Delhi University is all set for a big change as it is going to start the four-year degree course that will include in addition to the main subject, as many as 11 compulsory papers, five papers for skill-based courses and one on holistic development of students.
While this new pattern is being hotly debated, I wonder why the vice-chancellor of Delhi University, which has so many women on the faculty and a huge strength of girl students on its rolls, failed to include multitasking as one of its skill-based courses in the new curriculum.
This is the skill most required by the woman of today who is a career person, a mother, a homemaker, a cook, a hostess, all rolled into one! She is the person to whom everyone, including children, parents-in-law, guests, turn to for everything.
If you are a working woman, your days are planned as carefully as a military operation and you switch over so many roles in a day that you wish that along with chemical equations and calculus, biology and literature, you had also been taught the art of balancing work and profession while keeping your sanity intact.
Here is an insight of your typical day. You jump out of bed at five in the morning, between preparing breakfast and packing lunch, you dress yourself and your children up. Before the school van arrives, you have to arrange for material for the craft work that the teacher had asked your junior to bring and he conveniently forgot to tell you. At work, you switch over to business, put in hard work and are happy with your successful career.
Back home at 6pm before you settle down with a cup of tea, you realise that the maid has failed to come and there is a pile of dishes in the kitchen sink. Just then the doorbell rings and you plaster on a smile and welcome your guests. In between supervising homework and tackling dishwashing you cook a meal for seven. The multitasking extends over weekends too. If you can ride a scooter or drive a car: you go to the bank, post office, pay bills, routine shopping, the list is endless.
Further, I feel an honours programme in multitasking could include skills that enable you to ignore without guilt, the unrealistic standards of efficiency set by the media. Fitness columns in the print media tell you about the gym routine of a 'size zero' film star, while beauty articles share the secrets of a newly crowned Miss India expecting you to emulate them and suggest you spare just one afternoon every week for visiting a spa.
The fact remains whether it is a part of college curriculum or not, all of us need to learn the fine art of multitasking for balancing home, family and work and juggling various chores and roles. Panelists on news channels should not to bark up the wrong tree by opposing this big change but to lobby for introducing innovative courses in the curriculum.
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