We failed our daughters when we told them their legs could be someone’s intent to crime. We failed our wives when we let them do all the chores because, ‘because’. We failed every single woman we told to not be “loud” or “open” for it could be an invitation to someone who would later be just another case with an “experienced” judge figuring out if the accused was too drunk or driven because provoked.
I have come to a point in life where when someone talks about ‘equality’ – I can’t help a tiny smirk decorating my face for reasons so many, every pen in this world must ink. When I hear someone go on and on about equality, I wonder if they read today’s headlines and turned the page so indifferently because, “rapes toh hotey rehte hain” ( Rapes happen). I wonder if they have even once, told their friends to not drink “so much” for reasons may have to be rationalized for consequences. I even wonder if they ever advised their female friends to go on a solo trip(?)
Point is: When we say ‘equality’, do we really mean it or is it just another trick to the heart for fitting into a world of modernity?
I have seen women turning down feminism with such rolled-up eyes and “bummer” faces; it breaks my heart.
If you were to look at the journey of anyone in this world, you are more likely to look at the variables than the constants because that is where the climax is hidden. If I apply the same analogy to that of a woman’s journey in India – I am highly likely to find no constants – except for herself, maybe.
When I lived in Delhi during my college days, our young hearts were the victims to anyone conservative on the planet. One afternoon, as my friend and I sat on the footpath to sip some tea, I had no idea a revelation was waiting for us in the jungles of our campus. As my friend lit her cigarette, an old lady came running in from across the road and shouted at her for being a shame. It was so out-of-nowhere, the 17-year old in my friend kept spellbound for a whole minute. When I tried to intervene, the lady like a wall shut me out – as if I was no one to talk to for I hadn’t stopped my “female” friend from smoking.
As I told her that her argument for shouting at my friend smoking solely because she was “woman” was disturbingly flawed as men smoked to;she gave me the coldest stare of all times.
She turned to me and said, “They are men. They can do whatever they want.”
She had left.
The cigarette had burnt out and the tea had covered itself in the blanket of cold but “men”? Men, in all their glory and shining armor, followed us home.
To this day, I speculate, if I scratch myself in public, open a bottle of whiskey, pee in public places, spit paan anywhere I like – for everyone to notice – will I be spared for being a woman and resorting to all said above?
This question followed me when I moved to Bombay and my neighbor asked me why I wear something else at home and something ‘else’ outside – accusing me of being double-faced and only acting sober while I wasn’t. I snapped back at her and asked her why did she not wear the same maxi she was standing in to the wedding she attended the previous night?
It did make me feel powerful for a minute but I was left disturbed for a long time at the failure of a woman understanding a woman (at least).
Did I fail her too by being one of the many others to tell her to buzz off or did she fail me by bothering about my lifestyle when it is solely my right?
Did my sister fail me when she asked me to not ‘bother’ while a drunk man was forcing her helpless wife on the dance floor – who for reasons we all know didn’t know how to shut him at someone’s wedding with a hundred people watching; but no one questioning the man for his disgusting audacity to force his wife because well “He is a man. He can do anything”
Are we equal when we think before acting; because ‘gender’?
Are we equal when we think before speaking; because ‘gender’?
Are we equal when we talk loads on the term but are utter losers because we somewhere did agree that “she was passed out; anything can happen!”
We have failed one entire race, generations to come and well, ourselves for believing in a world where the line between a man and a woman is so boldly drawn, we might compromise with it or try to lighten it – but we dare erase it!
Is conforming to a pattern, no questions asked, ‘confirming’ to a pattern, too?
Is it truly a dream to breakthrough?