When ‘The Marvelous Mrs Maisel’ Got Me Thinking: Are Women Born To Be Mothers?

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So, recently, I joined the Amazon/Netflix bandwagon. Yes, it was too tempting a proposition to be stalled. It brought me face to face with a plethora of TV shows and movies (making my procrastinating ways even worse). As I greedily browsed through the available options, I chanced upon this show called, ‘The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel’.

And boy, I was hooked. It blew me, more so as I did not expect it to be so bloody good. The show set in the America of the 50s, starts off with the protagonist Miriam Maisel being abandoned by her husband. Miriam who is your regular housewife is smart and sassy with a wit that is hard to miss. As she vents out her anger at her husband’s frivolous behavior, Miriam unwittingly discovers that she has a knack of becoming a kick- ass stand-up comedian. Instead of wallowing in grief that her husband left her, she goes on to explore this newfound love for comedy and astonishes everyone with her slapstick humour and magnetic stage presence.

Well, my point of writing this piece here is not to review the series but to talk about something that made me think hard and something which I thought was worth talking about. It is rather queer that I could find something of relevance in a show set in the 50s but it also says a lot about the fact that when it comes to women there are certain issues which seem to defy the travails of time.

In one of her stand up acts, Miriam says, “What if I wasn’t supposed to be a mother? What if I picked the wrong profession? If you’re afraid of blood, you don’t become a surgeon. If you don’t like to fly, you don’t join Pan Am. I can’t change my mind and donate my kids to the library, like I’m gonna do with this book. Oh, my God, I’m awful. I mean, women are supposed to be mothers. It’s supposed to be natural. It comes with the tits, right? The equipment is pre-installed. I mean are there exceptions? What if some of us are just supposed to travel a lot? Or run 24-hour diners out in rural areas wearing coveralls? What if some of us are supposed to just talk to adults our entire life? Oh, I never thought about any of this before tonight.”

This was not merely something which struck me as a slosh of humourous and witty lines but something that got me thinking. It led me into thinking that it is not merely a spur of the moment rant but there is indeed some logic to it. It is generally a given that if you are a woman, you ought to be a mother someday. You are sent equipped and fully loaded to bring in another human in the world. Well, I know motherhood is not a profession but, you know what, it is way more than that. If you choose a profession and you fail at it or you are no longer passionate about it, you can shift gears. But, once you are a mother, you cannot go back, even if you fail at being a mother majestically. But, again our society is conditioned in a certain way. Women who choose to forgo motherhood are judged. There is a constant pressure on them to deliver (pun intended).

But, coming back to Miriam’s argument, I can see that it should be absolutely fine to not jump the motherhood wagon, if you are not cut out for it, if you feel you are not all charged up about the thought of having a tiny baby in your arms. A woman is a human being first and like any other human being shouldn’t she have the right to take an informed call on that aspect of her life which would leave an indelible mark and would reshuffle her identity? Or she should merely do it as she came with a uterus?

Well, before we take this argument any further, let me tell you, that I am a mother to an adorable little girl who lightens up my world. I always wanted to experience motherhood. But, if I did, that does not imply every woman would.

There are women who know in their gut that they want children. Sushmita Sen, Miss Universe and the evergreen diva, for instance became a mother to two lovely girls. She wanted to be a mother so badly that nothing deterred her from being one. Being a single mother was not a roadblock for her as she knew where her heart was.

So, I am not advocating that women should not embrace motherhood. All I am saying is that the reason should be more than the fact that you are endowed with the X chromosome.

 

(Also published here: http://www.womensweb.in/2018/08/the-marvelous-mrs-maisel-got-me-thinking-aug18wk1sr/)

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Withered #FlashFiction

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She walked out of the residential block and turned towards the garden that overlooked the palatial cream coloured building.

She tiptoed through the garden which was laden with myriads of beautiful flowers.

Inadvertently, her eyes fell towards a corner. An old withered wooden planter which probably once was the home of a thriving flower bed stood abandoned.

“Why is this here”? She asked the gardener.

“Well, it is old. Did its time.”

Her old eyes turned towards the doorway which had the words, ‘We Care Old Age Home’, writ in mauve letters.

“Yes, it did its time”, she nodded ruefully.

 

(Word Count: 100)

Written in response to the picture prompt provided by Sandra Crook for Friday Fictioneers hosted by Rochelle Wisoff – Fields

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Forever #FlashFiction

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As he set foot on those quaint looking lanes, he felt his chest tightening. Then, bam, he could smell her scent. He reminisced how happy she made him. She seemed to fill the hole in his heart and made him flutter with joy.

He had had a grim childhood. His parents did not quite like each other’s company and sadly for him, they realized it once they were married and bitter. The divorce followed after a few years.

Right then, he made a silent promise to himself that when he would fall in love with someone, it would be forever.

She came into his life, like a breath of fresh air.

They had a modest abode that overlooked a rickety lane.  But, little did he know it would not last long. A car crash took him too soon.

It had been two years since that fateful day.

Every day he would walk these lanes and watch over his love.

Unlike his parents, he truly believed in ‘forever’.

