On Being A Woman – Year End Post


It has been over a month now since I wrote anything here. I am not really in right frame of mind. Anger and pain has made me numb. Excuse me for this rambling and just ignore the errors for now.

kuch alfaz ab bhi seene me hain uljhe

kuch girahen abhi bhi khulni hain baki

hain sawal kuch jinke dhoondhne hain jawab

hain jawab jinhe ab bhi hai sawalon ki latash

Sometimes I feel my life is like an exquisitely embroidered shawl. Richly embroidered in vibrant hues which people see and appreciate but it is I who feels the inconvenient knots and tangled threads of its inside.  When anyone says “I understand how you feel” I say “No you don’t”, you possibly can’t imagine how tough it is to be a woman in this country, to struggle each day, to fight for survival. To live here is an act of bravery and then you see what ultimately happens to the brave hearts who dare to dream of living a life on their terms. What are these terms? you will ask.

 

The terms are – Dignity, honor , equality in all spheres of life, a right to LIVE as a fellow human being.

 

” Ha!, you say, don’t talk about these philosophical  terms that feminists quote. You have all that you need –  security, food, shelter, money, a husband to” look after” you, what else do you want? What is this about dignity and crap? Your dignity is within the four walls of this house. It is in your hand to preserve and protect it. Don’t listen to these so-called “committed/progressive women” these “feminists from women’s Organisations” they will try to lead you astray, they will break your home and fill your head with shitty ideas that will only take wrong decisions.  Dress”modestly” . It is because of these “dented, painted disco going women” that all these cases of rape and molestation happen.Stay within your boundaries, follow traditions and norms set by society for their women, know your duties and follow the moral code. If you do all this then only you can give good values to your children. God has been kind to you and given you two boys. Thank God for not burdening you with a daughter. Don’t talk to the neighbors, make only a few friends (although we don’t see the need of it) and mind you they should not be men. You are a married woman and your commitment is only towards your husband, children and in-laws. Your parents? Their son will look after them, it is his job not yours. Now you are part of this family and nothing else matters. Remember that silence and patience, tolerance and abiding to the wishes of your husband is the utmost priority in your life even above your own self for that self is also now His and not yours anymore.

Do you get what I am saying ?”

 

“Well,  yes I do see it. I followed it like an idiot for a major part of my life and screwed it. Now I intend to trash your “Codes for an Indian Woman” and chart my path make my own rules, take my own decisions, Live My Life.”

 

“What? Then you are not a good wife, daughter, DIL, and mother, you are not even a good woman. See, this is what happens when women are let loose. When they gain access to public spaces and get exposed to things like Internet. This is what corrupted you. Now your head is filled with all those lofty notions of independent living and all the crap about women’s rights. Mark my words, you will suffer, realize your mistake within no time and come back on your knees.”

 

***

“If that is what you think, Shame On You.  I do not wish to be labelled as a “Good woman” by Your Standards. I will sell myself if I have to and live under the open sky if push comes to shove but I will not give in now and will not come back to this prison with invisible bars and barbed web of rules designed to keep me in hold all through my life, that’s a promise.”

2011 saw emergence of a new Me.

Many women are not living their dreams because they are living their fears.

 

