Home truths on non-career wives: What Chetan Bhagat ran out of space for

Turns out that after eating one-too-many bhaturas, Chetan Bhagat has a problem with the phulka.  In his column in the Times of India a few weeks ago, the phulkas seemed to me a metaphor for the homemaker, the stay-at-home mother or wife who, according to Bhagat has done a great disservice to her career/life by relegating herself to the role of the phulka maker.

Now, ordinarily I would have ignored his rant, since I almost never read anything he writes, and also, as a CEO of a Fortune 1000 company, I have enough to worry about:  I have two cats, a toddler who asks 21 questions an hour, around 600 lego blocks, 2500 puzzle pieces and a few hundred books, a maid who is conspicuous by her absence, a cook (who incidentally, makes better pasta than phulkas), a husband who puts the phulkas on the table (pays for the atta, actually), a sink that is always clogged, a car that is held by glue, and 27 gadgets, of which at least three are not working at any given time and are in various stages of repair and rehabilitation— all of which adds to my CEO duties, of course.  So you see, reading a Chetan Bhagat column on a Sunday (or any day) is the least of my priorities, because I am busy wondering when I will get to pluck my bushy eyebrows or my upper lip, lest I start looking like Kallol Dutta or Hariharan.  Or get beyond the 47 pages of the last book I was reading (where the fuck did I put it?)

But the piece kept staring me in the face, what with constant sharing on social media, which I hoped was more out of irony than anything else, (but I cannot tell), and so I finally read it.

First of all, I was so intrigued about his championing the cause of career women, and tickled by his feminist bone, that I read the previous column, in which he seemed to imply that women are the best homemakers. I was slightly confused. I am sure Bhagat has something really big coming up in the near future which is targeting a female audience, so possibly, he is trying to appease them on all fronts. But that was just the cynic journalist in me.

What bothered me is that according to Bhagat, I don’t count. I am not a career wife/mother, even though I am working more than ever before and I feel that managing my career was much easier than what I am doing now. Oh, but yes, I don’t get a salary cheque. I am not qualified to pay EMIs, and often, shady officials who push papers seem to add “unemployed”  or “housewife” in my “occupation” column, before I rudely cancel it out and say “homemaker” or “freelancer” or whatever comes to my mind.

Once I had my baby, I thought, now I will stay at home and spend the husband’s money, get manicures and aroma facials and head massages and all those things women at home seem to do. Like I said before, I am lucky if I can get my eyebrows plucked before they curl up sometimes.

The reality is that we hadn’t thought the baby thing through. There was no extended maternity leave, no stay-at-home grandparents, no nannies with scruples, no company crèches in sight.   Also I had been in the career game for 17 years, so I thought it was time to take a break and nest with my cub. Enough of that career bullshit, I thought, fiercely clutching my newborn. I didn’t exactly have a new-age aspirational job (by Bhagat’s definition: glamour photography or design, no less). All I had was a Deputy Editor’s job with an entertainment supplement of a national daily – one that has featured Bhagat on occasion as well.

I must hand it to the husband who never frowned that I had increased his burden, although I offered the position to him, but he was not about to write best-selling novels, so he figured he would rather fire-fight in the office.

Soon I reached a point where I was really tired of being told what a great career I had given up. Or being asked, “When are you going back to work?”. So, I started this blog to vent (and I had a lot of purging to do) and yes, I am guilty of being defensive about my stay-at-home decision. I did get some hate-mail from career moms on that account which riled me earlier, but I can see where that came from now.  It’s not as simple as picking a side and more often than not, it’s not about choice. Home-makers and career women are not mutually exclusive. You never know where one ends and another begins. Most of us are grappling with straddling both worlds and keeping our sanity. A woman at the work place is constantly managing her home remotely, and a woman at home is trying her best to reinvent herself/her career and trying to be productive in the best way possible without tilting the balance on the domestic front. So it’s not as simple as Slut or Savitri as the Cocktail clichés imply.

Now I get that bit about affording a fancy apartment and foreign vacations with a double income. Yes, we don’t have either, and evidently, Mr. Bhagat does, thanks to his ‘COO of an international bank’ wife. So Bhagat, we are happy that it worked for you and you have your EMIs and mutual funds all sorted, but don’t you dare disparage the hand that rocked the phulka.

Of course, the husband seems to be enjoying the rest of Bhagat’s outlined perks of the man who married the career wife: I know more about office politics  and appraisals than he does and also mutual funds, stocks and investments. I also have more to talk about than multi-grain atta or play-dates, my sense of humour is still intact, and even though I push the husband out to have a good time (so that I get my down time), he still says that I am the best company he’s had. He always discusses work with me and I do the same, so nothing’s changed in our conversation quotient. The irony is that I have never made a phulka in my life (and I can’t, although I can bake and make a mean salad), but the husband hardly cares if the food on the table was made an hour ago or a day ago.

Like Bhagat’s mom, my mother too worked till her retirement and loved her job. She never told me that phulkas or rasam-avial was the way to a man’s heart, neither did she say that one should put career over everything else. Incidentally she was (and still is) a fabulous cook, but my father contributed equally to the kitchen duty (we were never rich enough to outsource). And it never jarred that one half of women in my family was homemakers and the other half went to work.

About Marissa Mayer joining Yahoo as CEO when six months pregnant, well at six months, I felt I could rule the world with all those feel-good hormones.  I am honestly tired at her super-woman-ness and role-model-ness being flung at all of us . But then, without sounding disparaging to Mayer, the real hero in this whole thing is Yahoo’s HR policy/department which will hopefully make enough allowances for her pumping milk (if she doesn’t go the formula way from day one) in the midst of a board meeting, or allowing her to travel to a company offsite with her baby entourage (I am guessing she could afford a nanny or two) for the first year or so.

So I told my husband, you go ahead and become CEO of your company. Let me write the books.  We will outsource the phulkas, of course. I hope I don’t turn into a female Chetan Bhagat. But then, I don’t begin my columns with “Recently I saw the recently released Cocktail.”

(Okay, I am late by any standards in writing this piece, and I almost didn’t write it, but every time I ate a phulka, I was reminded of a job unfinished, so better late than never)

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112 thoughts on “Home truths on non-career wives: What Chetan Bhagat ran out of space for

  1. That first line really rankled! I barely paid attention to the rest of his article after that faux pas, but he IS known for making the most basic grammatical errors even in his ‘carefully edited & copy-proofed’ books. Yes, I do agree that a woman can be either a career-woman or a home-maker and most of the time she is both. Being a home-maker is a full-time job too and I admire the women who choose to do so. My mom worked in a corporate job for 25 years and she has been at home for the last 10 years and she is just as busy today as she was 15 years ago. I do find the premise of the movie offensive, but then his article was not about the movie now, was it? 🙂

    • No, it wasn’t, although his used the movie as a reference point. It’s annoying that women have to fit into water-tight compartments while men can be as amorphous as they want!

