Who am I? Where do I fit in? What is my role? My journey begins as a daughter, a sister, a niece, a friend, a lover, a wife, a daughter in law, a mother, a grandmother, along with my professional life, these are my multifaceted role, in nutshell, I am a women and to perform all these, I have to be a strong person. I am the fairer sex by virtue of my bodily appearance, but definitely not the weaker sex.Is this the truth? We cannot brush our conditioning of being the weaker sex under the carpet.
All schools of life are so patriarchal in nature and have mostly taught us to be the giver, the sacrificer, our desires are a taboo, and our aggression makes us social outcasts. Why?
Deep down it still hurts, that my parents, the educated class, had four daughters, all thanks to societal pressure, the repeated disappointment must have been so palpable. The desire for a son, as per our grandparents’ mindset was to continue the family name, be breadwinners and perform the last rites. Government schemes like ‘Beti Bachao’, ‘Nari’etc may be floated but we need to change and evolve ourselves and instill the same into our future generation. A girl child is gifted dolls and kitchen sets and boys get cars and toolset. That was the psyche yesterday and even today. However, the fixation for a male child is global. ‘Its boy’, reflect the age-old desire, rather, obsession, for the male child not only in India but in the West too. When will this paradigm shift of mind happen?
Then came the tension of marrying off all the daughters till in a lucrative service, so rather than careers, it’s marriage, homes, children that were instilled in our minds and at a young age we were given away, please note, girls are given away in marriages, are we commodities? Ironically even today the language remains unchanged.Our surname changed, the rebel in me refused to be an unsung homemaker. With support from other women, we started changing the mindset of many. Home engineers, stay at home moms, multi-tasker words started floating in the society in the late eighties.
When some of us took the plunge into the working world, the society started calling us working women, why were men not called working men?
Going down memory lane, I remember my husband made me a partner in our soft drink business that was doing average, one fine day, I was to attend a meeting with the general manager and the global team from Atlanta, Our staff and family were shocked as to how a woman is being sent to this, half way into the meeting, I had the urge to use the rest room, a staff showed me the toilet, went straight in and locked the door, then to my horror, heard, men’s voices inside and them discussing the meeting. I was dismayed, they seemed in no hurry, ultimately gathering courage I called out from inside ‘ guys, please pull up your pants, I am getting late for the meeting’ pin drop silence, with my head held high, I walked out.We became the biggest and the fastest growing coke distributor in Northeast, our growth story was highlighted in the coke headquarters, I was treated at par with the men in that industry, but till date, it rankles me as to why women always have to be uncomfortable while traveling, in work or religious places. Schemes to end open defecation are being rolled out now. Were we lesser human up until now?
The nineties saw few changes, it was not one woman with limited resources, it was a collaboration of women, inspiring and motivating each other.
Our girls grew up thinking of careers, they too faced issues in male-dominated offices, defense forces and various fields.How difficult is it for a man to comprehend that its brain not beauty you are with, advances at work, molestation and harassment, no key position to women became major issues, look at Hollywood, the ‘# me too’ campaign shows that nothing has changed.Why?
Sadly our generation still faces the acid test.You fall prey to the questionable norms or rise above them.
On losing my husband, I being a successful businesswoman was a shattered and lonely one, reached out to my friends and realized they are so soft-hearted and magnanimously took me in their fold I never faced the stereotype tag of widow which helped me be a happy person again. Destiny made me step into remarriage, I faced issues with the old mindset but each step towards my happiness made me stronger. Just reach out to women and see how they join hands to make life beautiful. Shared my story of remarriage and life on GurgaonMoms and witnessed an outpour of love and luck from moms. However, was saddened to perceive the plight of so many single women facing loneliness and societal ostracisation. Few of the moms also reached out to me via personal messages. Why let your happiness be in the hands of others?
My take on Women’s Day –
Why are we given one day to celebrate, let’s not question this. This is just to reinforce our importance and work towards removing this date and mobilizing all towards equality, “all days for all” The theme for International Women’s Day, 8 March, is “Time is Now: Rural and urban activists transforming women’s lives”
Let us celebrate every woman’s life by being the change. Cheers!