Freedom Of A Mother
Freedom Of A Mother9 mins 93 9 mins 93
It is definitely not a regular morning. It’s 15th August, the Independence Day of India.
Soma woke up early. Removing her husband’s hand from her waist, she lazily stood up from her bed and tiptoed into her daughter’s room. The 10-year-old kid, Lakshmi, was sleeping so beautifully. Soma sat down beside her single bed. Looking at her, she gave a broad smile. She didn't want her to wake up so early. But today is a special day.
Lakshmi had prepared so hard day and night for this day. She participated in a group dance organized by her school for the purpose of Independence Day. Soma is also very excited to visit her school and watch her dance.
She carefully removed the hair from her daughter’s face and kissed her forehead. Then after calling several times, Lakshmi finally woke up. As she woke up, she gave back a smile to her mom. Both of them looked at the wall clock. And realized they are already running late. Skipping the morning yoga, they went into the bathroom, brushed teeth and had a shower. Lakshmi is happy. She didn't have to wear a school uniform today.
Soma made her sit on the dressing table, dressed her up in a beautiful white saree with an orange dupatta tied on her waist. Then she styled her long hair beautifully and put on her minimal makeup. After everything was done, Lakshmi looked into the mirror. She was looking stunning. Smiling wide, she thanked her mom.
Soma had no time left in her hand. She packed Lakshmi's school bag, dressed herself up, took her child and hurriedly went to the bus stand.
Although it was late, the school bus had not arrived yet. Both of them stood there eagerly waiting for the school bus. Just when they saw it coming, Lakshmi looked up at her mom and asked,
“Mumma, what is the meaning of Independence?”
Not expecting such a question from her little daughter, Soma got confused. Without answering her question, she hurriedly boarded the bus and sat on the second seat of the left row of the bus. Sitting by the window, Lakshmi again asked,
“Mumma, are you independent?”
“Yes Sweetie, I am independent. You want to know the meaning of independence right?”, asked Soma.
Lakshmi nodded her head curiously.
“Independence is what you get when you become as tall as me and get all your degrees. When you start working and no longer need to ask for pocket money from your papa. And most importantly, when you start making your own decisions without asking us. That day, you will be independent.” She answered.
“But Mumma you said you are independent! ”
“Yes I am Lakshmi, don't you think?”, Soma asked with a smile on her face.
“If you are an independent Mumma, then why do you ask papa for money? Why don’t you have a job, Mumma? ”, Lakshmi replied back asking questions.
Hearing all these questions from her little kid, she became speechless. While Lakshmi started enjoying the awesome view outside the window of the moving bus, not expecting answers from her mum, Soma started thinking.
Why is she just a housewife? What else is there in her life other than her daughter and a family for whom she sacrificed her job 10 years ago.
Looking outside the window, with questions in her mind which her daughter asked a few minutes before, Soma went back in her past.
11 years ago, Miss Soma Basu got married to her boyfriend, Mr Aditya Ganguly, after 5 years of courtship and changed her name into Mrs Soma Basu Ganguly. Back in those days, both of them were working in the same multinational software company. Although both of them started their career together, Soma was more workaholic, passionate and hardworking. Being a multitasker, she managed her family, relationship and her profession perfectly. Because she was having such a balanced life, she never gave anyone a single opportunity to question her and with all these positive qualities, within very little time, she was noticed by her boss. From a fresher to an incremented permanent employee to a Team Leader, it took Soma only 8 months to double her salary.
Soma was happy and satisfied with her life. She organized her birthday party that year. Everyone was present at her party. Her parents, office colleagues, friends, Aditya’s parents and also a bunch of relatives. Everyone was enjoying it when Aditya surprised her. Taking everyone’s attention, he sat down on his knees and proposed Soma to marry her. She couldn't believe it. She instantly said yes.
Within 6 months, they got married. Aditya fulfilled all her dreams. They had a beautiful destination wedding in The Maldives, had their honeymoon in Italy and started their family life together in a new house with an open balcony and a lovely garden in front of their house with all the beautiful flowers she liked. Her inlaws stayed with them and they treated her just like their own daughter. Soma was in cloud nine. She got all her happiness.