  2. So loved the piece. Mirrored my thoughts. High five to you
    A fellow CEO of toddler, the better/worse half and a dozen planes, cars and the likes 🙂

  3. Oh thank you Lalita for writing that. An insufferable article by a writer who was insufferable from Five Point Whatever onwards. Shame on our compatriots for lapping him up! Your response says exactly what I felt – after 35 years of doing a bit of both, off and on, and loving every bit of it
    Mini

    • No offence but Chetan bhagat wasn’t comparing phulka making women and working ones. His point was that when it comes to men its okay to drink and have one night stands but they will choose women who are ideal Indian wife material. If a women chooses to stay at home and take care of her child its her decision but the point is that this kind of act is always expected of a women. If the situation demands, how many men do we see around us who willingly offer to stay at home and let the wife work instead? Chetan Bhagat was just pointing out that still most of the men have the typical ‘Indian mentality’, which always has the idea that women will take care of household chores while the men work outside. Today when most women are working they are still expected to do most of the household chores.

  4. thanks for writing this…almost felt like you were reading my mind and writing it down on paper, in a more comprehensive manner than my racing thoughts mixed with anger, frustration and irritaion with chetan bhagat and the likes…the endless people who still don’t tire of asking me why I didn’t take my husband’s surname, why I am not working and wasting my education and all I could have done and so on…feels cathartic to read this …glad you manged to write it…better late than never indeed!

      • Too good…loved how u have put it ” patriarchs in the guise of feminists ” As women we manage everything in our rhytm..no need to anyone to tell what’s appropriate and better !

      • i think we all know what he meant to convey through this article. he was simply implying that there is more to a woman’s life than cook, clean and satisfy all members of a house. a human mind becomes obsolete when idle. your kids probably wont respect you one day when you find urself begging them for help financially/ emotionally/ physically, even mentally. these disastrous outcomes can be avoided if you keep yourself active professionally.

  5. The last line was brilliant, hillarious – “But then, I don’t begin my columns with, “Recently I watched the recently released Cocktail.” ROFLMAO!! XD And you’re not about to turn into a “female Chetan Bhagat” anytime soon, don’t worry! :p 😀

  6. Oh the age old debate…! even when my mum started working 26 years ago she was struggling with all the guilt laid out on her for abandoning her children (who incidentally loved the independence), for choosing career over home and for earning money!!

    I am a working mom too, my precious darling is a year old but I see the phenomenon in reverse now. The guilt gets laid onto the women for not being career oriented, for not earning money, for staying at home (and apparently squandering away time, money and energy on shopping, parlours and kitty parties!).

    But yeah, as a working mom I am always a homemaker too… and I see my friends who quit regular jobs but are working just as hard to hold onto some kind of a career by freelancing, working nights, making business plans…

    It’s really about how to make the best of what we’ve got, isn’t it?

  7. ohi was soooo angry after reading this column. and here is my response from another facebook group:
    errm… wives should be chosen as cost benefit analysis? working woman’s benefits? vs docile woman’s benefits? all non working women are docile by definition, and all working women are going to be aggressive? and all wives are supposed to go by what their partners want them to be? and no one thought of asking the wife what she thinks her husband’s role should be after there is a kid in the picture? and.. err…. getting a character like Saif Ali Khan in your life is a booty? more like a punishment. imagine living the rest of ur life on “do u believe in love at first sight, or should i walk by again?” and imagine living with a guy who, u dont know when he is going to find ur roommate sexy? and a guy like that is supposed to be desirable? when did the movie say this? the movie does not say getting saif is better than losing him. WE ASSUME THAT is the message of the movie. its not!

      • i agree with ur response but still men used to do that…..i mean cost benefit analysis………Actually he was trying to appease….the female…….audience but ……to be painfully honest…………he failed to..

  8. “PUN” tastic piece Lalita. Being a stay at home mom (after 9 years of juggling corporate jobs) I really get defensive when people call me “just a mom”. Clearly they have no idea what that involves. It is each persons decision as to what is good for them and their family. I once had a friend who said oh ” you should get back to work soon and you will be happy to come back to your baby”. Ummmm I’m happy now as well. Yes there are crazy days but being s stay at home mom/wife involves so much!

    I respect my own mother more as she was a homemaker too and can only try to imagine her struggles.

    As for Mr. Bhagat he can continue his bollywoodish grammar and storytelling for all I care.

    • It’s just that the grass looks greener on the other side, but the fact is that both are equally demanding and women always choose an optimum path and there is a huge list of things that go into the decision. It’s not that you wake up one day and say “Oh, I am going to be a stay-at-home mom.”

  9. This is so awesome! I loved the segment on Mayer. It feels good to know that there are so many out there, willing to be honest to the bone and tell it as it is. I am tired of the super-woman expectations of the world and the complete insensitivity towards moms in the way our work places are defined. Keep writing 🙂

    • I am always angered by reference to western role models, without taking into consideration their set of circumstances and privileges (in this case). If all our jobs could wait till we were finished with baby-rearing duties, we would also be in the same position, no?

  10. I love the way you write and more importantly your sense of humour. Do have a look at this report we recently worked on. It’s on lawyers but holds true for all women.

  11. I really enjoyed reading your article. Things are far more complicated like you pointed out, its not a Savitri vs Slut debate. Unfortunately in the clammer of voices, one forgets that complicated can be beautiful. Are you working on a book?

  12. Hi, I do not like reading at allllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll…… bt the title took my attention nd could nt stop my self frm reading it….. It was fantablous….. WERE you reading my mind…. i am a housewife nd have no complaints nd everytime my daughter like smthing she tell me MAMA you are excellent Housewife…. Though i do nt like it smtime bt love it most of the time…… It needs loads of attention n hardwork to choose one of the options….Bt gr8 job…

  13. Some women are good only at office work..some are gud in making phulkas and bhajis…whilst some are good at both, though very rare….others are good at making phulkas only, rare of course nowadays. Different authors have their own views on a topic…one should not lament over being relegated to a homemaker from a working woman. It is the best feeling if a homemaker is happy and satisfied with the life she leads with her family. Needs have ends but luxury has no end. It’s definition differs from person to person.

