Tilak Rishi's weblog

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Tilak Rishi, born in India, has been working as a career corporate executive, after doing his MBA. Passionately pursuing his hobby for writing, he also remained a regular contributor to newspapers in India and the U.S. Many true happenings and characters he came across in life, including interaction with former president Bill Clinton, inspired Paradise Lost and Found, his first novel. A family saga, it starts from Kashmir, when this paradise on earth is lost for the tourists who thronged in thousands every year to enjoy its scenic splendor. Terrorists have turned it into one of the most dangerous places in the world. The family is not only a witness to the loss of this paradise, but also to another tragedy of much bigger magnitude. In the aftermath of the partition of India, along with millions uprooted from their homes in Pakistan, the family leaves behind all that it has in Lahore. Starting from a scratch on the difficult path to progress, it still has many joyful moments when along the way it makes a difference in many a life. The survival-to-success story climaxes in California where the family finds the paradise that was lost in Kashmir.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Dedicated To Mother's Day!

The lives you live as wives, moms and homemakers, while going out to work - where can you, as women, get the greatest fulfillment? Ask my wife, and she will at-once answer, nowhere else than in a warm loving home in a joint family? She was lucky to have been married at a time when joint family was not history, but still struggling to survive the onslaught of the fast moving metro life, which disrupted families. She was doubly fortunate to have her mother-in-law as her best friend. Parents' presence in the house was not only a blessing, but also a big support to us, the working couple. It indeed helped us through many of the tougher times with child raising and childcare needs. Unlike many parents who may suffer through finding babysitters and childcare providers for their small children, we never had any such problem. Our parents were only too willing to watch our little one. In short, my wife had it all – nice fulfilling job, great kid, a comfortable home and much of the credit for it goes to her compatibility with in-laws who lived with her under the same roof. So, any career woman, when ready to marry, would be very lucky if she can join a loving joint family after marriage.

All good things must come to an end. Our only child was hardly four years when for the first time my wife faced the hard realities of coping with the responsibilities of a mother and a career woman, without the help of my parents, who had moved to another city to be with my elder brother. She soon realized that motherhood was not all a bed of roses, especially if you happen to be a career woman. She now had to strive to make it successful, which she succeeded doing wonderfully well. First thing she did was to thank God for having teaching as her career, which was then not as paying as the career in a company. But now as a mother she found it paid off exceedingly well by giving her ample time to raise our child. Incidentally, she saw the sense in so many matrimonial classifieds then, clamoring for brides from teaching profession. Her working hours were best suited to devote the rest of the day after school to bring up our boy and fulfill his needs. Then there were so many vacations – autumn, winter and the long summer – coinciding with our son's school holidays, she never was short of time for our child, although a working woman. So, lucky is the working woman who has a job that complements, not clash, with her home life. There is nothing worse than having a lousy job that leaves you drained at the end of the day and ill-prepared to face your family when you get home.

People are amazed that my wife can be a good mother, a good wife and a good principal at the same time. Indeed, it is not easy for a woman to work as well as manage her family, and this is where support from husband highly matters. I was pretty sure that working women cannot be good mothers, unless they are blessed with a family willing to do their part in insuring her success at home and work. And although the family may feel happy having Mom handle all the cooking, washing, and cleaning, it is an unrealistic expectation when her paycheck is required to keep the bills paid. Just as a working man depends on his wife to allow him time to work and be with his children, so should he return the favor. Household chores should be shared equally by the husband and wife if they both work full time away from home. The choice is clear - we can spend our time whining about the impossibility of the situation or we can work together to make it workable situation for all. With my absolute belief that we as parents would greatly benefit from joining together and sharing the trials and tribulations of parenthood, supporting each other, learning form each other, and lending loving advice and helping hand, I sincerely strived to play my part as a husband who is helpful. Let me elaborate my role by relating to an amusing anecdote: Our son was still in his elementary school when he upset his teacher by being adamant on answering incorrectly, which as per his teacher, was a very simple question of social studies. After she had taught the class the basics of our daily life from a lesson in the book, wherein it was clearly stated that in the family, the father goes out to work and the mother does the household, she asked our son, “Who makes breakfast for you everyday?” To which he replied, “My father makes breakfast for me everyday.” And repeatedly gave the the same answer in spite of being corrected by the teacher. We had to explain to the teacher that this was the only truth he knew. While his mother went to work early in the morning, I fixed breakfast for him and tiffin for the school, saw him off when the school bus came, and then went to office.

In order to get along in the world today, a woman must work, to earn a decent household income. I have always thought my wife is a remarkable woman because she has successfully raised our brilliant boy, kept our house running by supplementing the household income substantially, and remained a respected school principal for 30 years till retirement. She really is a good role model who is worth emulating by aspiring working mothers. Dream big and grab those opportunities that come along. No path to success is strewn with roses. But the going gets lot easy if the loved ones extend a helping hand.