Isolation, restriction, guilt, humiliation, denial, continuous controlling and criticism and  lack of empathy, love, companionship, shattering of a dream of ” a life long relationship based on mutual respect” breaks them. Emotional, mental tortured is hard to explain due to lack of  ” solid evidence” . 
Emotional Abuse comes silently most of the times camouflaged as “love, betterment, moral duty, guilt, emotional blackmail, and marital rape. Silence helps it breed and dig its claws deeper.
In our country ‘thinking’ for oneself is not encouraged. It’s always conformity & herd mentality. The  moment a woman begins to voice her thoughts she is condemned, ridiculed & told to shut up. If she rebels , her condition is even worse.
Does that mean we keep suffering ?
NO.
 Trust me it is better to raise your voice and make your life worthy than suffer and reinforce the fact that women can be used as objects and treated like an old newspaper.
Two years have passed since I cut those silken chains and  moved out to rediscover myself as a woman , as a person, as a human being. I had to pay the price. I had to leave my boys behind.
“What kind of mother is she? So insensitive and unconcerned, so selfish.”  I still hear it but in hushed voices.
Emergence of new woman who can defy everything that binds her and yet be happy is a painful, uphill task.
Today when I sit and look back I know I was privileged. I had friends who stood by me like a rock, I had patronage to be economically independent in some way after a gap of 22 years. I had a family to go back to though it was a halfhearted acceptance.
It is easy to say what took you so long? It is easy to say ” Hang in there, everything will be fine”, it is easy to sympathize but it takes immense courage to hold the hand of someone who is defying and rebelling against the system. I was privileged in more than one ways to have people with such strength.
I owe it to them as much as I owe it to myself .
 If anyone thinks it is selfish to think about oneself, to dream, to have desires then so be it.
I am selfish. I can’t deny the love I am supposed to give myself. It would be utterly dishonest to do so and if I am dishonest to myself how will I ever be honest to others?
I believed and hoped my boys understood. They stood by me.
They did not have a choice.
They said nothing.
It is tough to be separated in such manner. The guilt ate into the fiber of my being  day and night. It still does. But I had to make a choice – To live or to exist. I chose the first.
I have a lot to thank for, lot of people to offer my gratitude for helping me be myself but the battle is not won yet. Even after two years I   have one foot in the past and one in present. Sometimes I see myself at the periphery of a void at others I feel absolutely thrilled by what I have achieved in last one year. I have been able to break many mental barriers. It has been a productive year in many ways but still something is amiss. I have not been able to completely shake off the layers that hide the real me stirring and quivering underneath in want of  release. A lot remains entangled and knotted not just due to the rotten system we are part of but also because of my own failing to regain the confidence and courage. I am still a sucker of emotions, still vulnerable to the core, still seeking approval when I shouldn’t.
I took the step in direction of change but it seems like a move from a smaller prison to a larger one. A little more space to breathe and move about but still confined. It makes me question my decision. I lose my footing and begin to slip back. It scares me to venture into a society where every moment women are violated, sometimes so brutally.
Physical rape is just one aspect of VAW, the society we live in and are part of strips the female of their species  of a dignified life from the time she is conceived. Some live through the horror of it till they cough last and some are spared that trauma by getting  murdered in the womb itself.  There is only a small percentage that breathes the free air and lives as desire.
As we step into another year my thoughts are with all the women who are facing a challenge to free themselves of the chains that bind them, who are daring to break the silence despite of the risks involved, who are struggling to make a place for themselves  within the culture of violent subjugation and male dominated power structure around which everything revolves and in which women die many times over every day. Most of the times unheard, unsung. There voices stilled. I am thinking about the lack of a support system for those who have the spark to stand up for their rights and fight against the system.
I am not just thinking of women’s rights and gender violence but also about  gay rights, racism, casteism and coexistence which doesn’t exist in our society. I am thinking of equal opportunities, paid employment for women ( just 14.5 %paid employment as compared to men speaks volumes about the structure of our society. 2 million women lost their jobs in last five years), basic education,  basic hygiene and medical facilities. I am thinking of children and the crimes against them. Earlier too there have been catalyst who have shown harsh light on the stinking rotten interiors of our society. Earlier too there have been movements against every damn issue which is shoved under the carpet, How many more ? ? How many wake up calls, How many lives cut short before the change finally occurs?
Will there ever be one single day when a woman will feel safe in this country and breathe easy? When her security and self-respect will not be ground to dust? Will we ever be rid of our sexist culture? Unfortunately when I ask these questions the city that comes to mind is the city in which I have lived for more than forty years – the national capital Delhi.  Not a single moment of my life I have felt secure here. Fear has been a constant companion since I began to move out in public spaces. Fear of those so-called “protectors”. It started when I joined school and continues till now.
As I write this last post of this year I am wondering what lies ahead for the women of India, for me as an individual.  I know it will take a lot of effort and time to completely overhaul the mindset of people to bring some much-needed positive changes but I can begin with myself and my life. It is a rough path that I have chosen but am not giving up. Ever.
Here are two brilliant articles for you to read and ponder upon as I take your leave.
He says among other things,” Men abuse women in every society, but few males do it with as much impunity, violence and regularity as the Indian male.”
(TRUST ME IT IS TRUE)
And
The problem is us  by zigzactly
I have not been regular with my posts but I know you will understand. In a struggle to find my footing I have to sometimes give priority to other important issues that I am dealing with. Thank you for supporting me in all good and bad times and for encouraging me by reading and commenting. I appreciate it very much.
Do something constructive in the coming year.
Have the moral courage to Defy what in Unjust. Don’t be a performer.
You can view all the Previous Entries about being a woman and other social issues HERE 
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15 thoughts on “On Being A Woman – Year End Post

  1. A powerful interpretation of thoughts….
    the incidents like rapes in this year has damaged the image of Indians all over d world, every Indian has to work hard to make our society a better place. many battles against system, starting from self to government, have to be fought and won. thanks to many people who are awkned and awakening. hope the next year will be good.

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  2. I totally get your feelings Tikuli, i am a begining stage of you … trying to get out yet fearing due to the way society treats once we are out .. but hope is all that i have .. Hats off to your writing .. i salute your braveness and this inspires me to take a step !

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  3. @Aniruddha I hope so too. Most of the time the outrage and protests become a thing od the past but I hope time time it will bring some much needed change. More than laws and systems we need to look within and educate ourselves and those who are in contact with us.

    @Lifecurry Be courageous. I was not able to step out for so many reasons but trust me you have nothing to lose. May this year bring you what you wish for. Thank you appreciating. With you in spirit always . Go live your dreams.

