Talented Lady of Leisure!

Welcome to the Friday Loose Bloggers Consortium where Anu, Ashok, Conrad, Delirious, gaelikaa, Grannymar, Ramana and I write on the same topic. Please do visit the linked blogs to get different views of the prism, colours of the same topic.

Today’s topic has been chosen by Delirious.

I am, what’s popularly known as, a Lady of Leisure. Hold on, I mean, someone who enjoys having the breadwinner sweat it out in the wide, wicked, world or bring in the pension, while I swan around eating strawberries and cream with chocolates for in-between chews. Yeah, I am a member of the endangered species, a sweet woman who is called, (in application forms that periodically need to be filled), a HOUSEWIFE or to be more current HOMEMAKER as if I have a halo around my head like the Maker up above the world so high (excuse me I have Twinkle, twinkle and Old Macdonald occupying centre stage right now with grandkids around!). I am not the least bit apologetic about the fact. I know that such a confession would make my sex throw a ton of bricks on my head. So, I am going to enumerate all I do with my innumerable talents in my exciting daily life. 

To begin with, I am the cook and according to me a pretty talented one at that. That means catering to various taste buds, each one developed to fine gourmet standards by, you guessed it right, yours truly. I happen to enjoy the job and take pride in being able to throw a few ingredients into a pot that results in an appetising meal. No fancy stuff mind you, more the rice and dhal, the roti and veggies variety with a few special dishes meant for festive occasions. 

I cook, place the food in a dish, maybe even microwave proof plastic, and present it to the consumer who most often has a book in his hand or eyes glued to the TV. Any aberrations in the cooked dish get immediate responses but no accolades or lip-smacking praise for the odd gourmand dish. The empty dish at the end of the meal is the only acknowledgement of the quality of the product and the talented chef behind it. 

Mind you my meals are not made up of artistically cut vegetables or portions of vegetable placed attractively on a plate garnished with parsley or celandron–cotomili or dhania for the average person. No roti twisted into contorted shapes and rice moulded as rabbits or mice with carrots, peas and beans delineating eyes, ears and whiskers. No entrees, main dishes or lemon sorbet to clean your palate in between. A meal that I cook is serious, daily fare that follows the norms set by women ancestors in the family. That’s all. 

Apart from being a good cook, I have to be an excellent quartermaster. My family definitely marches on its stomach and meal times are strictly adhered to, come rain or shine, flu or the runs. From toothpaste and soap to detergents and bathroom cleaners, medicines and tissues to shoe polish, luggage, underclothes and designer wear to gumboots and hats, linen and upholstery to hardware, cars and computers, I coordinate purchase, inventory control and allocation. My talents in this matter is on time, every time records. 

With this territory comes HRD, so I also handle the house help, itinerant technicians in varied overalls, tenders and contracts for assorted jobs that is an important aspect of general maintenance and operations. The Accountants job is also mine including withdrawals and deposits, budgeting and disbursing monies. The dubious pleasure of winding down an establishment, closing it and relocating the family, also generally rests on my spondilitis stricken shoulders, grown weak with all that “lady of leisure” business. 

PR is strictly my portfolio. Family contacts, keeping track of assorted friends and family, business contacts, buying appropriate presents for special and run-of-the-mill occasions, letter writing including births, weddings and deaths are some of the jobs that I am supposed to be good at. I do forget names of various offspring of the different branches of family and so write the names down in the address book along with the parents’ names. I must confess that similar sounding names perplex me often, with my mind going into overdrive, mentally thumbing the alphabets in the desperate hope of hitting the right combination. So, is it Millie, Nellie, Sally, Shaili or Natalie? will keep me, tongue tied, until my polite beating-around-the-bush questions like–How are the children? Where are they located now? Have they moved out of Bhatinda toBoston?–will give me some kind of a clue. I must confess remembering names is not one of my talents! 

This is just the initial description of my job profile. I would like to quickly enumerate my other talents and duties–driver, baby sitter, teacher, model maker, nurse, secretary, hostess, cleaner, interior decorator, waitress, errand runner, holiday planner etc. etc.– before I can take a deep breath and say I think that’s all. Does this give you a sketch of the nature, spectrum and experiences of my job?

I’m not done though. Along with these assignments there are a few that are my own choices, executed in the time stolen from doing all of the above and more.