  14. loved it lalita…as if u read my mind…one more thing….its for men who pointed towrds women for some kind of ignorance—-“well the time when u were reading abt that machinery part of that new car just launched…we were busy pleasing your family….tumhari ma ko kya pasand hai,,,,behen k liye dress leni hi…etc etc….keep writing…like lalita…

  15. Goddess!!!
    Great writing as always, could picture your expressions as you wrote this piece 🙂 who is this Chetan Bhagat ? Haven’t read any book or article of his but going by what is indicated I sure seem to have saved myself the agony – poor writing, grammar and all.
    Keep these wonderful pieces coming, sure gladdens the heart!!!

  16. I agree with almost everything you’ve had to say here. But why be ashamed of saying – I’ve read chethan bhagath’s writings and I HATE THEM..!!! (Now, ordinarily I would have ignored his rant, since I almost never read anything he writes ———— > First of all, I was so intrigued about his championing the cause of career women, and tickled by his feminist bone, that I read the previous column, in which he seemed to imply that women are the best homemakers.)

  17. hey, very well articulated thoughts….though i would have liked to pen down the same things, don’t think would have done a half better job than you did..i hope Chetan Bhagat has read this one and made more sense to him that the one he wrote it himself. Cheers!!! keep writing!

  18. Ok first up: I am here because chetan bhagat tweeted the link to this post of yours and secondly, I need a break from struggling with the piece of code (yes I am an engineer) I have been working on for the past 3 hours. This is a welcome break.

    So I juggled back and forth between your post and bhagat’s for the past half hour trying to identify what it was that was tripping a sync mismatch between the two. The zillions of metaphors/examples which both of you have used, made it supremely difficult.

    Let me generalize by saying that generalizations cause the writer to appear insensitive to the readers who do not belong to the percentage of the population to which the generalization has been applied. This seems to be the case here.

    Of course its does seem that in his article “you don’t count!”. But lets for a moment give him the benefit of doubt that he did this because of as you seem to guess “he ran out of space”. Many articles begin with a negative generalization applied to a part of the population and which proceed to encourage the reader to look at examples of people who risen beyond that category and therefore “supposedly” are adding greater value to the society by “following their dreams”

    I think he was speaking ONLY about the women who bury their aspirations coz they think that will seem less appealing to guys looking for a bride. He meant that women should refrain from doing this and that men should bloody well accept such women and help them grow in the same way as a women would help her man grow. (Sorry, been reading some M.Scott Peck lately, had to get it out of the system)

    Well I am not chetan bhagat and I don’t know what was actually going though his mind when he wrote this but this is how I interpreted it. And from where I am not (guy, 28, not yet married), your case seems to me a fairy tale to me. By fairy tale I do not mean “ideal and rare”. What I mean is you (actually not you, but your husband) are at a point in life where I aspire to reach. There are too many things to be done in life, and as you move thru it, the responsibilities only seem to increase. It’s our duty to make the “best possible use” of our time.

    The catch: we must ensure that we define “best possible use of our time” ourselves and not let society (or men?) decide that. This is what I heard Chetan Bhagat say and this is what you already appear to be doing. Opinions of both of you towards each other seem irrelevant to me.

    I hope that when my time comes, I prove to be “the best possible husband” to my wife so that she can be “the best possible whatever she chooses to be”.

    • If only if it was as simplistic as that! Mine is no fairy tale, and I don’t know a single woman who hasn’t excruciatingly weighed her options before settling down to be either a homemaker or a career woman or a bit of both. Giving up a career to be a homemaker is as huge as given up being a homemaker to follow a career. So it’s not about glorifying one while demeaning the other.There are some finely layered dynamics and it is demeaning to even suggest that a woman would want to sit at home and make phulkas to please her husband. What we see in the movies is not what real life is, and to use that as an extrapolation to condemn some choices, while seeming to be pro-woman is actually not so, because it’s a man saying, ‘ok, now i have lowered the bar, you can stop making the phulkas’.

      • I stumbled upon your blog after reading Chetan Bhagat’s article and your enthused response back. I totally admire your style of writing and am completely on the same wavelength in our thoughts…so you’re definitely in my reader, to follow along on a regular basis. And yet, it’s interesting that I completely disagreed with you on this specific thought.

        I am at exactly the same stage in life as you, except that my child is 5 rather than 3. As women, specially working women, I think each one of us goes through this dilemma of figuring out what we want out of life, after we’ve become mothers. Men, don’t feel that tug of two different worlds – an emotional tug towards this wonderful creation that you want to experience to it’s hilt, and the logical tug that calls for the individual satisfaction gained out of an identity that is not wife or mother, but ME. Each of us reaches a different decision, based on our own set of circumstances in life. Yet, we seem to feel compelled to constantly defend that decision, whichever one it may be.

        That is an entirely different issue than what I perceived Chetan Bhagat was trying to articulate in his article. Though, I do agree, it wasn’t articulated particularly well. Despite the progress made by many men of our generation, I still find that most men have this very distinct idea of what an ideal wife ought to be. Like my brother’s friend, an out and out Madhuri Dixit fan (Am dating myself here), said once to me — “She’s great to fantasize about, but definitely not marriage material.” Let aside my response to that, this is the reality today.

        You and me are in very, very fortunate positions where our husbands truly are, our partners, our support structure. We have the “choice” to deal with this tug of war in our minds. Many women don’t get that choice at all. The men in their lives, automatically assume the mantle of decision-maker and the wife becomes a home-maker by default. I think, that’s where Chetan was trying to get at. The Men. Not the Women.

        His entire article is directed towards the men in our society who have this ideal of a career woman as a wife, but one, who should have the moral values of a “phulka” making woman (I read that as soap-opera wives) and who’s thinking should be done by her husband. He’s telling these men that there are pros for women who can think on their own, whatever their choices may be.

        I don’t think, even he, can presume to tell women – educated, independent and thinking women that are his target audience – what is the correct choice in their lives. But for some reason, as women, we feel so guilty over our own choices, that we automatically make it about us, even when it’s not intended that way.

  19. Amazingly written! I m so God damn sure bhagat is js preparing ground to launch sme other stupid book of his.
    Its truely ironic that men in india no matter how educated n “polished”..wil always mk comparisions..
    There is no way in hell you can compare meyers to an indian wonan..ever!!
    No two women r alike..no two situations r alike.
    Like u said,both jobs r challenging..boyh jobs r jobs..its js ur personal choice what u chose to do.
    When did C grade writets started deciding for us?

  20. I loved your comment…infact i was so put off by his first sentence that i refrained myself from reading further and one of my friends mailed me the link to your blog…it was such a relief to read it..! Nicely written…

  21. you spoke my mind woman …. had read the dastardly column and wanted to do a blog myself but then i thought “chodo yaar, life par concentrate karte hain ” … but i am sooo glad u took the time off from your routine and gave a tight response.

