Life brings with a plethora of experiences, each with a flavour of its own. I wish to share with all my readers these various experiences and observations that I have made during my time here on this planet. They may be funny, thought-provoking or simple reflections. I do hope you will find these enjoyable and interesting.

Thursday, 28 February 2013

Empowered Women and Increasing Divorce Rates - Related?

A neighbour, a divorcee, wants to get married again and is concerned about finding the right person this time round. She was the victim of domestic violence the last time round. She had endured the marriage for 10 long years despite being very well qualified and in a very responsible position at work. An acquaintance, a divorcee, has got married to another divorcee and is happily married since many years. Look at the matrimonial columns and one sees a separate one for divorcees. There is even an online matrimonial site for divorcees –

It is evident that the number of divorces in India is increasing. Where “divorce” was a dirty word not too long ago and being a divorcee carried a social stigma, making it difficult for the person to be married again (especially if it was a woman, so what even if she was an “innocent” divorcee – which all divorcees used to be if one were to believe the matrimonial ads – whatever that meant). Obviously something has changed, but what? The common conception seems to be that women becoming financially independent and empowered is a major reason for the increasing number of divorces. But is it really so?

There are a number of dynamics in any marriage that lead it to being a success or a failure. What was the reason for the number of divorces in India being globally one of the lowest? Odes have been sung to the social structure which supports a strong family system which in turn rests on the institution of marriage. So what has changed in the social structure for more marriages to fall apart? Earlier men and women stayed close to their families and social circles and were bound by social pressures to conform to certain patterns of behaviour. More recently, however, with the globalization of our economy, with more job opportunities opening up in the cities, more and more people have moved away from the family and started living on their own. They have effectively managed to break free from the stranglehold of social pressures. Alternative patterns of living such aslive-in relationshipshave cropped up where people may choose not to get married in the first place. Living in a big city away from home offers the luxury of anonymity, making this possible. Where arranged marriages used to be the norm in the past, young people probably felt obliged to continue in marriageshappy or unhappyto keep up social appearances and for the sake of family honour. Now, when more and more young people find their own partners and stay away from home, such pressures obviously decrease. This might explain, in general, the higher divorce rate and why it is more an urban pattern than a rural one where the old social structure seems to remain intact.

India is a country of many contradictions. Although we see so many social changes, scratch the surface and we find that not much has changed in our family hierarchy. If anything, our so-called “culture and traditions” are being grossly misuse to serve personal interests and to make a woman more subservient than she ever was. Today she has to excel at academics, extra-curricular activities, out-do her male counterparts to make a place for herself in her place of work – YET when it comes to marriage and home, nothing has changed for her. She still has to take care of the home as efficiently as she would if she was not working, make sure her kids do not suffer in any way (nutritionally, academically, emotionally .....) just because of her job ..... in short she has to be a Superwoman. As if all these demands placed on her are not enough, her position in the family hierarchy has not improved any. She still has to place her in-laws above her own parents. The number of women who complain of mental and emotional harassment at the hands of parents-in-law are not a few. It matters not then that she is a 60 year old woman herself retire from the highest echelons of Indian officialdom, she is still expected to toe the line. It matters not that not only is she independent but also supports the family in many ways, she is still seen as a “responsibility”. One might wonder why she does not walk out of the marriage or tell them where they get off. This is the sad reality of the Indian daughter-in-law. She might choose to stay on for the sake of her parents. She might do so for the sake for her children. She might just choose to do so because it is still not easy for an Indian woman to live alone as a divorcee. If this was the story for a woman who is 60 years old, the same still holds true for a woman in her 30s. She is just not mentally tuned to the idea of a “divorce”. So one can well imagine what a woman must be pushed to if she chooses to separate. Well, there might be exceptions, but here I have talked of the more common category of woman. It is a sad commentary, indeed, to think that to this day, many women, despite being financially independent, do not walk out of unhappy or abusive marriages.

If indeed there were women who said “enough is enough” and walked out when they should have, we would probably have read lesser reports of dowry deaths, forced abortions of female foeticides and the like. We would not hear of people who divorced their wives for not having kids or for having only daughters.

