Asking me why I love the world is like asking a mother to choose her favorite child. It’s a tough one. My mother has one child. Me. And even she has to think about who her favorite child is. And speaking of children, they have always seemed like a great idea. For other people. I never wanted any, but living in India where most women have two kids, and in the case of my mother-in-law two to spare, my sentiment was viewed as selfish at best and unwomanly at worst.
Few women want to be referred to as ‘unwomanly’ – which is why many of us procreate against our better judgment. Something I might very well have done if I had not decided to move to New York. I was 28 years old and at the peak of my childbearing abilities. I was excited to go to New York where I fully expected to be surrounded by likeminded women, who like me had a different plan from motherhood.
That is when I found out that women, no matter where in the world we go, are governed by many of the same rules. I was meeting women who despite being raised in the West had the same tired, old ideas – marry, have babies, and just like in India the ones who went back to work after having babies were the ones who needed the money. Of course there are always the lucky few with great careers and supportive bosses but I think we all know that these unicorns are few and far between.
And then one sick day, as I was lying in front of the TV flipping channels and feeling wretched I found Oprah. No jokes. Here was a boss – a woman who didn’t need a husband, children or for that matter a last name for validation. And she talked about it openly like it wasn’t a dirty secret! Which suddenly reminded me of our very own Rekha – a womanly woman if ever there was one! And then I started thinking – while motherhood may have claimed PT Usha (she was bomb in my day kids!), Madonna and Ariana Huffington it had left me tennis legend Martina Navratilova, singer Lata Mangeshkar and billionaire business woman Kiran Mazumdar Shaw. The list of childfree ladies is long and illustrious if you care to look.
And this is really why I love the world. Because I am never alone. There will always be a woman (or man – lest I be accused of blatant sexist writing!) somewhere on this beautifully diverse planet of ours who feels the same way that I do. Someone who, like me, wants to sleep in late, hold on to her disposable income, and not be in-charge of maths homework. Let’s be honest I wasn’t that great at it the first time around! I want to travel without making plans, and I want to explore and experience different places, people and caffeinated products and I deserve to do all of this without explaining myself.
Of course it always struck me as a little bit poetic that I had to travel across the world to notice the role models in my own backyard. But that’s ok – for decades, if not longer, people have been coming to India to find themselves. I guess some of us may need to leave for the same reason.
#SayYesToTheWorld #Lufthansa #Travel