  22. hi… I am a huge fan of your columns … and I aint a fan of chetan bhagat .. honestly … Trust me, I think in this case you got it all wrong, ..I think he was speaking pro womens choices actually and was actually making the same point as you .. why stick women into stereotypes…. and is hot phulkas really all that a big deal …

    • Vanita, I don’t think condemning one choice and celebrating the other is pro-women’s choices. Are we supposed to feel grateful for knowing that the man has granted us choices? Choices are a derivative of circumstances and careful plotting and consideration and not really something made on a whim. To reduce it to such absurd simplicity is truly immature, if not insensitive.

      • this reminds me once a prospective alliance for marriage said to me “what else you want i will be allowing you to work” and I responded ” ya what else you want i will also allow you to work to add on i will also allow you to eat and take take leaves from office” and he was so baffled 😛

      • I know I was my self so relieved after replying actually i was unable to resist to reply him ‘ALLOW’ Yep and then they think they are showing kindness , They dont get chances else they would get girls to sign bond papers on a document which will say i will take leaves when our kid will be sick .. because after all they are allowing her to work . In fact some guys are step ahead they will also allow you not to work. (As if they are planning to buy a labor who will share their EMI ) I dont know is this a serious vocab problem or mental blockages.

  23. Wonderful – I always find Chetan Bhagat’s writing extremely superficial – he must know that every house does not have in-laws or parents of house dad / stay-at-home dad to look after the children. Must understand that we feel proud to take care of our family and it is by choice.

  24. I guess Chetan Bhagat is a media hyped spoilt self styled youth icon.His books are good, but thats about it. It need not necessarily mean that he is or his view points are! Had also seen him on Times Now taking part in a discussion on Anna’s movement- he was definitely arrogant and condescending.
    Very evident from the way he has gone about riling house wives little knowing that the toughest job is that of a house wife and a typical housewife definitely is smarter if not more or less than a working one.
    A very well articulated blog – reason enough to cause Chetan Bhagat to sweat it out on twitter.

  25. After long i found some article which is so original and I can 100% agree to it. Its so real delight to read some stuff which i keep saying .Being a home maker is 24*7 job. Though iam single but i have seen my mom transitioning these phases and people coming up with their crazy suggestions and ideas 🙂 Its a pure delight to read your blog

  26. ha ha ha ha…. I got to have my wife read this one… Incidentally this was the first coloumn of CB I had ever read…. Anyway… I liked the way u put it across…

  27. I am not much of a reader but your article kept me glued till the end. For once i thought you are telling my story. I am sure every women working or not will definitely agree with you. The best part in your writing is that u r very bold and bindaas in expressing ur thoughts.

  28. Oh OK now I get it. Yeah “allow” wala chakkar hai. Thank God I have been always brought up with “men and women are equal” values. I seriously don’t have time to get into “who allows who” debate. Shouldn’t couples sit down and discuss any major decisions like mature adults?

    I never did understand girls discussing with each other “I will marry some one who allows me to work after getting married”. I mean whats up with that. why would anyone purposely want to be submissive. I was thoroughly confused when one of the prospective girls kept asking me (with the intention of making sure that I was okay with it) “If we get married, we will keep a maid to cook food, okay?”.

    I was wondering why is this girl asking me this same question again and again. I was confused for two reasons:
    1) Why would I have a problem with it in the first place?
    2) Limitation of time aside, is she thinking I am not going to help around the house? She knew I have been living alone in an apartment for 2 years now without any kind of domestic help, isn’t that proof enough.

    Somehow that repeated questioning made me feel “unmanly”. Thank good it didn’t go any further with that girl!

    I am sure Chetan Bhagat was talking about those girls and attributes the attitudes which those girls have to men’s own behaviour. As for his tone/choice of words/choice of examples – I see now why that seems demeaning.

  29. First let me make it very clear I am not chetan’s die hard fan nor I am criticizing your post … but i have to say you completely got it in wrong way . Chetan never meant to point out how easy is life of career woman nor he was projecting how should career woman manage her work or home . It was just his small contribution to make the society understand that woman can handle work and home both , only thing that is required is for her man to give a helping hand . She is being homemaker and working lady at the same time so there are chances when she server less hotter phulkas ( as well briefed in statement : you may have less hot phulkas but you will have better future) . Society (especially her family) have to understand that she is being role model and supermom at the same time but is definitely not a super woman . She is just a normal human who works in super smart way . In addition she earns for herself .(again plus point for home ) . She becomes self independent . So there is no harm if she works and server bit less at home . We can definitely forgive . whatever we say .. we try to understand But this debate will go on forever …

      • My Mom was a stay at home mom for the most part although she did work on and off at different times. I work part time and manging a baby at home as well. I agree and disagree with Chetan Bhagat’s article. I agree to the part where he’s talking about women going out to work maybe for themselves, maybe for the society, for her household or whatever reason. It’s an individual choice. the message I take away from his article is for the men to understand that maybe his wife wants a career alongside managing her home, (a lot of men still don’t get it and I have seen such ppl too), but if all she wants is to stay at home, again for whatever reason – she gets to choose. The decision should be hers, no Mom who has a decent career too, whether a COO or CEO or whatever would want to jeopardize her kids upbringing…those who have the money for a nanny would go that way, those cannot afford one, might decide to stay at home or maybe work part time (if that’s what satisfies them)…..I don’t work just because I have education and I am engineer, I work because it makes me happy, I stay home part time because being with my kid makes me happy. The part where I don’t agree with him is counting on all the benefits! If my husband would ever tell me these are the top ten reasons why I like you to work – that minute we would have a Mahabharata at our home! As I said, the choice is mine not what he wants me to do.

  30. Brilliant article..every word I read was coming from my heart..same story I have but don’t have skills to put my thoughts in such a fantastic way….I had same fire inside after reading Chetan Bhagat’s Phulka article…Thanks for being a voice for all the homemakers who are CEOs of their homes and can never be replaced..loved ur sense of humor 🙂

  31. Loved reading your piece but don’t u feel it was a bit harsh and Bharat has a point? When we are talking of women, it’s not just about women in the mumbais and delhis of the world but also Agra, Ratlam, n the Kotas, if u know what I mean. The guy has a point here, n probably while writing he didn’t realise tht his piece might offend d other lot.
    We will have to agree tht Indian men generally expect their woman to be serving them the phulkas and don’t really take their careers too seriously (in fact in most part of d country they’re still not allowed to work, unless they re at a point to reach starvation) .. It might sound dramatic to some but it still holds true. And I don’t understand that when both husband and wife work, it’s the woman who is still expected to manage the kitchen and kids in addition to her office. Only a very small percentage of women are exceptions here. So d guy does make a valid point, whatever his intentions, that if a woman is working, she’s just working as hard as her man and shouldn’t be burdened with extra. Either both should share extra responsibilities or outsource, n he gives example of his house. Which is not bad, he loves his wife n from what I derived, just wants her love.. Does not expect her to do the extra or is willing to support her if she is doing it.