Having said this, there is no denying that the younger generation is (again a generalization here) tending to be more self-centred and growing more intoleran
t than the older ones (may be they have the option and luxury of doing so which we did not) and that this may result in a small proportion of divorces. Though I really doubt, we in India get to see many cases of divorces on flippant grounds like “I don't like the way my spouse snores or “my husband has lost his hair since the day I married him”.

So to conclude that empowerment of women is the sole or the major cause for the growing number of divorces is to shut one's eye to the picture as a whole. Even if it were true, it would only imply that the durability of Indian marriages in the past was not a result of any special virtue of our culture, but due to a lack of any viable options for women living in unhappy marriages. That would amount to nothing better than the most abject form of slavery. At the most one might say that women whose lives in a marriage have become so unendurable end up walking out because they have the financial option of doing so, the actual cause for the divorce being that their lives have become unendurable. Were women to walk out of marriages just because they were”empowered” or “financial independent”, would it not be more rational to believe that those women would have preferred to stay single in the first place or to opt for a live-in relationship?

This blog has been submitted for the 4th Annual International Women's Day Contest hosted by

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Women Down the Ages in Media and Movies. Time for a "Decisive" Change?

The “abala nari” proclaming to the hero “lekin main majboor hoon”. The Hindi film heroines of the 50's and 60's. The helpless woman who goes through life shedding tears at the drop of a hat. The virtuous, wronged, helpless woman who has no business being happy. The subservient, obedient wife. The unhappy widow whose only glory in life is the “honhar” beta she has produced. Her life revolves around serving him.

The heroine of the 70's with her birds nest hair style in bell bottoms and tight tops or a saree running around trees being romanced by the hero and at the receiving end of the unwelcome attentions of the villain. Only the outer packaging has changed. Old wine in a new bottle. She is there to complement the macho hero. Should she dare to be a rebel, she will be firmly brought back to line and she will turn into the saree clad, demure, simpering woman who knows her place and has been shown who is the boss. Or an one off like Seeta aur Geeta – one the quiet, obedient woman, the other the wild, self-willed one. A decent, family woman is not supposed to be flippant, light hearted.  She is not supposed to laugh openly and enjoy life.  She has to be responsible.  She is either the typical "ghar ki bahu" or the dignified widowed mother or a stern dowager.

Come the 1980's with their art films and a new crop of actresses like Shabana Azmi, Deepti Naval and the like. One sees sporadic efforts at portraying a thinking woman. Other run of the mill “commercial films” where the heroine shows a bit of spunk as a young, college going girl is metamorphosed into the demure saree clad wife after marriage. “Khubsoorat” starring Rekha and Ashok Kumar typifies this kind of heroine.

The 90's and the 21st century see a return to the retrograde portrayal of women – scantily dressed is supposed to be “modern”, but not much else changes. “Item” numbers litter films. Women referred to as “items”. Women are hot, sexy, richly endowed in the physical sense, but hardly have much up in their crania. Very few films are made where a woman is shown in a powerful position or in a role which portray her as an intelligent, thinking person, as a woman of substance. The number of films addressing the real issues faced by women in real life are few and far between. When I say this, I am talking mainly about the Bollywood movies. I am not referring to the Satyajit Ray brand of films which are a class apart.

Take a look at the popular ads on TV. Women are generally shown as housewives, whose job in life is to look as if they have just stepped out of the beauty salon, no matter what time of day. They could have just finished washing a pile of clothes, but they look daisy fresh, with a smile on their lips. They do the cooking, washing, attend to the children, take care of their nutritive needs, tend their little illnesses with love and care, look after the in-laws and husband with a lot of love and care. This has been the prototype so far.

Things have changed to a certain extent. Women have now gone “modern” even in ads.

A lady is teaching a class full of adults English. Suddenly a man walks in and the dignified teacher is transformed into an idiotic woman in a split second – a woman who goes Bum-chika-bum. The ad claims that this is what Axe does to women. This is the most depraved, degenerate, retrograde ad I have ever seen.

Another ad shows a girl praying to God to give her “Zero marks” and goes on to explain that the marks are the ones on her face. One ad shows a woman losing loads of weight in 2 weeks after eating a popular brand of cereal and being the centre of attraction at a wedding. Most show them as sleek, elegant creatures with not a spare pound of flesh anywhere increasing the pressure to look like Barbie dolls. A woman must look beautiful, gorgeous, she should be a visual treat.

A daughter-in-law spars verbally with her mother-in-law about which chakki she gets her atta from.

