Sons are the worst critics of mothers. When he was 9, mine told me without a much ado, “Don’t wear jeans mum. It doesn’t suit women. You should wear skirts, sarees, churidars. Leave the pants to men. Do we wear the clothes you wear? Why should you encroach even on our dress?”
I heard some of his friends grumbling because their mothers smoke and drink. “All these aren’t for women. They should drink lime juice and never touch a cigarette”. I argued with them about equality and all that meaningless jazz but secretly agreed with their views!
My grandmother kept advising us ‘girls’ in the family to be very conscious of what we wear and what we say. According to her, the reigning deity of the household ‘grihalakshmi’ is constantly keeping watch and saying ‘Asthu (amen) all the time. The Goddess will be angered if the lady of the house prefers to masquerade as a man and wears clothes that don’t fit her image, smile or drink. On one side, I have the new generation giving me guidelines and on the other, the old school dictting norms. My own peer group is all for the ‘new’ look an do-what-you- want-philosophy.
Having analysed all the aspects l have come to my own conclusions.
- Regarding dress, I think we should wear what suits us, according to the occasion..
- Coming to smoking. Whether it’s a man or a woman, it’s a habit one is better off without. It has neither any plus point health wise, nor does it enhance your looks or add to your personality. So why go in for it? If you don’t like the statement that it is ‘unladylike’ to have a cigarette in your hand, at least learn from lesson taught by nicotine-stained teeth and puffy eyes, doctors have been screaming hoarse about the evil effects of smoking in pregnancy on the child. Let’s draw a line and leave smoking to the men, if they have to. At least this way, we can be a positive influence and make them stop smoking!
- As for drinking, nowhere is it stipulated that only men should enjoy its intoxication. Yet, frequent intake of alcohol tells on woman’s face (as much on a man’s), so why seek pleasure in something that ultimately may ruin?
I know I’ll be branded a female chauvinist, but I tend to think like my son’s generation which wants mothers to be ‘feminine’ — which rules out alcohol, tobacco and dresses that don’t suit me, even if they are in vogue. Well it’s not a bad deal after all, being a woman.