Chopping Onions.

I remember when I was younger
I looked at my mother and asked her
“What do you do?”
She smiled at me with tears in her eyes
And said
“I do what most people overlook and undermine
I nurture, I give and I care.
I am here for you when you come home from school
And I will be here until I feed you and feel you”
Little did I know that those tears were not from chopping onions.

Then, it was different
She gave me motivation for being strong and hardworking and kind
Today, too, she is a motivation
But for what I do not want to be
See, I have dreams
And goals
Ambitions of what I must do in my life
A corner office in some fancy building
Starbucks coffee in one hand and files that seem important in the other
Today, I want to fill my hands
With things to do
And to be.

But, now that I think of it
My mother’s hands were full too
Full of all this purpose and belief
But they were full only to lose
Because they wanted to give
They didn’t want to peck at the last grain of corn
Like that alien bird after a thousand mile flight
Beating for any sign of power
Of ‘empowerment’

But I hate my mother
She was worthless and a coward
She was like a flower during spring
She was always there as one among so many
Beautiful, yes, but weak, nonetheless
Mundane and overdone
Just because she stayed at home.

But now I know that I don’t hate my mother by choice
I hate her because that is what ‘society’ taught me
That if you want to make a mark for yourself
You must go out
You must exude
All this energy that you can’t muster up
Only to be exhausted
By something you don’t know why you’re doing.

‘Society’ has taught me
That as a woman, empowerment is that corner office
Or that starbucks coffee
It has taught me that I am equal to man
Only if I make as much as him
That I am empowered
Not by respect or dignity
But by a grey suit and a briefcase.

But now I know
That empowerment is my mother
It is a winter’s flower
Growing among all this snow
Making the best use of everything around it.
Empowerment is having so much in your hands
That you do not know what to do with it
Other than to give
It is being able to speak without fear
To be a candle in the dark
It is to make your own choices.

It is my choice whether I want to sit
In a kitchen
Or a corner office
Or both

It is my choice if I want to give
Or take
Or both

It is my choice if I want to be a spring flower
Or a winter flower
Or both

But it is not your choice
To deny me
My empowerment

And as I say this I know my mother is watching
With tears in her eyes
But this time
I know for sure
It’s not from chopping onions.

 

7 thoughts on “Chopping Onions.

  1. Wonderfully Penned Bhavana.. I sometimes look at my wife like that, but seriously you wrote something which is kind of eye-opener. I know many of house makers are taken for granted, but they are simply great. and always better than us.

  2. This is nice!!! to see young girls make their choices; understand “stay at home” moms, realize that society or public opinion need not always decide your life…… good start. I hope you will become a sensible youth icon for your generation……..

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