I used to volunteer with social service organization, manning the centre and was part of their fund raising teams and awareness programs. I also contribute little nothings to many magazines and newspapers (many which are unpaid). I was an actress on stage; that meant rehearsals, learning lines, chasing and fitting costumes and coordinating different aspects of the production. It also included giving unsolicited and unrelished advice to fellow actors.

I had a stint as a teacher that was short lived due to chronic laryngitis and family commitments–growing children, old invalid in-laws and a hectic social life.

I act as a willing database for lots of people who refer matters relating to art, culture, shopping, employment, real estate, marriage alliances, doctors and hospital contacts, and infrastructure queries that are so important to leading an urban life.

To add the final icing on the cake I also write–poetry, prose, middles, first person encounters etc. I love movies and watch them at home.Readingis a passion, which most often is done in the toilet. Please do not ask me how long I sit in the bathroom, I shall tell no lies. I am surrounded by music wherever I may be and I give the neighbours a fright quite often when I burst into a trill or tremolo while accompanying the Indian Divas on radio.

By the way, I also dabble in the Stock Market. My shares include Grey chip investments that I have been unable to trace as their Registered Office address is given as the 5th Milestone on the Haryana Highway. I am still trying to find the Highway. The only hope of recovering the investments was by selling the reams of paper issued as Share Certificates to the ragman. Alas the dematerialisation of the Stock exchange has put finis to that hope.

My dreams? Used to be running a Bookshop or library. The sheer thought of being tied down to one assignment with no scope for innovation or change management kept my dream in the cartoon balloon over my head. I have managed to travel all over the world, though vague hopes of making it to Leh and Mansarovar, are sadly past the sell-by-date time!

So that is the profile of a lady of leisure with a few talents who regularly gets questioned “What were you doing all day? Or,” I’ve told you to do this at least ten times.” How do I manage? Ask me another as I truly cannot answer this question. I do it for I have to do it. You can even say I was brought up to do it that way. I enjoy doing what I have to do. I even volunteer to do stuff that I don’t have to do.

 If you want tips on how to cope from a talented veteran, don’t ask me as I have to run off to the bank regarding a small matter of an overdraft and delayed payments on a second mortgage. C’est la vie! Ciao!

About padmum

You could call me Dame Quixote! I tilt at windmills. I have an opinion on most matters. What I don't have, my husband Raju has in plenty. Writer and story teller, columnist and contributer of articles, blogs, poems, travelogues and essays to Chennai newspapers, national magazines and websites, I review and edit books for publishers and have specialized as a Culinary Editor and contributed content, edited and collaborated on Cookbooks. My other major interest used to be acting on Tamil and English stage, Indian cinema and TV. I am a wordsmith, a voracious reader, crossword buff and write about India's heritage, culture and traditions. I am interested in Vedanta nowadays. I am now an Armchair traveller/opinionator/busybody!
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6 Responses to Talented Lady of Leisure!

  1. Grannymar says:

    My life used to sound like that. Now that I am alone with fewer calls on my time, I spread out my chores.


  2. Rummuser says:

    Wow! Shows how much you are taken for granted for! It will be carrying coal to New Castle if I were to tell you how proud I am of you. Stay talented Padmum.


  3. Delirious says:

    I am a “stay at home mom” too, and I love it! I don’t sit around and eat bon bons all day though. I often wonder how working mothers get it all done! But you are right, this position requires us to be multi-talented!


  4. Conrad says:

    You mean you don’t live like Lucy Ricardo from I Love Lucy??? Do you have an Ethel Mirtz in you life?

    I have always thought we lost a great deal – although I get why women went this direction – when the Moms entered the workplace as a requirement. For one, the homes rose in price until it required two wage earners. Secondly, the lessons, nurturance and general life tone that only a mother can give her children was lost.


  5. Ashok says:

    I think a housewife’s job is more challenging than the person who earns a living. As you just described it encompasses all aspects of management which I simply can’t handle. I continuously marvel my mum for raising a difficult angry child without once laying a hand on me for the purpose of imposing discipline. With all due respect to modesty, I think she did a damn fine job 😛


  6. creolepeach says:

    I love being a housewife and am thankful I have had the opportunity to do it! It is nice to see other women are still apart of this lifestyle!


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