    And we cannot disagree that although we’ve phased over a decade of 21 century, the great Indian men still like to marry the ‘marriage material’ woman chosen by their parents even though they might have dated hot, independent? Women. Now again there are exceptions, but we’re talking about majority here.

    No offence to anyone, but I could relate to Bhagat’s article being an Indian girl from a tier2 city raised in a Marwari family studied abroad. N guys if you are wondering, I am not Bhagat’s fan, I tried reading his book, but it wasn’t worth spending my time…. N happened to have read his column since I had nothing to do while road travel.

  32. I liked the way the post started! 🙂

    The one C — cocktail itself was a pain. It released unfortunately at the time Eega, Dark Knight Rises released, so we were busy with that.
    The second C- Chetan took his reference point as this missable movie.

    Chetan is the nation’s soup boy.
    Don’t waste your words on him.

    I have gone through your other writes, your words seem to be precious.
    Save it!

  33. this house husband has all the time in the world for such publicity. Well we house wives are busy. Nice write up, befitting reply. Hope C bhagat gets to see this. post. I would have missed this post if not for gardenerat60’s link..

  34. LOVED EVERY WORD OF IT. I think it fits so aptly to most women I see around me… including me. I friend of mine is an electronics engineer by profession who gave up her job after marriage. She & her husband are very comfortable with this decision but her mom-in-law feels very embarrassed in telling people that her engineer daughter-in-law is not working in an MNC….

  35. Brilliant article Lalita , loved every word in it!!! Brings out a good debate and different opinions. I am a investment banker and now a fairly new-mum here in London, without the resources of grandparents or helping hand but I totally agree to your views of letting the mother decide if she would like to be a full-time mum or a career mum.
    I am quite lucky to have a husband who didn’t raise an eyebrow to my not wanting to adopt his surname or even when I chose for our daughter to have my surname.
    Hats off to men who are secured about themselves and do not mind rolling out round ‘phulkas’ for their family!! (mine does and am well PROUD of him!!)

  36. It’s the GenY that has become a spectacle on being mesmerized by CB’s regular dole – a mix of pragmatism & skullduggery topped with cliches. CB’s articles usually signify the rhetorical phulka (I’m not demeaning the true homemade phulkas). The one about ‘career wives’ is one such ‘phulka’. The ‘Cocktail’ story can’t be inferred for a typical Indian household. CB should’ve known ‘Cocktail’ stages for a miniscule society of high-flyers who’ve gone haywire– 3 adulterous idiots who come to their senses in the end. What’s the big deal? Though each household has a unique equation, i presume homemaking is quintessential to both ‘career wives’ & ‘career hubbies’.

  37. hi,
    i have penned a piece of advise for chetan bhagat.
    he must punch into google search PERCEPTION AND RELATIVITY- VADAKAYIL
    capt ajit vadakayil
    ..

  38. I understand from your article that you are a very lucky woman to have enjoyed the support of your parents and then your husband. Unfortunately, that is not the case with the majority of Indian women. You are very fortunate to have scaled some heights in your own profession, many women are made to choose between their families and a promotion at work. I enjoyed reading Chetan Bhagat’s article, found it refreshing even to find a liberal man’s perspective on the matter. My interpretation of Chetan Bhagat’s article is that not every career women’s life and her family’s life is awesome. I think he was appealing to a wider audience which believes that a career woman makes a bad wife. There are many men and their families who are more than happy to let their wives and daughters-in-law work as long as she can continue to put the “hot” phulkas on the table. The male ego is nourished since childhood as the bread winner of the family and that domestic chores are predominantly the woman’s domain. It is no surprise that majority of educated men in spite of their “education” ( I do not believe modern education makes a person wise but the society seems to think it makes a difference) think of the ideal wife as some one who is willing to perform most of the domestic chores. Sometimes, if the men have a broader opinion of an ideal wife, they have a conservative family which would scorn a woman who pursues a career with more fervor than domestic chores. So, I think I appreciate a man trying to appeal to the larger demographic rather than you who seems to live in some Utopian society that I am not aware of. What I understand from Chetan Bhagat’s article is not that he expects every woman to consider a career over her home always. He just wants the society to give more women a chance like you have been given at home. I can understand he might have hit the wrong chord with you as you have just quit your career of 17years to be a stay-at-home mom (which I think you deserve and is appreciable).

    • I agree with you here.
      I work and manage a home too. And my whole family eats home made breakfast, lunch and dinner(dinner means hot philkas served straight from the tava by I me and myself..) And mind you I am taking a conference call on my bluetooth while doing this! Why do people make statements like SAHM work more, are smarter, etc. etc.?! In my opinion its more about how you handle work. I’ve stayed at home for 2 years and after cooking, cleaning,looking after my new born, I still had time to host parties at home, prepare elaborate spread, read whole lot of fiction, do some dress designing, go for regular walks, take afternoon naps, watch youtube videos for recepies, make a friend circle of carefree housewives like myself and still amange to get the tea and snacks ready before hubby’s arrival at home…. Now I work in the corporate world that cares two hoots if I am a woman. I still cook, go to office, manage/tend to kid but offcourse the other leisure activities have fallen off the plate…!I love to work so am not really complaining but I am really tired of ppl who say working women have all the fun with no work at home!
      The topic maker has a hige advantage of an understanding husband, who does not belittle her choice, but are all women so lucky!
      So I’d definitely want my hubby to read CB’s article! Man to man might help him see sense and understand the hard work that I put in, to get ppl the frequent trips to mall
      My husband w

  39. Hats off to mommies who are stay-at-home and do their household chores and look after the kids… the days I am home alone with my little one, I am exhausted… I know I can’t do this everyday. I didn’t interpret Chetan Bhagat’s article as a downplay on the role of stay-at-home mommies… I think it was more like a call out to the eligible Indian bachelors to rethink their choice of brides – a large no. of Indian men still think career women do not make good wives. Even with men who don’t think like that, there is still an inherent expectations from women (career or stay at home) to play a primary role in childcare and household … I think we need to redefine this value and expectation from women.

    • Sorry Lalita . This one I wouldn’t agree. My sis is married into a Tamil Brahmin family from Mumbai and since she was asked to give up on career, she is relegated to a maid and a driver in the UK. coffee + B fast gets handed over into the hands of her in-laws and she is asked ” what do you do all day at home” by the husband.

      I guess this is the type of mentality that Bhagat is trying to address , where a woman is relegated to a maid , asked to give up on career when the husband takes a onsite assignment .(btw the groom never told us once he planned to shift to UK from Mumbai).

