“It is the same game. But at every level, women have extra hurdles to cross! ”

It is always safe for women to be accompanied by men, especially when they are out late at night or when they go to unfamiliar places. I personally know many of my friends, guys, who insist on girls dressing up modestly and who make sure that we reach home safe at night. Irony #1 is that, men protect women from men themselves!

Irony#2 Today, when newspapers scream loudly about the glory of international women’s day, at the corner of the very same paper, the whispers about the 3-year-old  child kidnapped, raped and abandoned go unheard. Yes, the convict has been caught. Many convicts are being caught, many aren’t. We are waiting for rapes to happen & then get hold of the convicts. But nothing is being done to prevent this. I will never get fed up saying this, ‘Castration must be the punishment. Let him live with a defect the way the child will have to.’

I am no feminist. Nor do I have anything against the male gender. I am a human being who flinches when pain is inflicted on me. Who fights till the end, when I am coerced into something I am not willing to do. I am an Indian who believes that chastity is a priced possession which, once lost, you can never regain. I am a part of a society where rapes are done by the so-called-protectors and instead of punishing the convict, the victim is harassed, mocked and made to live with the shadows of her past!

There are plenty of single parents these days. They educate their children without the spouse’s support, send them to school, go for work, pick up the kids, take them for piano/music/games lessons, tuition,  get back, cook food, the same routine. If the single parent happens to be the woman, she gets an extra ordeal here. A widow or a divorcee woman, is considered the easiest bait because she has nobody who will stand up for her. She will have to endure, ‘shall I come over to-nights’ , ‘you don’t look like you have two kids’, ‘I feel pity for you’s and a hand on her shoulder, looks that say ‘I am free too’. The only reason she clings on to her dear life after enduring all these insults is for her children. It is the same game. But at every level, women have extra hurdles to cross!

I am a simple Indian girl who has always been proud of the myriad cultures and traditions. I have grown up listening to the tales of Lord Vishnu and his consort Goddess Lakshmi, of the divine love between Krishna and the Gopis, of the equality between the two gender Ardhanareeshwara – Lord Shiva and his consort Goddess Shakti. While Vishnu incarnated to kill Hiranyakashipu (the demon), Durga was the one to slay Mahishasura. They all taught me that the women are as powerful as men. We have the story of Savitri (Savitri and Satyavan) who went up to Yamaloka (the abode of the god of death) to bring her husband back to life, of Sati who immolated herself unable to bear the way her father insulted her husband, of Kannagi, whose wrath burnt whole of Madurai because her husband was punished for no fault of his. The former stories talk of women’s power and the latter talks about her power of love and to what extent she could go for a loved one.

While I grew up believing in these stories that came alive in the holy land of Bharat, I aspired to become a woman strong enough to fight injustice, smart enough to be a guiding light, one who would sacrifice for her loved ones, who would stand up for them, one with immense power controlled by humility, someone to whom all would look up to. But once I faced the reality of Bharat today, the stories just seemed to be figments of somebody’s imagination. Because, today I fear to walk the streets of Bharat. A few kilometers across the crowded streets of the so called ‘God’s own country’, could make a woman relate at least two instances where she had to avert her eyes in shame – it might be a comment, or just a gaze. Women are considered to be objects of desire.

I still believe in the power of Savitri, Kannagi, Durga and those thereafter. The faith is in my blood. But I want every women to believe in this. To have faith in themselves. I want every women toiling in the kitchens and backyards to know that their life isn’t really restricted to those four walls. I want every women who are considered inferior to know that being able to endure all the pains itself means that they are the stronger ones. I want all the single women to know that, they are the power they need. I want the women abandoned by their husbands to know that, they are better off without a man who cannot stick to his decision. And finally, I want every woman who has a loving man in life to know what HE is worth. For, all aren’t blessed with the good fortune. Learn to keep him.🙂

Image courtesy: