Today I visited a branch of my organisation. The branch is headed by a lady who has been working with the organisation for more than 10 years. She joined at entry level and with her hard and good work she has seen success in her career in the organisation and is fairly well-placed. Kudos to her as she now leads a team of 15 men and women and achieves her targets mostly.
She is also a mother. During the day, several times I heard her talking on phone to her family members. She speaks a language which I don’t understand. But when she speaks in that language, I understand that she is talking to someone from her family. As it happens when you live in cosmopolitan place, your own language gets contaminated with the languages that you also speak with others. So it happens with the family too. You start with your own mother tongue which gets sprinkled with words from other languages and the person listening to your conversation gets a hang of what is actually going on.
I got this couple of times. Once she was speaking to her child who should be in 4th or 5th standard (my guess, considering the mother’s age), and the child was, it seemed, a worried fellow. S/he (I don’t know the gender of the child) was blaming the mother for some wrong answer s/he has written in school. The child complained to the grandma and the grandma was trying to console the child. The mother was trying to reason with the child that s/he might have misunderstood what was taught by mother at home. The child had a solid defence in blaming the mother that she taught the child wrong. Grandma came to phone as the child was crying. Our lady spoke to grandma (may be her own mother or mother-in-law) and reasoned with her too. Grandma was in a precarious position as to whom to side with. The conversation with grandma veered to some other family matter and I lost the track.
She was definitely a bit worried as the child was in a bad mood. So after a while she spoke to some other family members. Started conversation in the same language that I don’t understand and predictably the conversation moved towards the education of the child with liberal sprinkle of local language, bits of which I could pick up. Same worries about child education, same worries of a working mother and same dilemmas of a working mother who is supposed to play double role.
Was I eavesdropping? No way. We were sitting across the desk at her cabin. I was made to sit in her cabin as there was not much space in that office to offer me a suitable place to work for the whole day. The cabin was best suited. She was in and out of the cabin due to her office work and sometimes to attend a phone call which she might have felt would disturb my work. But while talking to her family members she usually comes back to her cabin, sits on her chair and leisurely talks. She was oblivious to my presence or I am sure she might have felt that these conversations are of no interest to me hence there is no need for secrecy. Of course, these conversations are of no interest to me but they carry a great value to me to understand human behaviour and the challenges modern day women face both at home and at office. My wife is also working in a 10 to 5 job and manages both kitchen and her office. I pretty well understand the predicaments of a working women who also has the responsibility to run the kitchen, raise family and take care of the children.
The commendable part was how beautifully she (not to confuse with my wife) managed the home and office chores. She was brisk in her business dealings, competent in her office work, able leader in guiding her subordinates and alert while talking to customers over phone.
I could sense all these just by listening to her, through the day.