one who can think, luckily but—‘MUMS mine Mums mine’ crying these words my five year old daughter runs upto me and climbs on my lap wrapping her arms around my neck while my son walks up quietly and presses his face against my arm’ well I belong to both of you now run along and change your uniforms. My understanding husband looks up and smiles…(he seems to understand, at least this is what I feel at the moment) We all belong to each other Yes but wait a minute I belong to something else too…my city and my country and as such I have some duties to perform . You see we all must be useful citizens of society, shouldn’t we?
I always had deep patriotic feelings desiring to do something great. AH! Becoming famous I was always fascinated by men and women too…who stood on the dais taking the salute, Great Leaders…they stood so tall taking the salute while the national flag fluttered gracefully at a close distance. (Quaid e azam his sister Fatima Jinnah, JF K and Jackie, Eisenhower, The Queen of England and my own Uncle KH Khurshid,) I can never forget the rides in his blue Chevrolet flag car traveling from the now earthquake devastated city ofMuzaffarabadin the Northern Areas.
My heart would fill up with deep emotions on hearing the national anthem.’Oh I will do something big for my country, I would ALWAYS say during college days but no sooner had I finished my studies I found myself being given away to the new home.
‘ Education till Matriculation is enough for a girl’ I heard my Grandfather say, a prominent educationist himself , a father of,…let me count..er….er..one ..five ..two..one, well I hope my count is correct , nine daughters from three marriages…hhmmmnnnn, I found later that one of them qualified as a doctor the rest were married early , probably never completed school…..
‘well, there go my plans for the time being.
Today I find myself fulfilling to some extent what I always said I would do in the form of joining a local school as a teacher. Teaching seems to be the SS social solution for so many young female graduates. Teach ..like you wish and earn some pocket money…teaching is the safest profession for women….AH, I try not to think of the complaints my children have against their class teachers.’ Untrained personnel easily employed easily hired easily fired’ I am one of them too, but ……where was I?????
But being a woman …Life is not that easy. A few years ago it was ..’is life just being a housewife, everyday doing the same work, turning the spoon in the cooker, peeling potatoes or dusting the furniture? Should there be something else? Some concrete creative work, but these thoughts would always be broken by…’OH come on its time to go and buy provisions for the kitchen and essential tit bits and shoes for the kids’ that’s the list for today”
Wrapping a chaddar ( a large shawl) I reach the market, the meat shop is crowded with men as usual’ ‘I’ll have to wait again today then suddenly someone says ‘let Bibiji take it first” I get the feeling of a cripple being given space to move a bit more easily. I wish I was not a woman.As I walk away from the shop I have a strange feeling of being followed by looks. As I wait for the tonga I say to myself’ Next time I will come to market on a bike I don’t care if the people stare or laugh , at least I will save my time. Then I remembered the first time I drove a car in that city called Gujranwala, a heavy industrial one , oily smelly and congested but rich’.
People stood with their mouths open in awe, I can still recall the shouts and cries of children, running along the car, clapping their hands and jumping as if some act of circus was being performed, ‘woman woman driving a car’ These poor children have never seen a car being driven by a woman , life…it is difficult
The children, my own children, have changed their uniforms, lunch has been taken , my husband is back at the office, now I want to rest for a while but as I lie on my bed, my son comes with his home work’ mom’ I need help with these tricky fractions could you explain them to me, you always go off to sleep , poor child he doesn’t know how much I at this time need that hour of sleep. To him ‘MOM must be a never tiring person. OK I will try’after some time I am able to make some sense of the fractions though I can see that my son is not satisfied.
How is 2/3 , 9/11= 1 somehow we get the right answer . Home work done its time for the children to take their evening drink of milk . I wonder what happened to the afternoon.
Now that I am satisfied that I am not just a housewife that I am being a useful member of society I have to keep up my image . When I come home from school deeply tired yet I keep a smiling face( the smile should be though the voice is not , the throat is hoarse due to the constant chanting of class instructions, ‘sit down stop talking’ and the usual lessons of class drill.
I have a set of thirty young noisy children ; how brave must a teacher be and patient too , my students faces flash across my mind I have to finish checking the class diaries prepare the items for the Scientific Bazaar we are having at school in a weeks time.
I am thus engaged when my son comes up with his shirt’ammi, he says ‘the button has come off this shirt too ‘take the other shirt I say ‘but it is the Other Shirt! You promised to sew it on last Friday now both are without buttons’’well bring me the needle and thread box it is on the dressing table’. My son calls back ‘is it the one with toffees written on it?
The button sewed on , I have just settled down with my pen to finish my article when the horn of the car sounds. My husband is back from work. It is so hot at 5 in the evening , I get up to make cold drinks, the children want some too , so I make some more , as I open the freezer I notice that it needs to be defreezed I press the ‘defreezing button , serve the drinks ..and think..’there go three hours of cleaning’ I wish I had not pressed it. By now the ice is melting….nothing can be done’ I am proud to be a wife a mother a cook a teacher all at the same time. I have the consolation that I am a useful member of society I smile hiding the tension that I am beginning to feel in my shoulders now –its time for dinner –I make my way to the kitchen – I hear shouts and screams as the children are watching TV’ mom mom come quickly you must see this…
Before I reach the scene has changed – I rush back to save curry on the stove—the milk almost boiled over—OH Dear I hear someone whisper—OH Can I Be a Bionic woman?
Who knows –some day—OH The Day is over———-