THE FEMALE EGO

She was successful in her own way. An upcoming artist who had mastered the nuances of the Indian classical music. This was a dream come true for Meera, who was brought up in a conservative background where girls were mere objects nurtured to be married off with a display of family wealth.
It was a very significant day in her life. A dream about to come true. She woke up with her heart pounding with excitement . The evening would turn her into a celebrity in her own right when she will be presented with the Award for her unmatched contribution on the Indian Music Scene in Kenya. In her mind, she had already planned that she will wear her red silk saree and roll up her hair in a chignon so she could flaunt her traditional earrings.
She hurriedly started with the housework so she could leave for work slightly early. The plan was to leave early from office as well as she had to reach for the ceremony by 6.30 pm. In her excitement she took it for granted that her family too would be equally joyous about her getting the award. But, unfortunately that wasn’t the case. No sooner did she go for a shower after having finished with the breakfast and packed lunch preparations, the electrician turned up for the repairs. Though being in the family of five working members, she was the only one expected to stay back at home to attend to the electrician. Himesh with his big ego and the “I am the head of the family and I am the boss” attitude would be the last person to wait on a worker. It was simply below his dignity though he took maximum pride at having made his house to his taste. The children, all three of them had to rush to work as well yet they expected the electric faults to be repaired when they returned home in the evening.
As she waited on the electrician, Meera decided to utilize this time to iron her clothes for the evening. To her bad luck the electrician switched off the mains the same moment. For a moment she in her frustration felt that may be he could read her thoughts and was conspiring to irritate her.
Somehow, she tried to maintain her calm and carry on with the routine of the day. She got home, had her cup of tea in the kitchen while making preparations for the dinner. She had no hope of Himesh or the children taking her out for a dinner on her eventful day. Somehow, struggling through the chores, she got dressed up by 6pm. There was still no sign of Himesh. She called him up and he told her that he was on his way.
Like a typical dutifully obedient wife, she waited anxiously. She knew she had made the mistake of agreeing to wait for him. Himesh finally reached home at 6.20 pm and in his thoughtless manner had the audacity of asking Meera to make him a cup of tea.
Needless to say, they arrived at the venue only around 7pm, exactly half an hour later than she should have. The ceremony had begun so they silently made their way to the reserved seats by her name on them.
As the ceremony went on, honoring various women achievers who had made their presence felt in different fields, Meera saw the visible presence of the family and friends of those women. They were all made to feel so special by their near and dear ones and she couldn’t understand what had she done not to deserve such adulations from her own. Throughout the drive to the function hall Himesh had cribbed about having left his important work to accompany his wife to a function that was not so important for him.
He had never been supportive of her music training initially but then succumbed to a silent acceptance upon observing her gaining popularity at the Indian Music Scene. She was a founder member of The Indian Music Scene along with her mentor Deepshikha Roy. Together they consummated several musical shows along with their students and raised huge sums for a few charitable organizations. This had resulted in Meera and Deepshikha being popular on the social scene in Kenya.
Himesh’s pride had never let him praise Meera at her musical capacity. He rather wondered aloud often at gatherings that he didn’t understand what was the attraction in that classical music that people raved about it. Undoubtedly, she felt humiliated every time he spoke such a way and pitied his attitude. The children were too engrossed in the western music and obviously the classical effects of the Ragas and Notes made no sense to them. She silently wondered if they too had an ego like their father which prevented them from acknowledging her talent.
Whilst lost in her thoughts, she suddenly heard her name being announced. In a daze, she stood up, walked calmly towards the stage. Was she excited? She was happy but unsure of her feelings at the moment as she was presented the award by the Cultural Minister of Kenya. She was thrilled at the applause but her eyes were searching for her children among the audience. A smile spread on her as she saw her daughter Bindu clapping and waving at her. Then she looked towards Himesh who was clapping too but more as a formality. She felt choked, swallowed her anxiety and faked a big smile as she posed for the photographer.
No sooner, had she returned to her seat waving back to Deepshikha and her friends that Himesh said,” I think this ceremony is turning quite boring. Now that you have got your trophy, we should leave as I am quite tired and hungry too”. She felt hopeless for half a minute and then convinced him that they were towards the end of the ceremony.
Her mind wandered off to thoughts running wild about the male chauvinist culture of Indian Men. Would a man like it if a wife walked out from a ceremony where he is being honored? No, answered her mind, a woman rather takes pride in her spouse’s progress and achievement.
She turned towards Himesh, and asked him to leave if was bored. She had many well wishers at the venue and would be dropped home by one of them. She finally had refused to be felt like an object. Himesh was quite unprepared for this coming from his humble wife. His insecurity at her fame was getting a bigger jolt now. Not only was she more prominent in the society, she was more confident of herself now. As he gazed at the trophy in her hands, he realized he hadn’t even hugged or kissed or congratulated her for this milestone of her life. She had been his biggest support in his trying times and he had just taken it for granted. The world around them had noticed the potential of his wife but he in his chauvinist mannerism had ignored her always.
The realization was hitting Hitesh hard now as he feared her new found courage in voicing herself. He remembered all those times when he made fun of her hobby of classical music which resulted in their children never admiring this talent of their mother. He remembered how when he was too busy earning money, she was busy earning the precious values in their children and attending each badminton match where Bindu played, each cricket match played by Madhur, each swimming gala participated by Harpreet. He thought of the times when he never sent her to spend time with her parents because he felt threatened by their affluence and didn’t want to expose his children to rich lifestyle.
Meera having said what she had to, had moved away to take a seat next to her friend Jaspreet without waiting for his response. She had made a decision and her Milestone in music was going to be accompanied by her milestone at being herself. He looked at her, she seemed happier but he felt guilty. He recollected the times when he suffered a big blow in his business and how she came forward as his strength in her various manners by being extra supportive. She had not been demanding. He never had to tell her to squeeze the budget in those trying times.
The Male Chauvinist in him had had a set back and Hitesh was now trying to figure out a way to pick up threads of past and not just stitch them, but to embroider them beautifully to their benefit.
The Women Achievers are trending and thus begins the new era of our lives. Welcome to the age of Female Chauvinism where ego is no barrier, it is merely an ego of Self Respect and Rights.
Sikiladi

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