Or she dances a jig in front of the washing machine while the clothes get washed. She is delighted when Hussain, a popular TV artist arrives at her home and shows her how to get her toilet to sparkle with Harpic. Yet another is amazed when Sakshi Tanwar shows her how to get her vessels to glisten in no time with mininum effort using Vim.

There is one ad where a daughter wants to grow her hair long like her mom had when she was young. Mom replies that grandma was a housewife and had the time to look after mom's hair but mom has to go to work and cannot do that for the daughter, as she is hard pressed for time. So she prefers daughter has short hair for convenience. She is made to feel extremely guilty by the daughter who asks her to stay at home like grandma. As it is working women have a hard time balancing work and home and playing superwoman. Such ads only add to their guilt and problems.

NOTE: No matter how modern, she does not step out of the kitchen or the home. That is her domain. The Lakshman Rekha is drawn.

Women on TV soaps are a class apart. They would give all the Christmas trees of the world put togethaer a major complex. They are always rich, have loads of money and time at their disposal, are decked up from top to toe with heavy jewellery and brocaded sarees and travel only in fancy cars. They wear heavy make up at all times of day and night – yes, even when they sleep. Their elaborate hair dos remain undisturbed even when they wake up in the morning. Their only occupation seems to be plotting against each other – especially if they are the negative characters – or taking care of the interests of all the members of the family. The bahu of the house has a God given right to monitor the lives of her younger brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law. She either helps in the family business or stays at home and keeps fending off efforts by the vamps and villains to discredit her. She is either the Goddess incarnate, worshipped by the family, always at their service, never too tired to do anything, OR she is a discredited, branded a “kulta” (slut) thrown out of the house and declared to be the persona non grata by the entire family for the slightest “mistake”...... till such time as she proves she is purer than Sita Maiyya and then taken back amidst scenes of tears and self-recriminations (for ever having doubted such a Devi).

Hold on dear friends. All is, however, not lost. Amidst this gloom there is still a ray of hope. One is seeing more soaps these days which try to portray women as personalities in their own right, individuals who are achievers. There have been serials in the past which made an effort to portray women struggling to stand on their own feet – an old serial featuring Priya Tendulkar “Swayamsiddha” about a single, working woman ('80s) comes to mind. Serials such as “Balika Vadhu”, “Bahut Acche Lagte Hain” and “Kucch Toh Log Kahenge” are being made today. Efforts are made at decrying child marriage and showing the protagonist as a woman who rises above her situation to achieve something not only for herself but also to educate those around her. Bahut Acche Lagte Hain shows a woman of substance and the struggles she faces in life while Kucch Toh Log Kahenge shows a young doctor with a mind of her own.

Yes, these efforts are just a drop in the ocean, but one can only hope that more such efforts for a positive and more realistic portrayal of women is made. We need to see women as individuals in their own right – women in powerful, decision making positions, women with a mind of their own. Mass media such as television, with the kind of reach and influence they have, have a massive responsibility to drive home the need for social change.

This blog has been submitted for the 4th Annual International Women's Day Contest hosted by

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

A Letter From A Mother To Her Daughter

My dearest Pallavi,

What a wonderful bit of news you have given us. Finally we are going to be proud grandparents. This was the day I have always been looking forward to, though to tell you the truth, I still find it funny to think of myself as a grand-ma.

I have barely gotten used to the idea of being mom to a grown up daughter. It seems just like yesterday that I brought home a little pink bundle of joy that brought so much life and happiness into our home and hearts. How time flies! Before I knew it, you were ready to leave home to go to university. On one hand my instincts wanted to hold you back and keep you safe and sound at home within eye-sight; but mercifully better sense prevailed. I did not want to clip your wings. I wanted you to go out into the world, establish your own identity and become a confident, young woman of the world. Believe me, it was not easy. But today I am more than glad that I let you go. Today we are proud to be known as your parents rather than the other way round.

Soon you will be opening a new chapter of your life. You will soon be a mother yourself. Goodness, the idea feels so strange. My little girl ....... You know I feel like the “Father of the bride” when she announces she is going to get married.