      There are families like yours and your mom’s too where your contribution in taking care of home and baby is appreciated but tell me how many women can proudly state that???

      You can see discrimination, gender bias in many households even in Mumbai. even in London and even in small Indian towns

      I do not see anything wrong in Bhagat’s article.

      I guess each marriage, each family is different.

  40. I don’t understand why these lousy housewives feel so great about themselves? It is because of their sloppy behaviour that expectations on women are increasing and we do back breaking work at office and home! and these lousy men want career cum house wives ! All selfish stuff. I don’t see anything so much objectionable abt Chetan bhagat’s feelings, any mediocre fellow feels the same way!

  41. Haah This was fun to read …even though I am a ‘career’ wife I disagree with most of what Mr Chetan had to say…for one very good reason ..’My Mom’ ..She chose to be a ‘house’ wife and God only knows what ever could have become of us children if she did not made the choice she made!!!She makes a great partner to my dad…To all Home makers my message would be that never ever feel guilty or feel less in any way …All the family members owe you.

  42. This is simply piece of crap from a men’s perspective (and of-course from mine too). Bcz when we, THE MEN, are unable to do things we simply expect a woman to do the same. here are the some examples.
    1. we are extremely bad at cooking, so we ask you to cook.
    2. we are extremely bad at parenting, so we ask you to take care of child.
    3. we are bad at management, so we ask you to prepare a budget of home.
    4. we are bad at love, so we expect you to give us love.
    5. and now the time comes, when we are almost bad at work, so we ask you to this too.

  43. Thank you thank you thank you…I really needed to read this. Personally, I think the career-woman vs homemaker debate was started by men. They can never really get over the fact that we can handle both equally well.

  44. Hello! I mentioned your post in my own post ranting about Chetan Bhagat’s messed up views about women, thought I would let you know 🙂 If you’d like, you can go check it out here: http://blog.vaidehi.me/post/30925237859/chetan-bhagats-views-on-women-are-messed-up

    I totally agree with what you say about homemakers and career women not being mutually exclusive, and the importance of men helping out!! Yeesh. 🙂 THank you for this post, it played a big part in inspiring me to write my own!

  45. I had just finished my own rant on CB when I stumbled on to your post. Very well articulated .. loved every bit of it ., great sense of humour. If you are interested ,here’s what I have to say to Chetan Bhagat. I don’t have a blog …so first had to share this crap and then comment on my FB page – https://www.facebook.com/priyanka.johri.5

  46. I have become an instant fan of your. I just read this article today and here is my response in quotes to his article one comment at a time:

    Recently, I saw the latest released movie, Cocktail. The plot revolves around a philanderer hero who has to make the tough choice between two hot women. The uber-modern movie was set in London . The characters drank, danced in nightclubs and had one-night stands with aplomb. They worked in new-age aspirational jobs like glamour photography, graphic art and software design. And yet, the guy eventually chooses the girl who cooks home food, dresses conservatively, wins his mother’s approval and is happy to be the ideal Indian wife. In fact, even the rejected girl, a free-spirited, independent woman agrees to change herself. To get the guy, she is happy to cook and change her lifestyle to match that of the ideal Indian wife.
    While the movie was fun, such depictions disturb me a little. When successful, strong women are portrayed as finding salvation in making dal and roti for their husbands, one wonders what kind of India we are presenting to our little girls.

    Really, is that what a woman’s life is all about – to make hot phulkas? Of course, i shouldn’t be so bothered, many would say. It is a Bollywood movie. The commercial pressure to present a palatable story is real. Above all, the makers have a right to tell the narrative they want.

    “Wake up and smell the coffee. Universally (not just Indian) men and women will do whatever to impress the person they want to marry. They put forward a persona that is really not them, but one that they believe will please or help win over the other person. Yes even strong women with careers. If you are afraid to be who you are, are you really successful and strong?”

    Yet, when our most modern and forward cinema sinks into regressive territory, it is unfair to our women. It is also depressing because deep down we know such attitudes exist. Many Indian men, even the educated ones, have two distinct profiles of women – the girlfriend material and the wife material. One you party with, the other you take home. The prejudice against non-traditional women who assert themselves is strong.

    “This is not prejudice. It is common sense. People are willing to pay big bucks for high breed horses and dogs, so why not get a well bred husband or wife? Not just Indian men, but men all around the world, Yes, even in the US. No one wants a goondi or a slut for a wife and mother of their kids. Everyone wants an ideal partner, from a good family with good values. What’s wrong with that? And what do you mean by non traditional women; Women who work or women who don’t lift a finger outside of their paying job?”

    Let us look at another part of the world. Yahoo, a leading tech firm and a Fortune 500 company, recently hired a new woman CEO, Marissa Mayer. What’s more, she was six months pregnant when she was hired, a fact she did not hide in her interviews.

    “How can any woman voluntarily hide a six month pregnancy? Idiot!!”

    Marissa will take some time off after childbirth and will be back at work later. She can manage both. There is something to celebrate about that. Marissa is a role model for women and even men.

    “Oh does Marissa update you on her work family balance and day to day issues? Aren’t you being a little too presumptuous? You say that men should not be prejudiced, but then you go right ahead and make these preconceived notions based on what? Ivanka Trump in a recent interview stated that she felt awfully guilty leaving her new born at home and going to work.”

    I’d like Indian men to have an open mind about choosing their life partners and revise their ‘ideal woman’ criteria. Having a traditional wife who cooks, cleans and is submissive might be nice. However, choosing a capable, independent and career-oriented woman can also bring enormous benefits.

    “Traditional mothers are also capable and independent. They can have careers and also make phulka.”

    For instance, one, a man who marries a career woman gets a partner to discuss his own career with. A working woman may be able to relate better to organizational issues than a housewife.

    “Really? What planet are you living in? Can you please cite some examples? A working woman doesn’t have time for her spouse or children. Her house is a mess, the sink is full of dirty dishes, she feeds her family junk take out. If you call that organization, God help you.”

    A spouse who understands office politics and can give you good advice can be an asset.

    “Such juvenile thinking. How stupid is this woman that she has to go to work to understand basic politics.”

    Two, a working woman diversifies the family income streams. In the era of expensive apartments and frequent lay-offs, a working spouse can help you afford a decent house and feel more secure about finances.

    “Translation?
    Children you weren’t worthy enough or important enough for one of us to be there with you in your formative years as we were too busy raking in the dough to buy the house bigger than the Jones’s and buying the latest gadgets and imported cars. (And why should you worry about lay offs when you have invested in some great mutual funds based on wife’s advice?)”

