A Letter to Sehmat



Picture By Arushi Rawat


Dear Sehmat,


I still remember the day my mom took me to the cinema hall on that rainy afternoon to watch 'Raazi'. It was three days after my great-grandfather had passed. My sky was gloomy and monotonous but my spirit was painted in the three colors of our tiranga. Like any other kid, I grew up listening to countless number of tales about the bravery of our freedom; those who established the spirit of patriotism but was somewhat pinched by the idea of the majority being men alone.


When Republic day was celebrated in my school, most of my classmates dressed up as male freedom fighters but I always went as Rani Laxmi Bai, until I got to know about a woman even stronger.


My great-grandfather was an army officer and I was a proud grandchild. From the war cry beating rhythmically with my heartbeat and the national anthem buzzing in my head, I would be satisfied even if I became half as strong as you are, wishing to embody my dada's ideas. He believed the ideology of equality, kyunki mahri chorri chorron se kam hai ke?


The day he came back home after sleepless nights of keeping our Janm Bhoomi safe, I asked him a lot of questions because growing up, my mom always praised me for my rebellious attitude. A vision of hers and a goal of mine was her having faith that I wouldn't agree to something just for the sake of it, and I intend to continue doing so.


Before stepping into the cinema hall, I admit I had my set of preconceived notions about the movie. I had the idea of it being about a suppressed female who agrees to anything and everything she is ordered to do, but little did I know that my belief would completely flip like a miraculous coin with a tick of the clock as waves of patriotism would start to crash in the pit of my gut when 'you' enter.


With the capacity to prove our entire society wrong, you had a calm surrender with just the perfect amount of the 'edge' to get what you wanted; your ambition was always on fleek. In the most literal sense, you were the calm before a storm; a storm that people dared to underestimate but later ended up regretting. You taught me that giving things and people a second chance does not always leave scope for one losing everything but staying with the hope of winning everything.


Constantly shifting gears between being the perfect wife, an extraordinary daughter, and a true lover of your watan, you, without any second thoughts or hesitation, placed your watan over yourself, symbolizing the ultimate spirit of patriotism flowing through your family. From having me hooked on from the day you decided to follow your Abba's footsteps to moving me completely after I step out of the cinema hall 2 hours and 22 minutes later, spellbound, I knew I had found the one who I wanted to dress up as next Republic day.


If only I could ask you what to do when the sail of my ship was stuck amidst the tantrums of this society. I have faith you would say...