The rules deny any spouse of the head of mission the right to work during the tenure of the posting. "Finally, I decided to work a few hours every week and as a reward the school awarded me a copy of a children's encyclopedia!" Even so, others in the embassy accused Rangachari, a senior consultant with ficci, of breaking the rules.
Now, Rangachari and other women including Smita Jassal, mea spokesman Raminder Jassal's wife, are trying to have the rules changed in a move coordinated by Indira Mansingh, the working wife of Foreign Secretary Lalit Mansingh. Ironically, wives of those holding a rank lower than the head of mission are allowed to enter into certain professions in keeping with their positions overseas, such as teaching. "When in Moscow, in the early '90s, I worked as an art critic of the Moscow Tribune, it was alright as long as I was writing about non-controversial issues such as babushkas," says a senior diplomat's wife who does not wish to be named.