Thursday 24 November 2022

Swapna Sanchita, Prose 500 2022 Shortlist


Falguni was pursuing a master's degree in history when she married Pariket. She was twenty-two and ready to take on the world and marriage. However, they, meaning her family and his, told her to give time to the latter first; it required more nurturing. Meanwhile, why not get a degree in education which would later allow her to become a teacher. Now, that was a good vocation for a young woman from a good family, a job where work timings would ensure that she was back home well in time for evening tea, prepare dinner and see to the children's homework when she had them. Falguni had always been good at multitasking. By the time she obtained a bachelor's degree in education, she also had a beautiful baby boy who had his father's eyes. 

Putting her yet non-existent career on the back burner seemed like an easy choice. As her little one learnt to walk, she decided to pursue a few short-term courses, nothing very tough or time-consuming, just something to stay relevant for when she would join the job market. But when her son started kindergarten, she found it difficult to get a teaching position in one of the better schools. There were no vacancies, but the schools asked her to try again some months later; maybe something would come up. So Falguni decided to get a Ph.D. It would keep her busy and come to think of it; she did not need a job immediately.

 The Ph.D. was fairly doable. Her uncle knew someone who would write her dissertation and thesis for her. She merely had to go through the motions and prepare well for the final interview. Three years later, Falguni was a proud Dr. Falguni. She taught a few classes at the local women's college. Still, it was tedious to always be on time and attend faculty meetings where the principal spoke continuously about the importance of maintaining discipline for forty-five minutes. So, Falguni quit. At some point in her stint as an ad hoc lecturer, she realized that it would be difficult for her to be an 'employee' and work for someone else. Instead, she should think of setting up her own business.

Falguni is taking a course in baking nowadays. Cooking was always her first love. Maybe she will open a small café somewhere. Falguni is an accomplished woman with two graduate degrees, two master's degrees, a Ph.D., and three short-term courses in interior decoration, embroidery, and painting. Her father had told her she could do anything she put her mind to. She had always wanted to be financially independent. Running a café would finally do it for her, but maybe she should wait until her son's class 10 exam examinations are over. Class 10   is an important year for him. It will set him on his path. As a mother, isn't it important that she provide him love and support and focus on him today? She can follow her dreams later.

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