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The ‘real’ women of America

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.

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4 thoughts on “The ‘real’ women of America

  1. Agreed with you about American women being free spirited and strong. But dismissing the behavior of people from your race as being “pedestrian” is not something I agree with. The government does take your taxes (Federal, State, Social, Medicare) here, but they care about the quality of human life. They give it back, however foolish it is, in the form of stimulus funds(!). And about security, people here can expect security from the government, and they never have to worry about food on the table. And that is because this is a welfare state. And people who are “poor” over here can have a decent quality of life, they can “afford” to dream, and do things they want to because they have the freedom to.
    Women from our race have been strong for many many generations, except that they didn’t really talk about it. They never blow their horns, because being strong is not a choice they make. It is what they HAVE to do, to survive. Not security, it’s survival. On the other hand, to chase after “security” might not be what you think it is. Maybe they WANT to be where they are. Maybe they want to give a nice life to their parents, to their kids – and that makes them happy. As they say, one man’s food is another’s poison.
    This is a rather long comment, but the dismissive tone in your post about our people just got to me.
    And congrats on your new job, glad you like it – far cry from Wipro I bet 😛

  2. hey Soumya,
    yes I do like it so far.
    It is a customer service job and all ,so have to be on the phone helping people with issues.

  3. Pooja thank you for reading and replying.I do appreciate your point of view.
    First off, to each his own( opinion ,in this case).
    And secondly, I was not comparing American women and Indian women.Hell I know Indian women are strong,my mom,my aunt,your mom and so many more people I know.
    I definitely did draw a lot from my own personal experiences so far,hence I feel entitled to this perspective.
    And I do not feel like the highlight of what I was wrote was singling out ‘us’,our race.It was more about my observations of people in general.
    I wrote a few months back about this whole ‘security’ thing that you wrote about,and I felt like understood it better after returning back home for a bit.
    Nonetheless, we should not as a nation have so much hubris,which crumbles the moment we feel someone says something even remotely close to being offensive.
    I am an Indian woman with a global spirit.I was not being judgmental ,just being honest with what I had observed.
    And yes, this new job is better only because it is not a software job and I am not intimidated by it ! hehe

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