious minds as little sparrows chirp outside my window. One would then assume that the current apocalyptic state of the world is perfectly conducive to writing about crime and thrillers. Right? Wrong! The only common ground I cover with the criminally inclined these days is when I have to navigate the rocky chores and tantrum laden roads starting from washing utensils to battling digital playdates. I personally feel that the general state of abeyance has frozen the ink in my pen but over the last few days, it has been a pleasure to see how thousands of women, known or otherwise have instantaneously transformed into positivity ambassadors across social media. There are stay at home contests, challenges, chats with experts, workout sessions, poems, an entire ecosystem of survival guides in these dark times has emerged, spearheaded by women. Of-course I’m not excluding the equally wonderful and inspirational men who have thrown in their hats as well, but it was purely my observation that the women were at the fore of this endeavour. And this got me thinking. Are women perhaps better engineered to battle disasters?
My grandmother tried feeding my mom all kinds of potions and concoctions to avert a ‘girly’ avalanche, but clearly God had the last laugh!
Now I don’t mean Corinthian helmets, earthquakes and battle cries. I’m alluding to an innate strength that comes from a life time of change and upheaval. Think about it. The rollercoaster ride begins pre-conception. Some of us are privileged enough to be shielded by the love and warmth of our family, but for countless others, the battle is lost in the womb. Why look far from home? If my parents hadn’t fought tooth and nail for us ( we are four sisters), we would have ended up with relatives who were childless and didn’t ‘mind’ a girl, whereas my parents had to keep the coast clear for a boy. My grandmother tried feeding my mom all kinds of potions and concoctions to avert a ‘girly’ avalanche, but clearly God had the last laugh!
If the girl can somehow find her way out, she is inundated with the tidal wave of stifling customs and practices to tighten the noose, puberty creating the largest ripples. First, get used to your mind and body behaving like they are in constant discord, then get illtreated and ostracised for it. It’s mind-boggling, that to this day, every time I change homes and subsequently, the help, I have to make sure they leave this programmed nonsense of being untouchable during their periods right at the door where they leave their slippers.
What is unfolding around us is unnerving, and most of us must have never even imagined such isolated, frenzied, chaotic times, but for whatever it is worth, our battle scars prove that we will make it.
Coming back to the wonder years, you grow up, get a breather, study, get a nice job if you’re allowed to work and then you toil at the workplace, sometimes to prove your worth when it has nothing to do with your skills and capabilities. Move along and you get married to the love of your life (hopefully) Now comes the part where you adjust the salt and pepper of your behaviour according to the new family you’ve acquired. A few yards ahead, the potholed yet joyous road of motherhood awaits you, where you must strike a fine balance between your sanity, your body, your career, all while being the master puppeteer of everything to do with the home and its happiness. If this roller coaster ride is not a preparatory course to battle any degree of change or uncertainty, then I fail to imagine what else could be.
Now don’t get me wrong. Who says we haven’t had fun on this ride? We are after all a product of our experiences. But I firmly believe that after soldiering on through everything life throws at us, our lot is rendered a tad bit tougher and tenacious. What is unfolding around us is unnerving, and most of us must have never even imagined such isolated, frenzied, chaotic times, but for whatever it is worth, our battle scars prove that we will make it. So, bring on the grocery dash looking like a masked crusader, the workouts or work calls with kids hanging off our leg, cooking a meal for a family with one potato or then just breaking into a song when no one feels like smiling, we can do it all ladies. You’ve been there, done that!
Richa S Mukherjee is a blogger and author. Her books are I Didn’t Expect to Be Expecting and Kanpur Khoofiya Pvt. Ltd. The views expressed are the author’s own.