So I won. Got my congratulatory email as well as a phone call from PhoenixRitu! I am rather pleased. It’s the first time I’ve won anything after college! And to think I won it on Mother’s Day!
Now that it’s over, I must thank you all for voting. I did feel that it was more of a networking contest than a test of one’s writing skill, but then I also realise that to be a popular blogger, you have to be a good writer. The only reason you get all those hits is because you have something to say that holds people and you say it in a way they like. I’ve always shrugged off that compliment, but I’d be ungrateful to do it at this stage. I think nothing of my own writing, but I love Tharini and Mystic Margarita’s writing as far as mothers that blog go.
So while there were 48 other contestants, it was Tara and me going neck and neck until the end. Both of us unconcerned as to which one of us won – just so long as it was one of us! That’s the beautiful thing about friendship. There’s as much joy in your friend winning as yourself.
Anyway, now that I’ve won I must tell you what I plan to do with the prize money. I plan to buy the OA an LCD TV. No, the money is not enough! But it’s just right for a down payment. At least it doesn’t feel like hard earned money going for luxuries during recessionary times.
I started work in October and the OA and I realised that my leaving home was really throwing our day into chaos. I work until 2 pm from office and then come home to juggle the kids and the job. Being a full day’s work, I often end up working until the early hours of the morning if I take a little time off to be with the kids. We tried it for two months and in December he shifted jobs to an even slower track and is probably the only investment banker who takes his kids swimming, attends PTA meetings, works from the dining table while pandemonium rules around him – dinky cars whizzing under his feet, milk spilling on the table.
Which means that while both of us have lovely jobs, in the areas that we want them, we don’t make all that much money. Well we’d be ungrateful to say we make no money – but none of the big bonuses to take you on foreign trips right now. Or to buy a house.
And so – all your precious votes have given me the money to buy the OA something for himself. For, hold your breath – the first time in six years of marriage, I plan to give him something gadgety for his birthday.
You see, I was delivering the Brat around our second anniversary and thanks to his 3rd promotion on what was a very hectic job, had quit my own job. So I had no money of my own. Savings, you say? What might those be?!
And so.. er… I don’t know if I’ve written this before (this is the problem with closing down the old blog and refusing to go hunt in it) – I toodled into a jewellery store and sold my gold earrings to buy him a watch. It seems like a silly thing to do today (I get the feeling I did write about this!) but I hated to be so dependent on him for money (I am fiercely independent) and it was the first time. So I did it.
My family was in shock. They did everything they could dissuade me, but I’m a hard hand for anyone to be dealt with and they gave up. The saddest was my brother’s face. ‘What? she’s selling her earrings? Doesn’t he give her any money after making her shift jobs so many times?’
I had to laughingly explain that I had plenty of money but I didn’t want to buy him a gift with his own earnings. And I had none of my own in the last almost 4 months.
Why don’t you take some from me, my brother cajoled and coaxed. That way you’re not using his money to buy him a gift.
No, I said stubbornly. It needs to be my own.
Well then borrow some from me, said my brother. You can return it when you get a job.
But there was no stopping me and I sold my earrings and picked up a lovely watch from Titan for him – they’d brought out a special steel and gold collection at that time. Now of course he cribs because it has links that rip the hair off his arms and keeps threatening to throw it away. I wonder if he remembers that I ate my pride and walked into a shop to sell jewellery to buy it for him. I didn’t tell him about it – but my entire family was so het up about it that he eventually heard about it and was hopping mad.
Life gives you so many experiences and I think that moment of swallowing my pride and selling the earrings made me a stronger person. Jewellers have a way of looking at you when you walk in to sell jewellery, that can make you feel like a cockroach.
Of course that was not sustainable. I stayed home for 4 years after that and I learnt to be gracious about being dependent on him for money. Somehow I hadn’t imagined I’d ever take a rupee from anyone after my parents. But in situations such as ours, a lot of graciousness and tact is necessary on both sides. Recently housewives in Kerala demanded salaries and I suddenly felt for them. I know I stayed home four years out of love for my family and would do it again in a heartbeat. But in a world where you are judged on what you earn, it’s hard to be the non-earning member and still hold your head high. But I did begin to freelance and that ensured that while the OA ran this household and kept us in absolute comfort, at least I never took a rupee from him for gifts and frills.
And now that I am back at work, I enjoy the money coming into my account at the end of each month. It’s not very much. But it’s my own and it’s a forgotten pleasure. It’s also necessary since the OA has downsized and moved into a more easy going role. With the Bean starting school our expenses have gone up and we feel rather guilty spending on flat TVs and other things when we should be putting away money for a college fund.
When I mailed a couple of friends who know I blog and told them to vote for me because I wanted to buy a bigger fridge, they laughed and figured it was a noble cause. But somewhere along the last two weeks I noticed the OA looking at the LCD screens with a certain longing.
It’s all he does in terms of indulging himself – watch TV. He’s a good man. While other men indulge in their hobbies – gaming, fancy cameras, iPhones, iPods, and much more – his life revolves around spending time and money on the kids and I. And all we’ve had to give back to him until today has been open adoration, boisterous hugs and sticky kisses. I know love is what matters most but sometimes, just sometimes, it’s nice to be able to give back something more concrete.
And so this year for his birthday – which is about two weeks away – he gets an LCD TV!! Even as I think the thought, a dozen thoughts float through my head about saving in a recessionary environment. But hell, if I lose my job, there’s even less chance of being able to buy him a TV so I may as well do it right now and get it out of the way. That way, I might be unemployed but hell, at least we’ll be able to eat chana and watch movies on a nice, big TV!
Again – thanks all of you who voted for me. All 427 of you. For the rest of the 4000 who give my blog hits everyday but didn’t think it was worth taking 10 seconds of your time out to hit the vote button … pffbbtbt!!!!