 

(167 words)

Linking this post to Priceless Joy’s, Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers. The challenge is to write a flash fiction story or poem in around 150 – 175 words, based on the weekly photo prompt. Thank you Priceless Joy, for this lovely prompt. 

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Seize the day… #FlashFiction

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She looked out of the window and a beautiful sight beheld her. The intermittent rains that had continued since last couple of days had brought about a familiar chill in the air.

Unwittingly, she found herself looking at the embossed photograph on the mantelpiece. She vividly remembered that day. Michael had finally goaded her into taking a break from her busy work schedule and so off they went for a weekend outing.

But, weather played foul. As she sat inside the hotel room, fighting the urge to open her laptop and get to work, Michael appeared with a shiny umbrella and a wide smile.

“We are going out. Come on”.

“But, it is pouring”, she exclaimed.

“I have an umbrella. Let us make the most out of this day.

The picture of the two of them strolling in the rain, is still a beautiful reminder of that afternoon.

Today, as she looked out, she sighed. She stared down at her wheelchair and hoped she had seized the day more often, when she could.

(173 words)

Linking up with Priceless Joy who hosts a weekly flash fiction challenge for aspiring writers. This week’s photo prompt is provided by Michelle De Angelis. Thank you Michelle!

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When My Eleven Year Old Self Made Me Think…

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Nostalgia is a strange thing. It suddenly engulfs you from nowhere when you least expect it and distant memories that were hitherto buried in your past come calling out to you. I too was left reminiscing about those misty memories when I thought of writing this particular post.

I meant to write about a small change that I brought about. As I wondered if I was ever instrumental in bringing about a change that was selfless (Phoebe’s dilemma about a selfless good deed did cross my mind –Yes I am a Friends fanatic and keep going back to it- pardon me). So, did I ever do something selfless that infused a change however paltry?

It was then, the memories come flashing back.

It was the time when I was an emaciated young girl on the verge of being a teenager. I lived in a sleepy small town somewhere in Rajasthan. Those were the nineties, when our evenings were not spent browsing through our phone and the majestic forces of whatsapp and facebook had not taken over our lives. During those days, we had a middle aged Punjabi woman who worked as a part time maid at our house. She had a daughter who was my age. Though, at age eleven, I was well aware of the class demarcation that existed in the society at large, my naïve young heart did not let it overpower the basic sentiment of brotherhood or in this case, sisterhood.

The girl’s name was Geeta and she used to often accompany her mother to work. We would spend the time playing ‘make believe games’ and would enjoy to the hilt. I used to eagerly wait for her mom to arrive so that I could get those precious moments of joy.

Geeta was not like my other friends. She was mostly fascinated by my toys and looked at me like a star-struck teenager. I on the other hand, reveled in the attention.

It was a sultry afternoon. We decided to play the most famous ‘make believe’ games of our times. Yes, it was called ‘teacher-teacher’. Geeta said she would like to become the teacher. I acquiesced and sat with a notebook in my hand. Geeta took the chalk in her hand and headed towards the little blackboard that my dad had bought for me a few days ago. It was my prized possession. As she prepared to write, I saw her expression alter and the radiant smile gave way to a crestfallen look of dismay. She stood there transfixed for a few minutes only to say, “Didi, I do not know how to write. I cannot be a teacher in this game.”

I looked at her stunned as I never had an inkling that she was illiterate. Just then her mother called out and she rambled towards her mother with weary steps. She was gone. But, something in me had stirred. I could not bring myself to believe that my dear friend was bereft of the basic right to education.  I made a decision.

Next day, as Geeta came home, I made her sit next to me. I gave her a notebook and a new set of pencils and erasers. She looked at me questioningly. “I will teach you how to read and write”. This time it was her turn to be shocked.

From then on, whenever she came in, we would disappear in my room where I would wear the teacher’s hat and she would be the diligent student. Within no time, Geeta could write her name with ease and read a bit.

I was ecstatic. The joy I experienced was unparalleled. But, most importantly, it was unadulterated. I was merely happy that my friend could read and write. There were no hidden agendas and no vested interests. We went on to play ‘teacher-teacher’ many times after that and Geeta proudly proclaimed, “Now, I can be a teacher”. The sparkle in her eyes was hard to miss when she held the chalk in her hand.

After a few months, we shifted to a different city.

Today, as I look back, I marvel at my deed. I do not know if Geeta went on to achieve something later in her life. But, it makes me really question that if an eleven year old child can bring about a change, why does a woman in her thirties merely sit and make a commentary of sorts on all that is wrong in the world. This memory has been an eye- opener for me and has put things into perspective like never before. I hope I can learn something from my eleven year old self who was unscathed by the vagaries of the world. She did not just know the meaning of a ‘selfless deed’ but actually practiced it.

 

Every change begins with a small step, whether it’s a change within your family, or the whole country! India’s hero, Padman, had its digital premiere on ZEE5, on 11th May. Don’t miss this inspiring true-life story, only on ZEE5. Download the app and subscribe nowFor every subscription, ZEE5 will donate Rs. 5 towards the personal hygiene needs of underprivileged women.

 

Image: http://www.top-art-gallery.com/William-Adolphe-Bouguereau/Two-Girls-(Childhood-Idyll).html

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