It is nearing noon on a Wednesday. A walk through one of the gallis of south Delhi's 'urban village' —Shahpur Jat — brings one to an informal store. Inside a warmly-lit room, dainty chairs sit around a table, on which cookies and chips lie in wait.
Soon the space starts filling up with women of all ages and sizes. One has even brought her two-year-old daughter, who, expectedly gets cooed at. As they settle down with their mugs of tea/coffee, a busy chatter breaks the quiet air.
“Where do I get the good bibs from? These are bad quality”, “I really want to get back to being as slim as I was before I had my kid, but it's just so tough!”, a loud baby wail “You know, I was reading something interesting about trimester pregnancy”, “How did you guys fare at the nursery admissions?” and so on.
From 24 to 50 plus, there are recent weds, mothers-to-be, those planning a second baby, mothers of teenagers, grandmothers and even a father or two at times.
It’s an open forum for discussions threaded by the commonality of motherhood. Sometimes an expert is invited to give a talk like their March meet invited an NGO to explain child abuse and the July one had a medical professional talk about breastfeeding.
This is Club Mum, which was founded last year by a bunch of women professionals and they had their first meeting in January this year. There’s a nominal annual fee of Rs 500 to cover refreshments. The meets are usually held once a month, on a weekday or weekend depending on members’ convenience.
Sairee Chahal, a business consultant and a co- founder, says, “As joint families disappear from our society, women, especially working women, don’t have anyone to turn to at an important stage like motherhood. Earlier, a taiee or chachi would tell you what to do.”
Anita Vasudeva, a member and 49-year-old writer who has a 22-year-old son, explains that the dynamics of a society in transition play a key part, “A lot of young people, especially working couples, are aware of their role as parents in a social environment that’s changing so rapidly. There are pressures to be so many things today, there’s so much to read, watch... and it’s good to translate that knowledge into discussions.”
Another member, Prachi Tewari Gandhi, 40, a mother of a 13 and 6-year-old, is a sociologist from DU.
“The idea is that women get more involved with issues beyond the petty politics of daily existence. It’s similar to the Desperate Housewives who help each other,” Gandhi says.