    Three, a working woman is better exposed to the world.
    “HOW?”
    She brings back knowledge and information that can be useful to the family. “Like?”
    Whether it’s the latest deals?
    “Are you kidding me?”
    or the best mutual fund to invest in,

    “Really? America has more women working than in India, the stock market took a dive twice in 10 years, people lost their retirement funds and entire savings, the economy is in a depression. What advice did these working women give?”

    or even new holiday destinations

    “Huh? What world did you emerge from? Are you saying that before women worked families didn’t go on vacations? In this day and age of technology any woman can go online and book a vacation package. But obviously some women need to go have a career to figure out simple things.”

    “Plus if the woman is doing so much what is the man doing anyways?”

    a working woman can add to the quality of life.
    “How??”
    Four, the children of a working woman learn to be more independent and will do better than mollycoddled children.

    “Next you’ll be leaving your newborn infant to cry itself to sleep in its crib. You should check your facts before making a statement like this. Generally speaking, most children who are raised by daycares grow up to have more behavioral and psychological issues because of lack of maternal care and also grow up to be more insecure and detached from their parents.”

    Five, working women often find some fulfillment in their jobs, apart from home. Hence, they may have better life satisfaction, and feel less dependent on the man. This in turn can lead to more harmony. Of course, all these benefits accrue if men are able to keep their massive, fragile egos aside and see women as equals.
    “So you are saying that raising a family is not fulfilling? I guess because one doesn’t get paid to parent, there is no promotion, vacation days, or benefits. No wonder no one wants to do it anymore. It is so much easier to slap on lipstick, eat a bowl of cereal, grab your handbag and just go to work and eat take out. Here’s a trick question for you. If women were paid the same salary they received at work to stay home and raise a family, would they?”

    Sure, there are drawbacks also in being with working women.

    “But let’s just ignore those drawbacks right now.”

    But the modern age that we are in, the phulka -making bride may come at a cost of missing out on other qualities.

    “You meant to say goodies, right?”

    Please bear that in mind before you judge women based on their clothes, interest in the kitchen or the confidence in their voice.

    “You already have.”

    My mother worked for 40 years.

    “She should have just dumped you in the care of some stranger. Huge mistake she made.”

    My wife is the COO at an international bank. It makes me proud. She doesn’t make phulkas for me. We outsource that work to our help, and it doesn’t really bother me.

    “I guess it won’t bother you to outsource your kids either. Are you going to feed your babies take out? It is easy for both husband and wife to be working if they are just a couple. But when you bring children into the equation it changes the dynamics of everything. I’m going to take a wild guess and say you don’t have kids.”

    If my wife had spent her life in the kitchen, it would have bothered me more.
    “Of course, then how would we keep up with the Jones’s?”

    Please choose your partner carefully. Don’t just tolerate, but accept and even celebrate our successful women. They take our homes ahead and our country forward. We may have less hot phulkas, but we will have a better nation!!
    “Wow!! I didn’t realise less hot phulkas equates to a better nation. You obviously haven’t learned much from having a career. You are so disillusioned. All the positive points you made have only to do with material gain-flats, mutual funds, vacations and dirty politics. You are missing the big picture. You forgot to talk about the flop side. So let me do it for you. It comes at a cost- increased stress, frustration and anger, poor health and nutrition, obesity, lack of time to spend with family especially kids, loss of harmony between couples, increase in divorces, birth of kids with mental, behavioral and physical health issues, difficulty conceiving etc.”

    “Indians are experts at emulating western culture. Right now India is going through a metamorphosis. Women are working, day care centers are popping up everywhere and we are seeing more and more divorces. Indian culture is headed for a train wreck and Indians don’t even see it. Trust me, fifty years later you will be writing a different article.”

    “Fortunately for you, some of us Indians who reside on the US are working very hard and making choices that will help keep our values and traditions alive.”

  47. Hey..just hopped onto this blog….and I think it’s my story……chunks of my life fitted into yours:). It was a treat to read you. I am a stay-at-home mom and was kinda relieved reading your blog. keep pouring in!!

  48. OMG, we totally have ESPN (Mean Girls, anyone?) The first thing that riled me about CB’s column was just that- him recently watching the recently released Cocktail! Loved your post, I come from a similar background, I have a (still) working mom, I quit my job to work from home etc etc. I don’t think I am any less of a career woman, or any more extraordinary as a mother. The choice is upto you, and you have to pick what works for you. I think that his arguments were very elementary-school debate level.

  49. gr8 article…I totally agree that making phulkas r not everyone’s cup of tea! In today’s scenario where working mums r considered more elite & do earns some extra moollahs….. one need a sense of responsibility and maturity to understand role of SAHM..It comes from great sense of love and respecting the fact how you can give best to your family!

    Chetan who left his job, sit at home in order to pursue his dreams… and take full time writing could only do because of his COO wife… It his wife who understood what family needs…& continued working & handling her kids!!!….

  50. hi:) thanks a lot for writing such a wonderful article and im equally excited about ur blog .i could relate to every word cos i ,like all the women out there went through this phase.u beautifully layed it out for us ,with ur sense of humor intact;)
    i shared on my fb wall . i have to thank cb cos i gt d link from his twitter page!

  51. Was disturbed from the moment I read CB’s article a few days back and wanted to write back, and landed into this article. Relaxed I feel, there are so many who have the same story!! How could a stay at home MOM be there only for phulkas? I have been a career woman for ten yrs. and now a freelancer. (yes, I don’t make as much money as I would have, if I would be employed in some company) .So, would CB say that my husband made a mistake by choosing me, just because , I have given more priority to my children. Is only making phulkas is what a stay at home mom does?

    I know career couples, who have a regular fight over, who will take a leave, when the child is ill, (as many daycares dont allow sick children) ,forget about your old parents (who cares for them, we dont have time for ourselves).

    What if the house has one bedroom less,and lesser gadgets, there is a spacious home for the family to dwell with happiness, not only this, any relative/friend who seeks help, can come without hesitation in this home. What does a family actually require, peace and happiness or more mutual funds? I work in the time my children go to school and adjust timing , always available for PTA’s , can send them to different activities, and feel that, these years are never going to comeback in their lives. (and I think this surely will help in nation building). My husband plays a pretty role in the kithchen and yes, phulkas work is outsourced, though I love making them for my kids, on a weekend.
    Thanks CEO, for feeling our hearts and putting them so rightly.

  52. I’m still a young, unmarried girl so you’ll have to excuse me if I can’t relate to everything you’re talking about. But, I’m certain that whenever I DO get there, I’ll be more inclined towards your opinions than Bhagat’s.

