Anybody can live in a house. But few can call it a home. Invariably, it is a woman who can make a well-designed house a beautiful home by filling it with love, warmth and care.
I have often wondered about this. What makes some families special? What makes some children special? What contributes to the phenomenal positive energy that you can feel the moment you enter some people’s homes? And, over the years, I have come to understand and appreciate that my question really must have been asked with a ‘who’ than with a ‘what’! Because it is the lady of the house that makes the place special and anchors by practicing the values that make the children grow up to be responsible, compassionate, successful adults! This is not to impune the role the men-folk play in any manner, but somehow the flavor that a caring woman can bring to better home-making is matchless.
Over the last two days we met a fine gentleman whose story is unique. He’s an Indian, a Marwari Jain, who lives in Pittsburgh in the US. He and his family (wife and two children) live with his parents, his two brothers and their families in a large multi-bedroom villa. They still live together, continuing an age-old Indian tradition which has come apart even in India for various factors __ from individual preferences to more evolved family/community perspectives. But his family still loves this way of living and finds great joy in this. Even his grandmother used to live with them until she passed away a few years ago. The children in their home touch the feet, as a mark of respect, of any older guests visiting the family. They make annual trips to India to connect with their extended Indian family in Rajasthan and get to refresh their Indian language skills and are initiated into new facets of Indian culture, music and dance on each of their visits. A common friend who knows his family and has been to their home describes it as one that is filled with ‘love and a rare warmth’ where the mother and her three daughters-in-law live in ‘complete harmony’!
Surely this family may have its own share of inter-personal issues. So I am not making a case for us to believe a fairy tale! But what makes this story special is the fact that this family lives together in the US even as the joint family system has gone ‘out of fashion’ in most parts of urban India. I am neither for nor against joint families. I don’t live in one. And I may not want to live in one either. But I liked this story when I learned about it because it substantiates my theory that women make our lives__and worlds__better. Importantly, they play a key leadership role in shaping our own destinies and those of our families and children. And please don’t get me wrong. I am in never in favor of relegating women to play just home-makers. I feel that they truly deserve and must have (not given – because who’s anybody to ‘give’ what must be freely available to anyone?) dignity, respect and complete empowerment in every aspect of Life. In fact, I marvel at their ability to pull off a world-class feat every single day __ without grudging, without complaining, without citing an excuse __ in so many millions of homes across the world. It is wonderful to see them juggle between their own successful careers and social commitments, even while looking after even the mundane responsibilities in the household, and yet being compassionate, caring while dealing with the children and their ever increasing, demanding needs and still providing us men undiluted attention and love. It’s the most perfect example of flawless multi-tasking and selfless service that you will find anywhere in the world. And if you can find it in your Life, in your home, realize that you are indeed blessed!