Who did you miss the most during the lockdown?
I enjoyed a nice oil head massage while attending an online meeting. On some days a plate of hot pipping snack is slipped on my work table as I attend calls. Perks of working from home you say? No. Grateful of having a support system – our ever dependable Vanita.
What will millions of Indian households do without Vanita and alike? We got the answer in 2020. It made many realise their importance beyond the professional – material world. Is it possible to maintain ‘work-life balance’ without these solid anchors? Pandemic and lockdown was a great leveler in that sense.
Facing Challenges with Grit
Ownership, Empathy, Responsibility – corporate jargons are best amplified in our own homes. Delve deeper and these are our life lessons. You may have the best of qualifications, pamper yourself with the finest of luxury, but real wellness lies within.
With job losses, gloom and despair around, my phone conversations with Vanita during the lockdown were always positive and encouraging. “How are you managing finances? Are people paying you”, I asked her once. Pat came the answer – “Money is not going anywhere, I am sure of payments from certain people once things are better.”
This confidence comes from her commitment and relationships with the employers. She understood their problems when in need, did not think of only monetary gains. But at the same time the boss lady avatar does peak its head – she will stand for herself when required.
Standing for oneself is much tougher when you are unsure where your next employment is coming from. The uncertainty of easing of the lockdown, difficulty of long road travel when local railway service – Mumbai’s lifeline, was shut did not deter Ameesha’s tenacity.
Travelling from a far-off western suburb of Mumbai, Ameesha was my crucial support for the challenging 10 months. “Did you perform the Pooja? Has father eaten? How are you managing the house”, she would ask on our fortnightly phone calls.
Financial stress, personal issues, lockdown and uncertainty of finding another job did not deter her from keeping in touch with me. She teaches us the winning spirit of building value creating relationships irrespective of the tenure.
Personally, my mind would keep going back to Ameesha and others – a gig economy of another kind that I experienced just before the lockdown. They help millions take care of sick family members, or drive our cars on freelance basis. What is their social security in times like this?
As we celebrate another International Women’s Day – ChoosetoChallenge our thinking. Are Vanitas, Ameeshas our ‘maids’ or ‘servants’? How can we give them the dignity and respect they deserve? What can I do to empower them?
Celebrate these small challenges, irrespective of the gender. The larger cause will follow.
Nurture Winning Thoughts !