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  4. Ladies, I am American, so I cannot fully understand your culture, however I can understand your desire to be free and live with dignity. Personally, I live a blessed life now, but not so much in my past. As a child, I lived a life of struggle and poverty. I was the seventh of eight natural siblings, and at age five I received eight more step siblings when my beloved mother remarried in order to survive and keep our family together. I’ve always thought it was a marriage of convenience, not love.
    In our culture, girls are loved however their position in life is a big question mark as well. We are recognized as humans because we fight for what we have, just as you are doing. Fortunately we have laws to help us, but it wasn’t always that way. Some very strong women in our country stood up first and some died for their rights to live with dignity and equality. There are still areas where women must struggle, however it’s better than it was.
    I must tell you with due kindness, although I don’t agree about leaving your boys behind, I also do not know or understand the situation. I left my first husband and took my four children with me in 1969 in order to leave behind physical and mental abuse toward us, and it was not easy to support them. Still I did not give up, ever. I gave my struggle to God and allowed Him to work in my life and eventually, i met my second husband who helped me raise my children as his own. It took years to find happiness and I’m convinced we do not have happiness untill we suffer first.
    So my advice is to be brave, stand up for what you believe in and don’t back down. However, do this with dignity, grace, love of self, respect, and honesty, and most of all, trust your God. You nor anyone can do it alone.

    I’ll pray for you.
    Blessings,
    Pat

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  5. I’m so glad for the opportunity to gain a glimpse into your life, dear lady. I am sorry for the oppression you face every day. I want you to know that I am lifting you up in prayer and asking the Lord God Almighty to speak into your heart and give you words of comfort and strength. I know He will bring some special people your way who will give you new hope for tomorrow.

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  6. Thank you for visiting my blog and appreciating my efforts. I hear you dear Lisa. This is a medium to voice our inner most thoughts and tune them with all of you across the globe. Love and Light to you.

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  7. Many women are not living their dreams because they are living their fears…. This is so true. A heartfelt post, Tiku and it touched the heart. I know exactly what you say – I have lived it too. The doubts will remain, so will the longing for a cocoon to go back to. But it will get better, believe me, it does.

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  8. I can relate to and agree on most of what you have written. Yes, it takes immense courage to break the shackles and be free. You have that strength and the will. You will be better.

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  9. Dearest Tiku, I try to understand every word you write. Easy to say buck up and look ahead. But I admire your determination to express. With you in your new steps this new year. Love and hugs, Nabs

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  10. I don’t yet know what it’s like to live in constant fear, but that day may come for me. And when it does, I’m going to need to read words of comfort and encouragement. The best source of comfort and encouragement that I know of is the Lord Jesus Christ, who suffered more than any of us ever will. He feels your pain, and He feels mine. I know He longs to hear every one of us say, “Lord, thank You for bearing my entire life on your body when you hung on that cross. Thank You for knowing me better than I know myself. Thank You for being the answer to my every question and the solution to my every problem. I cast this care upon You along with all the others. I choose to place my life securely in Your loving, mighty hands. I choose to trust You for my safety, my strength, my wisdom, and my peace. Joy comes in the morning.

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  11. So much truth tiku di, life of females is never easy; everywhere she faces the pressure of being “Good woman”. In our society a woman who follows the norms set by the society and other people for her life is a “Good Woman”, and the one who has the courage to follow her heart is considered selfish, this is so true nobody has walked your journey but everyone is so eager and happy in passing the judgement. People cannot solve your problem but can criticize always. I have come across cases where parents have left their daughters to suffer in a marriage where they are facing all hardships and harassments also but still suffering in the name of marriage, because they have so much of outside pressure to continue with it. Self-respect, dignity all are very heavy words they look philosophical to people. Tiku di, having dreams having desires and the courage to fulfill them is no selfishness, and everyone has a right to get healed and do whatever they like to come out of their pain. You are a woman of strength. I know you have immense faith on life. I pray you will see all your dreams turning true. Tiku di, I see you as an amalgam of Love, compassion, Strength, Faith and of course Unique and Special in every sense.

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  12. Tiku,

    I’ll say just a few things in response to this post. I know sometimes we wonder if our words have really conveyed the pain we want conveyed. I don’t know what the depth of your pain is, but if it is anything like the pain I felt reading this, it is already terrible.

    I want to ask someone this: Why is the onus of morality the sole province of a woman? If your concept of morality demands that I wipe myself out of existence in order to hold up an impossible moral code, what makes you think I would offer myself for self- immolation?

    You remember my phrase for this year Tiku..? No I don’t think you’ve read that post.

    I don’t do the unearned anymore.

    I don’t do unearned guilt. I don’t give unearned respect. I refuse to bear undeserved burdens.

    You want me to do things for you? Earn the right to ask me. You earn it by giving me sound value for my emotions… for my support… and for my compliance. Unless you can ‘Earn It’… we have no deal. I recognize no unearned demands for my time.

    Yes, it is tough being a woman in India. They never said life would be easy, did they? They did say it would be worth it.

    I wouldn’t want to be a man in India. If being a woman sucks, being a man would be a shame I wouldn’t want to deal with.

    I am happy to be a woman… in India.

    And so are you, truth be told. Aren’t you?

    Love,
    Dagny

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  13. Pingback: Monday Memories 16 – Five Years Of Blogging With WordPress | Spinning a Yarn Of Life

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