It was one of those days; I was feeling frisky. I wanted to paint the town red, dazzle up the night and kick up my skirt. I felt pretty, bold, and beautiful. An occasion to rendezvous with my girls allowed me to dress up, and waltz off the door.
Just as I was pirouetting out of the door, my swirl was jerkingly interrupted, and I was asked to change my clothes. You are dampening my dazzle mother!, I exclaimed.
Mother directed- Darling, no need to be so daring in a male-dominated world. Simmer that dazzle and put on a drape. You ain't going to attract attention. Kalesh mat paida karo ab hamare liye!
Dhang ke kapde peheno aur samay pe aajana.
There went my waltz, and want to dazzle the way I wanted to. So I put on a shrug, blanketed
those haye tauba bare legs, and begrudgingly stepped outside the door.
My mother taught me two things. Bura mat pehno, bura mat bola aur bura mat karo. Now it's true that bura here had quite a subjective and moldable understanding. It could mean
inappropriate clothing (shorts, skirts 3 inches above the knees, off-shoulders, or anything that didn't warrant a blanket approval), or it could mean being of legal age and asking for a drink at a gathering populated by the men of the house (who, by the way, had the propriety prerogative to drink till they can't drive, and women were shy even to make that claim).
The other lesson was, kuchh bhi kaho, ladka ladki mein farak toh hai. I always wondered at what age or activity the difference goes beyond anatomy. Oh yes, I remember it was
somewhere around being asked to sit with legs closed while the male members sat in all
One wonders a couple of conundrums when they see women picking up the slack and calling out sexist and misogynistic bigots-
a) Why is it our task and only our task to call off the misandry?
b) Why are women taught to hate each other, only realize it in years to come that
we must dismantle the patriarchy and build each other up?
c) Why are the victims, perpetrators, crucifiers, and crusaders of patriarchy all women?
d) Why are we still talking about this in a world driven by opportunity, caliber, and talent?
Somebody called it the no land for women, and it hurts to gulp down the bitter taste of that truth.
I am scared to raise a daughter who is brought up with hope and fearlessness, only to step out and be discouraged.
And yet I want to raise a daughter who builds me up and pushes me to fight for her, for me and every woman who felt that this land isn't for women.
Picture by Arushi Rawat