    All I wanted to say was that your post has more quality than all of his works combined. Grammatically, and otherwise :-p

    Cheers! 🙂

  53. What stage of civilization, are we at? Why is there a constant war on status, motherly love between career women and SAHM? Who is more perfect? None. We do what works for us. Respect the decision of Stay at home woman, but request her not to use wrong excuses for her status, and unduly attack a working woman, for what she isnt. Most often, a working woman does all that she does, albeit more smartly. I am a working woman, who has balanced both her career and family life, and I am proud of my status, yet, I am not attacking the decision of SAHM

  54. wow !! !! I loved every word ! 🙂 ! Also a bit in his article -he calls the modern cocktail girl ( veronica ) independent girl – annoys me ! She got the cheques from her parents every month , offered tob change herself for this jerk of a boy friend ! how does any of that make her independent !?

  55. Phulkas or bhaturas, idlis or dosas..or whatever..you are too good..I don’t read his books..don’t intend to either..Like bollywood movies, I have lost faith in him after his first book..
    I am ready to chuck my hot shot job any day to be a CEO like you..My mom chucked her career to bring up a nasty little girl (me) and that same little girl forced her to buy her a kid brother from somewhere like every other kid’s parents do..
    Love and respect her for everything she did for me and still does, despite her health.

  56. There! This marks and end to the era-spanning discussions with the OPU about my “glamorous career” post a kid. Thank you Lalita 🙂 You are my Mother India of sorts. Truly are! Another reason (apart from the kick-ass ECD that he is) to adore ‘Dee’ even more!

  57. Thank you for this post! Everyday I reach my wits end running after my toddler, wondering how busy I am now as stay-at-home mommy than I ever was as a highly paid ‘career woman’. And I hate all those who ask me what am doing I just sitting at home.

  58. I like your post in response to Chetan Bhagat’s article. I have been wondering about this past couple days because I have seen it being posted several times on social media. However, I think that a person of Chetan Bhagat’s caliber should be careful while writing such articles. He is supposedly a very influential person amongst the younger generation and when he writes such articles, he could be sending a wrong message. I may agree to some of his points about diversifying income however, It feels like he has looked down upon house wives and he has some stereotypical thinking when it comes to house wives. It is really sad. My mom was a house wife and she raised us to be extremely independent and thanks to her for being around at all times when we needed her emotionally. Chetan Bhagat should understand that there is more to life and raising children then just hot phulkas. And by the way did I mention that nowadays even the housewives are outsourcing phulkas..LOL…

  59. thank you for writing this article!! i read your column in IE Eye and love it. Chetan Bhagat’s article had bothered me. It is a disturbing trend these days: a woman’s value to her family is equal to her economic value. We devalue a woman’s contribution when we snigger at ‘how’ she chooses to contribute. If being at home full time makes her happy, respecting her decision and supporting it is feminism. What is important is that it is HER choice – that it is freedom.

    If labeling something ‘career’ makes it important and valuable, then let’s call being a mommy, or a home maker a ‘career’ – isn’t it high time we valued what women do at their homes?? Why is it okay if a woman chooses to spend her energies on a job, but not when she decides to spend it on her family (or on herself)? One of my grand uncles actually told me i should be part of the country’s work force and be productive!! He should stay at home and then talk 😉

    you might want to read another blogger’s response to CB
    http://blogs.halabol.com/2013/02/11/dear-mr-bhagat-do-you-judge-women-who-make-chapatis#

  60. Sweety, I am way too desperate to share this on facebook!! Rock you….what a dumbo he is…he based his articles on a movie and circles the entire clan of women around his mother and wife….

  61. Finally an apt answer to Chetan Bhagat’s lousy blog. I read this quite late. However, every time i ate a phulka since i read his blog i felt miserable about the way he thinks. He has no respect for homemakers because he doesn’t understand how traditional India was designed.
    Thanks for putting words to my thoughts

  62. I love this, having just read Chetan Bhagat’s article on phulkas, on journey from going who the fuck is Chetan Bhagat?? to reading his 3 mistakes, glad I found your blog!!

  63. Really loved reading it. The career women, who gives priority to their career rather than family, do not realize that they are not working from their basics. A career woman will never be able to enjoy life to the extend that a mother enjoys. The feeling of being a mother and caring the children are the very basic feelings in a woman. There is nothing wrong in being yourself even if the majority thinks that you have to be someone different, leave aside a Chetan Bhagat. Many women who had read this page would have appreciated this fact as you had put it down brilliantly!

  64. Lalita, love your wicked sense of humor. After recently reading the recent Chetan Bhagat post, your writing was a breath of fresh (actually fiery) air. Perhaps he did have a point or two (maybe he was trying to say that men should be tolerant and supportive of a woman’s choices), but if so, it was completely lost in the jumble of bad grammar, movie review meets advice column style and his apalling projection of the nine advantages of marrying a career woman. Shudder! Look forward to reading more of your columns! Good luck with the 2500 Lego blocks!

  65. Pingback: C-Bag’s a D-Bag, says the Internet | BerryNice

  66. Hi Lalitha,
    Sorry for the late reply to this blog, but it just got to me via FB. I am like you in many ways – a professional for several years, then a part time entrepreneur for a while and sometimes ‘just a housewife and mom’. And yet, I thought CB’s article was really good. And this is why :
    When he spoke of career women and housewives, I am sure he meant those that had never worked vs. those that did at some point. Once you are a career woman, you stay one in your head for the rest of your life. It changes how you look at the world, how you approach life situations, how your spouse treats you, etc forever. And then, if you, instead of him, decide that you want to run the rat race- that is just a choice between 2 people. And in a predominantly male dominated society, CB has had the balls to do that. Support his wife’s demanding career- and that too openly. You have to give him credit for that.

    Chetan Bhagat is not a great writer by any measure – but he is popular and he is well known.
    And in a country where women are still killed for dowry, and girls raped on buses, girl babies murdered with impunity, and women assumed to be homemakers first – and the concept of working for no other reason than the fact that you want to still alien for the majority of women – his is a refreshing male voice that makes a case for much needed change in male attitudes. yes his approach and analogies might be simplistic, but nuance is often lost to the majority – so messages are best kept simple.

  67. Still can’t understand why people fail to realise one fundamental thing – it’s our choice…..Some men expect the women to stay at home for baby, some the other extreme – but being judgemental seems to be the flavour of the day !

  68. Although I understand your side, I think you may have misunderstood Bhagat’s article. I read the article all over again and I stick by it. I am a career woman who wonders someday how will I manage it all – being a home maker and a career woman. An article like that provides all of us inspiration and does not put down anyone who by choice decides to be a homemaker, because seriously (I think you know this as well) that is a very tough job in itself. I hope you can understand that this article by Bhagat celebrates women who want to have a career and tells Indian men to keep an open mind when selecting a partner and not compartmentalize women.

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