Every morning, she woke up with a fresh mood and got ready for her office. Besides her family, she loved her office and her work. Not everyone hates a nine to five job with huge responsibilities and pressure. Like this one year passed so quickly. She was independent, never restricted by her husband or family. Whenever she used to visit villages to counsel young girls and women, being an activist as a member of an NGO, she used to feel so bad. She used to hear mothers of young girls complain as to how her 14-year-old daughter got influenced and ran away with a neighbourhood boy and then got pregnant within 5 months, she used to listen how every single night, women try to make their husbands take preventive measure before making love, but their husbands reject, how women are tortured by their husbands, how their husbands leave them after producing 5 girls and marry another one for having a boy. Her heart used to tremble when she used to hear how young girls are bullied by the local boys.
How disheartening it is. We always heard about child marriages, dowry cases and so many incidents when we look into the near past. With the change in the society’s mentality and constant efforts, these cases are lowered down but it's sad that it didn’t end entirely. The freedom of women is compromised in every era. In this era, you can rarely get child marriages, but you will definitely get underaged couples who just ran away and married, no future ahead. Previously, we heard about the struggles to provide women education, but these days, with the transparency of adultery, young girls themselves prefer not to study and settle down early in their lives and feed themselves in their husband’s money. Is this the freedom for which activists and renowned personalities struggled for?
Soma always wished every girl could get a life she was leading those days. According to her and everyone, her life is as perfect as she is. But like anything else, life is bound to show every colour it has to everyone born on this incredible planet.
2 months after her first anniversary, good news came. Fulfilling everyone’s expectation, Mrs Soma Basu Ganguly got pregnant. Everyone was happy except the doctor. When they consulted their family doctor, he declared that she has a complicated pregnancy. Complete rest and a lot of care were the primary elements that should be taken care of for both her baby and her to stay alive after delivery. Regular office, stress and heavy work were a big no. The couple was upset. They had a choice to abort the baby but Soma denied. It was not a sudden thing. Before having a baby, the couple made proper family planning. They prepared themselves and after all these Soma didn’t want to abort her first baby.
The very next day, a workaholic woman gave a resignation letter to her boss. She sacrificed her job for her baby. To save her child, she gave away her freedom. It was not that kind of freedom that the wife of a typical husband doesn’t have. It was her freedom to become financially strong, it was her freedom to do her work, it was her freedom to enjoy such a dignitary position in her company that she earned with her hard work, it was her freedom to be happy for herself. Well, it may sound weird but ask a workaholic woman how she feels when she suddenly gets into a situation to become a housewife.
After the birth of Lakshmi, Soma had to take proper care of her baby because she was weak. The little baby suffered from pneumonia several times. She decided to sacrifice her career permanently. Aditya opposed her opinion at that time. He, being a modern guy, decided to quit his own career instead of Soma. But life is not a cheesecake. Society started opposing. Parents, relatives and friends couldn’t believe his decision. They made fun of him. How could he sacrifice his career? He is a man. Men always work. They can never become a house husband. Women are destined to work at home. Even if she earns, she still has to manage a family single-handedly.
Lakshmi, ever since her birth, saw her mom dependent on her father. Soma always wanted to go on a solo trip but could never go. She didn’t have the freedom to refresh herself. Sitting beside her daughter inside the school bus, Soma could recall each and every moment in all these 10 years, when she felt embarrassed asking for money from her husband, taking permission from her in-laws before going anywhere and mentioning her designation anywhere as a housewife.
In our country, every person has a different perspective to see the world. What is free in India? What is the meaning of today’s independence? Is it the same thing for which our freedom fighters fought and sacrificed their lives? Even after progressing so much, we couldn’t bring freedom to women. Still now, in different parts of our country, women are treated like a prisoner in jail. Transgender women in our country don’t have the freedom to lead a normal life. Homosexual people don’t have the freedom to lead a normal life and accept themselves freely even after they are accepted by the jurisdiction of India.
Still in our country, women are always suggested to sacrifice their career and compromise with their freedom for their children. We can see fortunate women like Soma around us, who gave away their freedom for their family. If the freedom of fortunate, well-educated women like Soma can be compromised, then, we can imagine the condition of the young women in rural parts of India.
Happy Independence Day !!!