I started reading The Unquiet Land by Barkha Dutt today and a chapter on feminism made me think. I have been upset and depressed for the last few weeks. This is my 9th month in Mumbai and I still don’t like the city. KC, expectedly, has not been able to move. Even if he had, I would pine for Gurgaon. It is clear I can be happy only in Gurgaon.
But I have been thinking about this from the wrong end. I put myself at the centre of the story. The story and situation is much bigger than me. For starters, why should the organisation move me to Gurgaon within a year? Especially since there is no opening. All my colleagues have made that shift.
One guy’s family (wife and kids) is in Bangalore. They can’t make the shift because his wife has a gvernment job and won’t find a suitable one in Gurgaon. Also, he hasn’t been able to find a good ICSE school. He shuttles between Gurgaon and Bangalore (6-7 hours journey one way) 1-2 times a month.
Another person’s wife is working in Mumbai. He has shifted to Bangalore but his wife can’t make the shift because she has a dental practice in Mumbai. Since he does not plan to settle in Bangalore, no point in her starting from scratch in Bangalore. He shuttles between the two cities, paying rent in both cities.
A third guy has spent most of life in Delhi. After 6 months of staying apart, his family is moving to Mumbai with him this month. It is convenient that his wife isn’t working.
And then there is me. Am I expecting special favours because am a woman? If I expect to compete on the basis of merit, I have to play my part. All the male colleagues before me have made adjustments. Sure, they didn’t have working spouses but the current lot of colleagues do have working wives. And while their career may or may not be as important, the additional money sure is.
I wish I knew ambitious women who have put their career before marriage and kids but I can’t name one person. Instead I see more and more women putting their careers on the back burner to accommodate their husbands. We seem to be regressing as a society. But more on that later.
I feel calmer and better geared to return to Mumbai and deal with a very challenging month.