You are going to face a whole lot of challenges as one. But facing challenges is nothing new to you. In fact you positively thrive on them. “The moment a child is born, a mother is born” it is said. This being your first child, there will be lot of things for you to learn. Motherhood brings with it a lot of joy, but then it also brings a lot of responsibilities, heartbreaks and sleepless nights. To start with, the arrival of a baby is going to change your life and turn it upside down. You will not quite know what hit you.

Bringing up a child in today's world is no mean task. First of all you are going to have to decide what you want to do with your career. My “Superwoman” high flying executive in a multi-national company, you are used to jet-setting round the world. You are used to your independence and to your financial independence. Have you given a thought to whether you will continue to work after the baby is born and if so, how soon you will return to work? This decision is going to tear you apart. Giving up your job to be with the little one would be rewarding in a way. A baby is not going to remain one for ever. If you lose out on these precious moments of her growing up, you will have lost out on them for ever. I am always willing to drop everything on a dime and come to help you look after the baby. But would you like to lose out on these precious years? This is something you need to decide for yourself. The decision will be entirely yours (and of course your husband's – it has to be a joint decision). Rest assured, dad and I will support you whichever way you decide. (By the way, let me mention, you might be boss at work, but you will soon have a little boss at home. You will be at her beck and call and she will twist you round her little finger, but you will enjoy every bit of it).

If you have any plans of going back to work, you better start planning for baby care at home. My services are always available, but let me warn you I am not as energetic as I used to be. I would need help in the form of a maid to do the running around. I shall be very glad to keep an eye on her and keep the little one occupied. If you have any other ideas, you are welcome to do accordingly.

This will only be the start. Needless to say, other challenges in the form of school admissions, college admissions etc. will always be there, but these will be trifles when compared to some other major issues that will pop up. I shall not even go into the sleepless nights, the heart aches, the illnesses etc. Those are things that every mother has faced over the generations. You will find plenty of guidance for those issues through books, friends, mom, mom-in-law ........ But as a mother in the 21st century, you will be faced with an entirely new set of challenges that we of the past generations did not face.

First and foremost you are going to face a dilemma about what values you are going to give your child. On one hand you have grown up with the highest moral values and you are pretty scrupulous in living by them. On the other hand we live in a highly corrupt world and children are going to be exposed to various forms of corruption outside the house. Bring them up to be scrupulously honest and straight forward, they might end up being losers in the real world. On the other hand you cannot bring yourself to teach them to be crooked either. So what do you tell them? Or do you tell them what you believe and then let them go figure the rest out themselves????? Not an easy decision. I admit, I am glad I don't have to face this one myself.

My pumpkin (that is what an “all-rounder” is, isn't it?), I don't know how you feel about this, but I never pushed you to be a high achiever. I always focussed on your growing up to be a well-rounded personality, a happy child. It is a different matter that you had an academic bent of mind and did exceedingly well in your studies. Reality is going to be quite different for your child. She is going to grow up in a highly competitive, cut-throat world. Like it or not, you will have to push to compete to some extent. To what extent would be something that you will have to decide. Bringing her up to be a balanced personality in the midst of such competitiveness will not be an easy task my girl, but it is something you will have to do. I am sure you would not want to bring up a book worm who has no other social skills.

As if all this were not enough, you will of course have to contend with a whole lot of issues like making sure your child is safe and in good company. The advent of the internet era has not done anything to make things easy in that respect. While it has literally laid open up a world of information at the tip of one's fingers, it has also literally brought predators into our homes through open “windows”. Controlling your children's TV viewing habits and monitoring what they access on internet is going to be a constant policing job which you will have to do very subtly, so as not to make it too obvious.  You will have to learn the art of being a friend to your teenage children, a confidante to whom they can turn whenever they feel the need for help and friendly advice.  But never let them forget that you are their parent first and then their friend.  They must learn to respect your authority, otherwise you will be in for big time trouble.

Bringing up a girl child would bring with it a whole lot of anxieties. Ask me, I should know. You would die a million deaths every time she is late coming home. How many times have I sat watching the clock, chewing my nails, waiting for you to return home? I would not be surprised if God had started using ear-plugs to shut me out every time I so much as said “G..”!!!!! However, difficult it is, I am sure you will not not ever try to curtail her freedom. She has as much of a right to live her life to the fullest as any man. Living life in fear is not living. It is sheer existence which is just not worth the while. Lay out rules. Keep them simple and balanced. Allow her a plenty of freedom. But teach her to understand that freedom comes with responsibility. Bring her up to stand up for herself, to fight her own battles for justice and fairness and to uphold her own dignity. No easy task, but I am sure you will admit we did not do too badly with you. I am sure you will do a wonderful job with your daughter.

