I have been in central government service for twenty years. Before this, I did other jobs for 5 years. To earn some money, I had begun tutoring from the time I was in 8th standard. After I had finished 11th standard, I joined a factory. I worked in different factories- Hindustan Syringe, Escorts first plant, Unimax lab, Belmont Rubber, and Steadchem. (After every six months, I was thrown out). While working in the factories, I continued my studies through correspondence and completed a Bachelors in Commerce. Then I became a teacher in a school and while I was teaching there I got a job in the Central Government.
My husband is also in government service. We have one son. Because of Board Examinations, after 12, he doesn't go to school these days, and my health is also not well. Therefore, in the morning I get up late- 6:45, 7 a.m. For the past 7 years, I have had breathing problems. For over a year now, a major operation was postponed for medical reasons and then I avoided it because of my son's exam.
Even in gov't service, for years it was routine to wake up at 5 in the morning. After making breakfeast and lunch, I sent my son to school at 7. The fridge made it possible to knead the flour for rotis at night and cut vegetables beforehand. So instead of getting up at 5, I could get up at 5:30. After getting my son ready, I would broom and mop the floor and wash the dishes. Then get ready for work. Because of breathing problems, increasing from the dust, for the past three years a woman comes and does the household work. Whether I am awake or asleep, work is on the mind all the time. I don't feel like getting up in the morning, but I have to work. My husband brings milk and makes tea for us in the morning. I make breakfast and lunch. After getting ready by 8:45, I leave for the office. Work is work. There's nothing to like about it. Even if there is a problem in the house or I'm not feeling well, I still have to go to work.
Work is from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. First of all, we have to sign in. Then begin your work and keep at it. Earlier I was dealing with the public, but now I only work behind a desk. Because of this, I can be a bit flexible with the work. If I don't feel like it today, I'll do it tomorrow, but I can't postpone it too much longer.
There are no constraints on drinking tea in the office from your own money, but I don't have an habit of drinking tea. Lunch is from 1 to 1:30 and during that time, men and women sit separately. Such is the tradition. In the women's section, we talk about children, family matters, the rising prices of everyday expense. Someone sings a devotional song. But 80% of us lie down for twenty minutes. Some even take a nap. In these twenty years, I haven't faced any difficulty as a woman employee. Now in the office there are many women working, but when I was dealing with the public, I was the only woman amongst male co-workers. Instead of facing problems as a woman, I got special attention.
After 1:30, office work continues till 5:30. Because I have to sit in a chair all day, I get tired. From the office, straightaway I come home. I'm dead-tired and my husband makes a cup of tea for me. I make dinner and prepare things for tomorrow's meals. By 10 p.m., we have had our meals and are free. Then we watch t.v.
From childhood itself, I haven't had time for any interest to develop. Everything is so tied up by routine. If there is an holiday for a day or two, I can do the pending household work, but any time more than that and I wouldn't know what to do.
My attempt has been that my son shouldn't have to face the difficulties we have faced. We live an extremely simple life. My husband and I are both government servants and we have only one son, but still we are in debt. We are worried about our son's exams, but we are even more worried about his admission. What if we have to pay for a slot in a university? To take a loan, we would spend our whole life repaying it. And then my operation!
There are problems. But I consider only those as problems for which I cannot see a solution. In my life, I have had problems at each step. Therefore, I do not consider routine problems as problems. I did not bother about my health- for my job, I have done overtime, and on holidays instead of taking rest, I take care of household tasks. Because of these reasons probably, there have been too much mental pressures. Taking it all into consideration, I am worried about my health.
From my childhood, I liked helping others and my own people. I don't know why I liked to. Instead of sitting in a chair and doing office work, I like live relations instead. It has been almost my nature that I should not hold back anyone's papers and no one should have problems because of me. It has never entered my mind that people whose work I do should pay me something in return. In twenty years, I hav not taken a cent from anyone for doing his or her work. And because of this, I have gotten great satisfaction. But in dealing with the public, you need a lot of energy. Of course, you have to talk a lot. You also meet many such people who simply do not accept that you want to help them. In such a situation, one gets tense. Because of illness, now I am doing a deskjob. And here also I don't want to see anyone face a problem because of me. But government itself is a problem...