Hmmm… second post in a day. Quite a feat for someone like me who had almost forgotten how to write amidst the humdrum routine of life – the same exercise of waking up at 6.45am, getting daughter and myself ready, dropping daughter to school and then work. A 360 degree run called life.
Anyways, my post is definitely not on life. I feel that the theme is way too dynamic and complex to sum up in a blog. In due course will try to pen something on a few critical and interesting aspects of life, as seen through my lens.
Motherhood has been the most amazing journey for me so far. I think what you achieve by being a mother is far too rewarding than promotions, salary hikes and other such achievements of life. But let me caution you, if you are thinking that it is a cake-walk, I am sorry, it is challenging and demoralising at times too.
I have never travelled abroad and do not know much about the work-life balance story there. I come from my experience of being a working mother in our country and that too in the media industry.
Photo courtesy: orangeparents.org
I concieved when I was working as a Sr. Correspondent at Times Now. I wanted to start a family but at the same time was daunted by the fear of not being able to make a career.
At that time, I just moved into Times Now and was given a national beat – BJP, my all time dream to cover politics was coming true. Little did I know that after being pregnant my career would take a nose dive.
I quite vividly remember how I gathered courage and broke the news to my Managing Editor, Mr Arnab Goswami in an email. Perhaps, I knew that getting pregnant might not be appreciated 4 months after joining the organization. So, I wrote a mail to Arnab appologetically ( I regret doing that though, but I had no choice). I wrote to him saying that I would like to resign if he thought that I would be a liability to the organization in that situation. Interestingly, the man known to be a business minded guy, wrote back saying that I needn’t resign for being pregnant and that the channel would love to have me on other desk assignments.
I guess, he realised that a reporter would be happy to produce a show rather than being underutilized at the input desk. So I was given the opportunity to work with the production team on an international affairs show. I was excited but soon realised that his ‘team’ in Delhi wasn’t happy about having a pregnant woman working at the bureau.
I remember having worked for more than 19 hours at the peak of pregnancy when the 26/11 Mumbai attack happened. On 27 November, 2008 I was supposed to report to work at 10am, instead I was asked to reach office at 5 am. No one thought, how would a heavily pregnant lady will make it to work at that time? No one cared really.
I remember a line from the film ‘No one killed Jessica’, which resonated well with me. In one scene Rani calls up her junior colleague in the middle of the night and asked her to report to work for an urgent assignment. When the colleague asked, ” at this hour?” Rani responded saying,” Are you in a government job?”. I heard this line many times during that time.
Nevertheless, the experience of being a would-be mother was not great.
Wait, wait, I have another interesting incident to narrate from those times. I was on a loo break ( pregnant women need to answer the nature’s call many times due to the heavy uterus). But my the then political editor, incidently a woman and mother of two was perhaps not privy to this fact. I heard her screaming on top of her voice saying, ” Where is Sonika? Why can’t she be around.”
If you are curious why she did that, let me tell you nothing was earth shattering. There was some news ‘breaking’ and there was no one at the input desk.
I wanted to ask her if she never was pregnant to know that a heavily pregnant lady needs to break from work to relax? Well, may be in this country pregnant women are seen as a liability. At least I think that way. If you think otherwise, i’d love to know positive stories to feel better.
I sometimes wonder why is it expected of a new mother that she should leave her baby and the emotions attached with him at home and then report to work? Why is it believed that a 6 months maternity leave is sufficient? In my case I had to beg for 4 months maternity leave and once that was over I was expected to surrender myself to work and taking leaves was taken with great offence.
It is not just my experience. I have heard such tales from other friends not just from the media fraternity but from the corporates as well.
I think women need a year’s maternity leave and as a law it should be applied to both private and public sector so working mothers don’t have to go through such harrowing times and live under the threat of losing a career.
See you soon with a new post.
Love ya all