Should it be a boy, you will need to ensure that you bring him up to be a decent human being who learns to respect women and treat them well. Make sure you bring him up with the same degree of discipline as you would your daughter. He will need to learn that he does not have any special privileges just by virtue of his gender.

I think that is quite enough for now dear. I have no intention of scaring you. I only want to make sure that you are fully prepared – mentally and emotionally – to be a modern day mother. I know you are much smarter than me and think 10 steps ahead of me – always – but still, I do hope you will understand my need to prepare you. I promise you, you will be doing this in another 25 years time.

Waiting eagerly for the new member of the family and wishing you all the best. Lots and lots of love to the two and a half of you.

This blog has been submitted for the 4th Annual International Women's Day Contest hosted by

Friday, 1 February 2013

The Homecoming

Disha stared out of the window of the train as it sped towards Kerala. She was visiting her aunt on a break from work for 3 days. It was a respite she was looking forward to. Her work kept her on her feet from morning to evening with just enough time to grab a quick bite at lunch time and a cup of coffee in the evening. It was not that she did not enjoy her job, but there were days when it did get her down. She was wondering whether this was what she really wanted to do all her life.

She sighed deeply as she settled down comfortably in her corner and rested her head against the window. The cool breeze was very refreshing and the lush green paddy fields and coconut trees rushing in the opposite direction were very soothing to the eye. The wheels of the train drumed a rhythmic beat on the iron tracks lulling her mind into a reflective state. She slowly went back to her younger days.

Disha was a fun loving girl. She was one among 5 siblings – 3 girls and 2 boys. Her father, Joseph, worked in the railways in a clerical position and her mother, Regina, was a nurse. They somehow made ends meet and the children were sent to missionary schools where the fees were not unreasonably high. The parents were very strict with the children, especially with the girls. There were very rigid curfew hours for the daughters and woe betide any of them who dared to come home late.

Despite all this Disha and her sisters were very spirited and had their share of fun. They managed to get through their exams with average marks. They did not have any great ambitions in life. They were brought up to expect that they would have to get married to devout Catholic boys when they came of age and this would have to be done with the approval of the parents.

So it was that Disha got married to Steven when she was around 22. She had completed her graduation in commerce, done a short course in type writing and had been working for a couple of years as an accountant in an office not too far from her home in Thalassery. Steven hailed from Eranakulam. He came from a family of two brothers and two sisters. His father was a clerk in the municipal office and his mother a housewife. His brother and sisters were still studying and he himself done a diploma from a polytechnic college. He had been working with a construction company since the last 4 years and was 25 years old.

After marriage, Disha moved to Ernakulam and tried to find a job there. She found a job in a local library. Her usual routine involved getting up early in the morning, making breakfast for the whole family, going to work (everyone had lunch in the canteen at work or in college), come back in the evening, get back into the kitchen and cook dinner for everyone. There would be very little help forthcoming from anyone, though there would be plenty of complaints, snide comments and rude remarks. She tried ignoring these for a while though she used to feel very hurt. Steven did not do much to stand up for her. By and by their relationship too got strained. Things went too far and soon enough it came to the stage of a break-up. Not surprisingly, there was no support from her own family, nor was she welcome back home.

Disha with her broken heart approached a friend who was her friend, philosopher and guide. The friend took her in for a week and during this time they kept looking for other job opportunities for Disha outside Ernakulam. This is how they came across an advertisement calling for young boys and girls in their 20s willing to work as “care-givers” for elderly people in a home in Bangalore. The home was called “Angels of Hope” and was started by a Dr. Rukmini Krishnan and her husband. This was a home which took in patients with dementia and Alzheimers' and took care of them. The home also had a lot of other programmes for the welfare of the elderly.

The incumbents would be offered a decent salary, accommodation and meals. In return they would have to take care of the elderly just like they would take care of their own grand parents or elderly parents. It would not be easy. Old people suffering with dementia, Alzheimers', Parkinsons' and such problems are not always easy to take care of. They have their mood swings. It can be a lot more difficult than taking care of children. Taking care of children, while difficult, can also have its fun moments, but one cannot be guaranteed of such moments when caring for the elderly. If one gets them, they would be a bonus.

