If you like inventory, manage a house.
An Interview with Anju Gupta | Everyday People #80
Hi, this is Season 3 of Everyday People. This week, Mrs. Anju Gupta (AKA Mom).
1. Who are you, what do you do, and what is your current side project?
I am a mother and a wife. I am also nurse, cook, manager, and every other job at home.
My current side project is to make life as simple as I can. I’ve shifted to another city with my husband at the age of 51, which is very difficult, so making life very simple is my priority.
[Editor’s Note: The couple have recently moved to Bangalore from Kolkata after living there for 28 years and 52 years respectively.]
Now that I’m here, I also want to involve myself in animal care. I’m not sure how, but I want to volunteer at an animal shelter. For now, I’m enjoying taking care of my son’s two cats.
2. Why do you want to get involved in animal care? What about animals brings you joy?
Care-taking gives me joy. I love to take care of people, animals, anything. Animals, especially dogs, give us unconditional love, so I like to give love and get love in return.
When I was 9 years old, I had gone with my parents to a sugar factory in Andhra Pradesh. While playing with a stick, I teased a dog nearby. The dog bit me, and I had to get 14 injections in my stomach.
After a few years in Bangalore, my brother brought home his friend’s black Pomeranian, Spotty, for a few days, as the friend was going out of station. I thought I’d be scared after my injections experience, but I really loved him.
Then one day my brother got a white Pomeranian of his own. We named him Timmy. I loved him a lot.
Once I went to Chennai, leaving Timmy with my family. After a month I came back and found him gone, and that was a very sad experience for me. I still remember him.
3. You described yourself as “a mother, a wife, a nurse, a cook, a house manager.” In your experience, what are some things about home management that people underestimate or don’t understand?
I come from a male-forward society, where men would go out to earn, and women look after the home and kids. In our times, men thought there is no pressure in looking after household duties. They think the maximum stress in deciding what to cook.
So I explain it this way: if you are in retail, you remember each and every item you sell, each item’s purchase and selling prices etc. In the same way, I have at least 50 items in my kitchen cabinet — herbs, spices etc. I have to keep tabs on them, and remember when I have to refill, and estimate how much might be consumed this month.
This is only the kitchen — one part of the house. I also track and estimate bathroom cabinets, cleaning materials, and food stores. Somewhat similar to inventory, isn’t it?
So, household chores are like running a business smoothly. I have to satisfy my customers — my children, husband, and other family members. 😊
4. Based on your homemaking experience, what would you say are your top 3 pieces of advice to the modern Indian woman/man, who try and balance both a career and a home?
- The easiest thing you can do is to hire someone to look after your home part-time. Managing a home is like running an organization — everything has to fall into place.
A working woman who has to come back and work at home will be too taxed. Me being a housewife, if I have to go out for a few hours, then coming back and start managing things is difficult (though not impossible). Part-time help to look after essentials at home is advisable.
- Keep everything simple by scheduling organization time. Take out time to organize your home at least twice a month.
- Consider living lean. If you have more things, then you have to take care of more*. Buy things only if you need them; “might need” is not advisable.
(*Exact quote: “Jyada rahega to jyada dhyaan rakhna padta hai.”)
5. Finally, where would you send the reader after they’re thoroughly impressed with your interview?
If you’re in Bangalore, I’d like to help you set up your home. I have helped my son move twice already! *laughs*
(She’s not joking. If you want home setup help and house management consulting, ping me on Twitter.)
Hello friendo, you made it. THANK YOU for reading!
This is Season 3 of my interview series. I believe everybody has an interesting story to share, even if they don’t know it themselves. I try and bring that out of them, so that you can see that someone else’s life is as complex and large and beautiful as your own. I believe that is inspiring — do you?
Everyday People is season 2 and up of Talkback Tuesday, a project I started in 2016. The previous interview was an I.T. man-turned-teacher.
Sreevatsav R is a software engineer from Tirupathi, who teaches in his free time. Click below for his top three life lessons.