Everyday during lunch at work, I sit with a small group of women from my training class and enjoy the 30 minutes of lunch break we are given.They are a group of highly individualistic, opinionated and interesting women.Most importantly, to me they represent the working class women of America.They are similar to my Indian counterparts in societal hierarchy and positioning, but as a group ,different and unique and so eclectic.
I love ,love them.Their problems and concerns,their strength and will-power and their protectiveness of their family and children is so characteristic of this middle-class America that I am getting used to.You know,when we think of America ,the things that always come to an ordinary person’s mind is how much Americans have.That it is a rich country,people have no problems,the government is perfect and anyone who dreams of a better future for themselves and their family wants to come to this country.And to be honest, that was what America was for me too.I did not get lured by the promises of money and riches.I did however get lured by the prospect of freedom.Freedom of the intellect and spirit.I felt the same about America all through my student-life because I was still nestled and protected from the outside reality of an economy that was beginning to crumble away.I felt it could not reach me and affect me, because my vision of America was still the land of the free and spirited, not the land of the money.And I did not want that money,so I was fine.
But ever since I got back here as a married woman and with a greater freedom to explore the job scene ,I consciously chose a job that would allow me to maneuver the dangerous and ‘unconventional for us Indians’-career change.I now work at a much lower paying job with a higher self-esteem.Every person in my training class has a very interesting story behind them.They have come from families affected by the recession, affected from having too much hope in their governments, angry at not having any explanations,angry as to why the middle-class should suffer.These are women who have children and husbands to take care of working two jobs,juggling school and motherhood and wife-hood and a job that is the only glimmer of hope.I feel warm amongst them.Like ,I am not alone and my problems are not problems.Having been so deeply conditioned by where I come from, I have seen a disturbing pattern in our race.The need to always cling to the next chain of security.While I understand that and empathize,I do not know if I sympathize with this pedestrian behavior.
My worries feel normal these days.How are we going to save after spending on rent and bills, how do we save up for a family-sized home some day, can we afford to buy each other those Christmas gifts we have so wanted to gift,how much tax will the government deduct from my cheque and is that enough ?I feel great that there are these spirited and strong women I get to share my afternoon lunches with.I feel part of a clan now,a very married and working wife clan.I love being responsible in my way for my husband,our dog and this family of two.
I love these very real and everyday women.