It is March 8th again. Another International Women’s Day is upon us. My work as a coach, facilitator and co-founder of GLOW- Growing Leadership of women is all about supporting women. Yet, I often find myself having mixed feelings about the need for such a day and the best way to spend it.
A part of me wonders why we need a separate day to celebrate women. It reeks of tokenism. Let us hand out some awards to deserving women, make some speeches glorifying women’s contribution to the world, harp on the need for more empowerment and go back to…
Sometime in 6th century BC, Sumangalamata, the wife of an umbrella maker, mother of Sumangala, left her family to become a Theri,,a Buddhist nun. This is a poem she wrote as she experienced the sweet taste of liberation.
A woman well set free! How free I am,
How wonderfully free, from kitchen drudgery.
Free from the harsh grip of hunger,
And from empty cooking pots,
Free too of that unscrupulous man,
The weaver of sunshades.
Translated by: Uma Chakravarti and Kumkum Roy
From: “Women Writing In India-Edited by Susie Tharu and K. Lalita
Thousands of years later, the Indian kitchen…
Kamala Harris and the Magnificent Burden of being the First
There is a flurry of activity on my Family Whatsapp group. Someone has unearthed a distant connection with a second cousin’s chitti. Someone else has recognized the lady in the traditional Madisar, the nine yard saree- the maternal grandmother, from a photograph the internet. The family trees are being shaken, waiting for the fruits to fall.
Kamala Harris, the American Vice -President elect has been claimed by not just by my extended Tamil Brahmin clan, but also immigrants, Black Women, Asian women and Indian-American women as ‘one of their own’…
Twelve days ago, I tested positive for COVID 19. I removed myself from the rest of the family- my husband who was already isolated in our bedroom after testing positive and my daughter, mother and cook, who were spared. I retreated into my 100sq ft study, made a bed out of a comforter on the rug and prepared to be separated from everything and everyone else. Fortunately, my symptoms were mild and I did not need a hands on care-giver. My husband had been through his worst and was already on the road to recovery when I went into isolation.