Women's Studies 30

As a diplomat's daughter, I have lived in many different countries around the world. Perhaps the most obvious and to me the most painful consequence of this lifestyle is feeling deprived of a constant image of a physical home. For me, home is where my parents live. My mother has always been the force that has held my intensely close-knit family together. I have been brought up to think that above and beyond all else, the most important part of one's life is one's family. For as long as I can remember, my brother and I have been the center of my mother's universe. She has given up jobs, opportunities, anything and everything so that we could always come home from school to a smile and a hug.

Living away from any extended family and lacking an enduring community, we have always been, to some extent, self-sufficient. My mother has always been full of ideas and is very independent. She is good with her hands, whether it be on a sewing machine or with a screwdriver. Although somewhat traditional, my mother can be quite open-minded and has always been the one to introduce new technology into the household.

Encouraged by my mother, my brother later took on the role of'family technologist.' His interest subsequently developed into a career path - he is now a computer scientist and information technologist. I remember when he first proposed that we should buy a personal computer. This was about eight years ago and my father protested adamantly against it. He has always been quite technology-phobic and to this day cannot operate a VCR. We were living in Kathmandu, Nepal at the time and my brother was studying in upstate New York. He shipped us our first IBM along with an audio tape that he recorded containing detailed instructions regarding setup and usage. Although my father refused to use it at the time, he is now addicted to his own computer.

One of the big, recent happenings in our household was the arrival of our new iMac. It was the 42nd iMac off the production line in North America (my brother ordered it within minutes of the retail announcement). When it finally came, we waited until 2 a.m. so that the entire family was together before we took it out of the box and set it up. The excitement in the air was probably ridiculously excessive by normal standards. Opening up the "belly" of the iMac a few days later to add another 64 MB of RAMwas yet another bonding activity for the family.

Technology is a common point for my family. As a shared interest, it helps to draw us closer by overcoming the distance created by vastly differing concerns and preoccupations. As is true of much that brings us together as a family, this tradition was probably started by my mother, albeit inadvertently. She is a strong woman, a woman who has tried to teach me to trust myself, try new things and embrace change. I hope I have learned well.

Madhuri Bhasin

Return to Women's Studies Homepage

Send message to Swarthmore College Women's Studies

last updated 9/8/98