January 21, 2010

The road to independence.

Sometimes, I think I am in the wrong place. I suppose I could attribute this to my laziness too but I won't do that. Instead, I'll proceed assuming I am right.

"This" is a place that values independence and privacy. That's great, extremely cool especially when you want to tune out the blah..blahs of well-meaning people who want to improve your lives. But then, unlike k, I never really had much of a problem with "well meaning advice" from folks. I like to ask people for their opinions and even if they happen to offer it when I didn't ask for it, it's not too much of a big deal (Unless of course, you are living with me and forcing me to follow your advice which doesn't happen often anyway).

But, "this" is also a place where they expect you to drive alone to the grocery store when it's freezing outside and you are an octogenarian! Ok, I admit. India also is not full of youngsters rushing out to do the shopping for their aging grandparents. But, at least in India, you can afford it (Yes, there are poor people in India, really really poor people but this post is not about them) and it's not so cold (Ok fine, silly point, I can move to Florida but I won't, so there!)

"This" is a place where a mom drives her few weeks old baby alone for a doctor's appointment (No comforting grandma in the backseat regaling the child with stories of "When your mom was little..." or cute Tamil baby songs). The baby is probably screaming in the back facing car-seat and the mom has no option but to drive. There are moms that do that here and look competent and unfrazzled. Not me! I don't think I have it in me to take Radhika alone to a doc's appointment (at least when she was little and she would do those scary, purple-faced, breathless cries!)

And then there are the small things -- the devil of the matter! The whole DIY culture! I just am not a part of it! I find it hard to take the trash outside -- no, not because I am lazy but because it's icy outside, the trash is heavy and it has to be lifted outside to dump. Not an easy task for a muscle-challenged woman like me! Then, there are the regular household maintenance stuff -- a leaky faucet, an un-mowed lawn, an un-caulked hole leaking cold air, a broken storm door; a million small worries that can't be fixed by me! Yes, I can take a wood-working course and I can learn to repair the faucet but it's tedious and tiresome and I just don't have the energy to learn that and then attempt to fix it or even to nag k for the nth time get it done. I can call Benjamin Franklin each time to fix the flush but that costs a nice $150!

And then there are the weird unknown places to drive to -- for doctor's appointments, for your children's classes, for stuff to buy! I am not a big fan of driving but I manage pretty decently somehow except when one of these adventure routes crop up and then I have lost all ability to navigate and drive! Add a baby in this mix and I am one lost and dependent woman. I mean, I can't just park by the side when I am driving on New Circle road and wave down the nearest dude to ask for directions while Rads sits happily talking to herself in the back-seat (Ha haa!), can I? Seriously, where are the affordable auto rickshaws when you need them? (Yes admittedly, they do take their shares of U-turns and Rs.200 over the meter but they take you where you need to go and in the end that's all matters.)

It's like the more I make myself independent -- learn to drive, learn to drive with Rads (Yes, big difference!), learn to hang a photo frame(!), the more they creep up all around me and the more dependent I seem to become!

So, I'll say it. I like being an independent woman in some respects. That's a highly qualified declaration. If being an independent woman here means to seal your garage so your bedroom right above it doesn't feel like it's in Iceland then no, I really don't want to be that woman spending 3 hours with pink foam, sticking it patiently to the garage shutter (which incidentally is what k did). If being independent means wearing rugged overalls and roaming around with a heavy hammer and a set of 18 different screws, nope, not me. I know where the turn-off valve is for our water supply and there ends my knowledge of faucet problems!

I can give birth, take care of baby, code, cook, clean the house, dance and write but there ends my level of independence. In that respect, I suppose I am a traditional Indian woman, aren't I? The million other things that this place expects an independent woman to do, I can't or really just don't want to. So, am I just a h4 visa :p?


Anonymous said...

SAHM post and now this? enna aachu RS?

Anonymous said...

You are offending every woman with an H4 visa! :( :P

RS said...

Anon #1 (I guess): Enna sollardhu...ore introspection thaan :)

Anon #2: Apologies for the vague reference! The reference is to the name that the h4 visa carries: a "dependent" visa. My intent was not to mock the person that holds that piece of paper!

Vidhya said...

Well, i was offended too by the H4 reference. The kind of dependence which you mention in the post is no way related to the dependence meant in the 'dependent' visa.

RS said...

Vidhya -- Hmm...not quite with you on this, am afraid. If there is no relation, why exactly are you offended? :)

Vidhya said...

I was offended because i thought you were relating the both. There are h4 people who love the same independence which you dont like.

But then from your previous comment to anon2,i understood you just meant in the lighter sense (in just the word 'dependent')

So peace :)

RS said...

Peace :)

Anonymous said...

ha ha that's funny. My husband and I moved back to India last month, after living in the US for 6 years. I have been complaining about my dependence here since I cannot drive in this crazy traffic. ;)

Meera said...

I think there was a time when we were scared of driving @ 65mph but we learnt to do you are scared and reluctant to learn a few more things which is quite normal. I dont think we can ever satisfy all the expectations and goals that are set by and for us but thats normal too...
Its been 2 yrs since i moved to the US and i have never really made my peace here...i dont think i ever will even though i drive, teach, volunteer, cook...
My 2 cents :)

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