After insurgents responded with a rattling abduction spree in parts of southern Kashmir following police raids on their families, the deepened faultlines prompted the civil society to appeal that families should be left alone. Even before the fresh feud, however, the families on the both sides have been living with their own share of uncertainties. Here, a cop’s wife details her daily dilemmas of being a life partner of a uniformed person in a place like Kashmir.
I call the working women as warriors. Although they successfully share the financial burden of the family, they’re still assigned all the roles that they were expected to fulfil previously, when they would remain confined to the four walls of a house.
Cleaning the house, cooking and serving food, cleaning the utensils, washing and ironing clothes, in fact, every single household chore is expected to be done by the working woman, in addition to her job where she competes parallel to men.
What surprises me the most is when I see mothers attending to the studies of their children, even when the male family members are more qualified.
It, however, makes me proud when I see women successfully confronting all the challenges like warriors, and creating a secure and confident place for themselves in the social arena.
I, as a woman find myself placed in the same social set up but I’m different at the same time.
I’m a wife of a policeman.
I’m also a warrior, much braver, overburdened and accountable. For the wives of policemen, the adolescent fancy of ‘being together’ through thick and thin turns out to be a distant dream.
We halt for lunch. We keep waiting to dine together. We keep planning to attend family functions or funerals—God forbid!—together. We keep scheduling an outing. But that hardly ever happens.
It’s not about solo parenting only. We’re the biggest liars!
We keep lying to our children that ‘dad is coming this Saturday’. We lie that dad is attending the parent-teacher meet this time. We lie that we’re going on a picnic this weekend. We keep lying that dad is going to join us this Eid, or that marriage. We keep lying to their old ailing parents that he is expected this or that day. We lie to our own selves.
But we console, and encourage our own selves too.
Sleeping alone is not the most stressful, but waking up in the middle of the night, uncomfortable, restless and suffocated is. There’s no one around to comfort when we’re in any kind of pain.
We wait and wait, and only wait. Let it be today, tomorrow or a day after, but the plan hardly ever subsides.
Even if it does, a police officer only marks his physical appearance at home. Mentally (and telephonically) he is attending to his duties without fail.
This makes our life more stressful. And when we talk of our current scenario, the wives of policemen are hypertensive because they’re always in a state of insecurity.
The risks and dangers are increasing day by day. Every single casualty of a policeman elsewhere makes our life additionally insecure and worrisome.
Plus, the varying political ideology of the society makes it hard to explain to the people that doing a job in the police department never means disloyalty to one’s people.
It’s not always a matter of choice.
It’s only the state of affairs of our state that veterinarians are now working as DySps, while a degree in physical education makes you an administrator and a degree in politics lands you in business. And specialisation in business administration makes you a government contractor.
But those with expertise, in a layman’s discussion, prove you to be as outlaws.
So the stress increases even when you are out of your home, because in case of any unfortunate event (a pellet injury to someone for instance), people do make us somehow feel responsible for the same.
And then, when anything untoward happens to the policemen, there is hardly anyone to even sympathise with us.
In one of the most recent events, Shujaat Bukhari’s murder was widely condemned, rightly so, but hardly anyone knows the name of the two policemen killed on that fateful day. The slain policemen also must have had a family which is equally shattered.
Penning down my emotions comes out in response to one more lie to my daughter that her father was joining us on Eid. He actually wasn’t!
We’ve been expecting him since the day he joined the police department.
First, we waited for one long year of training when we were in this misconception that things would get better. Little did we know that the actual trial begins after the training, when policemen are posted in stations 24×7, only to make fake promises to their families!
I pray that my children understand all this at the earliest. I wish my state comes out of these dark clouds and we see the dawn of a peaceful and prosperous Kashmir.
The author is a gold medalist in Sociology and works as a supervisor in ICDS.
Views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the editorial position and policy of Free Press Kashmir.
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