Disha decided to take up this job and give it a try. At least she would have a roof over her head and a job to take care of her for a while and if she did not like her job she could look for something else with this in hand.

The first 3 months had gone in training. It had been alright – not too difficult, not too easy. It had been hard work. One had to deal with old people, their quirks, their illnesses, do everything for them including taking them to the toilet, cleaning them, changing diapers, bathing them, combing their hair, feeding them, cajoling them to eat, ensuring that they took their medications etc. That was not all. Some of them were very advanced cases of dementia and would keep talking to themselves, or to imaginary, unseen people, cursing them, shouting at them, rocking incessantly, chewing their clothes all the time, walking up and down, turning violent at times ....... all this was part of a day's work. There were patients who would rinse their mouths with the coffee or food they were given and spit it out. Others would pour all the coffee down on the floor. Oh, at times it could get exasperating. In the evenings they would have to bring down the washed clothes, fold them and separate them and put them into the cupboards of the individual inmates.

In the evenings they would take those people who were capable of sitting out onto the lawn on wheel chairs or walking with the help of walkers or with support. There they would play ball with them, throwing a soft cloth ball to each one of them in turn, making them do some simple exercises etc. This was the time the care-givers would relax and let go and horse around, play around and have some fun. They would go around pepping the old folks, giving them hugs, pulling their cheeks, noses just the way kids would do to their grand parents at home and sway to the music pouring out of a music system.

Even so, there were days when Disha would feel like she was missing a normal life – the life a normal 25 year old would love to lead. Well, she needed some time off from the home to really think this matter over.

The train soon arrived at Trichur station. Disha got off and found her aunt and cousin waiting for her.

“How are you dear? It is so long since we saw you. You have lost so much of weight since I last saw you”.

“No, appachi, I am just the same. You are looking good. And how are you doing Cheta?”

George just patted her on her back and gave her a smile.

Disha spent 3 quiet days in Trichur in her appachi's home. They had done everything to make her comfortable and had studiedly tried to avoid talking to her about her past or her disastrous marriage.

The return journey to Bangalore had been by A/C bus and Disha had slept almost throughout the journey. The way back to the home from the main bus station was an hour long ride by bus. It was 6 pm and there were innumerable traffic jams caused by the rush of office goers returning home.

As soon as she entered the building, Disha bumped into a couple of her co-workers.

“Hey Disha, how are you? How was your holiday”?

“Lucky gal. It's ages since I had a break. We really missed you here”.

Disha just smiled at them and replied “Oh, had a swell time. It was so good to get away from this crazy city life, back to a quiet life even if it was only for 3 days and oh it was such a treat to see the greenery in Kerala. God knows how much I miss it here. Yes Megha, it's really high time you took off for at least a couple of days”.

Saying that she went to the 4 bedder room which was entrusted to her care. As she entered she saw the first one – Shanti Rangarajan, an 84 year old who had been admitted just a couple of months ago. This lady was a case of Alzheimer's and was in bad state when she had first come in. (Most of the people coming in were in much the same state when they got admitted). She had, however, made good progress and was doing a lot better. She was inclined to be quiet and did not talk much. She looked up as Disha entered the room, beamed from ear to ear and reached out to her and kept touching her as if to make sure it was really she. After a while Disha went to check out the next patient. When she had checked all her regular wards, she went upstairs to check out Elsie, an elderly lady who had been paralysed after a hip surgery and who could not speak or walk or do anything any more. There she was on a wheel chair. She caught a glimpse of Disha. She did not react, but pushed aside another care-giver who was standing in the way and kept staring at Disha. Disha went up to her and gave her a hug.

“How are you Elsie”?

Elsie opened her mouth and with great difficulty tried to enunciate “I am alright”. There was a tear at the edge of her eye.

There were tears in Disha's eyes too. She had come home. This was her home. This was her family. This was where she was comfortable. This was not just a job or a profession for her. It was her life, it was her calling and she would never ever consider quitting it for anything else. These elderly people loved her and needed her and she loved them just as much. No other job could give her the satisfaction that this job did. These were the moments that made all the hard work worth the while. These were the moments that were more rewarding than all the money that she could ever earn for her work.