Tuesday, September 4, 2007

A new breed

The world of mobile phones jumped into our lives just about a decade ago. The ubiquitous accessory that it is today was a luxury in those not too far off days. I had joined the booming telecom industry in those earlier days itself. A cosmopolitan work culture right here in the orthodox malayali land was too good to resist. The crowd was very young, right from the Circle Head down. Majority of them were Keralites who had been out of Kerala and now back home. A malayali who has been out of his homeland is a reformed person and it was pure fun working with them. Left the organization seven years back, but has been in touch with many of them, not in the least due to the fact that my husband still works there.

The past few years have seen many of them moving back out of Kerala. The reason, as always, lack of growth opportunities here. It is simple – “You need to move up? Get Out.” The higher you go, the pressure is even high. Unless you move on, the ones below cannot come up. Where do these constant moves leave the wives and kids? Earlier, the answer was easy – the pack followed the leader. Things, they definitely are changing now.

S, my ex- colleague V’s wife has a well-established consultancy in Cochin. They had been here for almost a decade. Then came the end of the ladder for V and he decided to move to Bangalore. S was excited that she could open another office there. Before the family could join him, came another move for V, this time to Mumbai. After much deliberation and visits to Mumbai, S has decided to stay back. I talked to her a few weeks ago. Her reasoning is simple “I worked so hard for this. How can I just leave it all and go? Maybe I can do something like this there too. But again, that will be from scratch. And what is the guarantee he won’t move somewhere else soon?” Her parents are dead against her decision, but she has decided to give it a try. So S with two kids here and V visiting them every weekend.

Then there is J and his wife S. He had at least five moves in the three years I worked with him. S was a kindergarten teacher who just adored kids. Just as she got comfortable in a school, a move would happen to J. She tagged along wherever he went. Then came a five-year stint in Cochin again. S did some professional courses and is established in her work today. And then the inevitable happened. But S has decided to stay back. Their only son started his professional course and he is somewhere else. Theirs is a truly national family now. Father, mother and son in three different states.

We met H and his wife R yesterday. Yes, H will also be on the move soon. R says, if she can manage to get a long leave, she’ll go. Resign?, no way. Again, it will be R and kids here and H elsewhere.

A new breed of women is emerging here. Maybe in the metros they have already been there for long. This is a new class, who knows their mind and is ready to follow their heart and intellect, striking a balance between their dreams and that of their family. They work, not because they have to, but because they want to. Maybe they have realized that “you can make those around you happy only if you are happy with yourself”.

I for one, know it for a fact.


  1. Well..it reminds me of my own home..

    when I did my studies in trivandrum..Amma working in Bombay and Dad in Kannur...3 years in trivandrum along with my brother at home..we had a tough time taking care of house..making food n stuff..but thoroughly enjoyable by playing the caretaker of the house..

    In this era it is difficult to expect that a entire family can stay at one place .unless some difficult compromises are made by someone..

  2. Very true. People who have spent a lot of time and effort and who wants to work and can work(irrespective of the gender)should be able to do so.

    I know many of my batch mates and friends, sitting at home after graduating with very good scores in Engineering and Medicine.

    That is waste of human resource capital and the person who is forced to stay at home will feel very bad. So if someone wants to work and has the necessary qualification then they should work and the entire family should support that person.

  3. Agreed with your post especially with the last wordings “you can make those around you happy only if you are happy with yourself”.

    Thanks for your words at my blog, hope to see you around.

    Take care

  4. Dear Bindu,
    Inner conflict- at times- is good.Hope you will take the right decision. After all, there's just one life gal!


  5. Hi Bindu
    It's interesting watching the way the culture is changing in India. Forty years ago it would have been the rare woman who stayed back while her husband moved ahead in his career. Here it is a common thing and yet I look carefully and wonder are we really that advanced? It is the rare few here who can be apart and still have the marriage hold together.
    Here also women work because they have to. With the high cost of living it is no longer an option for the middle class woman to stay home and raise the family...but this too has its devastating effects seen in the mass confusion of a great many children. Consequently the drug, drinking and suicide rate is high. We don't have the sense of family here that your culture has. There is much we could learn from you.

  6. Hi Bindu,

    Thanks for penning about the emerging new breed of modern self-sufficient woman! Quite thought provoking! :-)