Please dont be ‘that’ woman!

Okay, so this has been bothering for a long long time. Very Often I meet a woman, who is all sugar coated on the outside on how amazing their life is but you can see the flames of frustration right throught her eyes!

This is how it starts – I meet a typical indian married woman of middle class, after a lot of conversation, she ends up cribbing about her routine with home and kids, I see her in an excited and happy version in my head and wonder ‘why is she like this? Why isnt she doing something about it, this unhappiness and lack of enthusiasm / satisfaction?’ The meeting is soon over and I am back to my normal routine, but this woman starts to haunt me. I cant get over this misconception of marriage and kids women like these have come to believe. Its ridiculous, who has taught them this? Who? Who has convinced them that you gotta be a good wife & mother if you do all the sacrifices and chores, even if you do them unhappily? Who has made them believe that this is what life is after marriage n kids?
You know what, its a ‘woman’!!! who has made them believe this stuff, this stuff like – you have to adjust as per your husband & his family, you have sacrifice, you have to never speak up as it spoils your reputaion in the society,(this is the best one) Yes! you have to turn into a maid for your family and kids, thats a perfect wife/mother, you cant be at par with a man in the society, he only has to earn and bring the food on the table, even if you are better educated and can get better food, you still dont have the right to do it, blah, blah, blah! 
And this woman comes in many forms like – grandmothers, mothers, aunts, sisters, friends, peers, etc. Mostly it is elder women in the family who teach this to younger girls of the house with ultimate conviction. Because they suffered the pressures and inability to stand up, they pass on the baton to the next generation. My observation of last 5 years on this topic has been very shocking, these kinda women are way larger in number that you think, they are all around you- in your house, family, building, office, college, etc, they only talk of liberation and never want to practice it. They are pseudo liberated. They pretend to be bold and brave and the kinds who would stand up for the right, but in reality dont even have the guts to tell an uncle or types to not dictate their life decisions. 
The reason is, they are SCARED. They are scared to do anything against the trends of their society. They do NOT want to be a rebel. That is exactly what the women of the previous generation thought and this generation suffered, so on and so forth.

So the only root cause is not how men treat women, it is how women treat women. They pass on the fear and the chains of their so called society and circle have put on them, generation after generation. This has to stop. Unless all the women realise what negative implications their thinking has on others, just a few of us wont be able to make a huge difference. 
Hence its my humble request to all women/girls readings this – please dont be ‘that’ woman! That woman who believes –
– sacrifice gets them recognition aka brownie points in their society
– family is the only anchor even if it keeps you like a maid with no right to have a voice,
– life decisions have to be made by others. always.
– you have to give dowry/gifts for a happy married life
– no matter how educated you are you have to be in the kitchen all your life.
– women cant be a part of the family’s decision making.
And a lot more, now that you know the pattern I am sure you can spot the kinds I am talking about here.
Ladies, if its your shit, you gotta clean it yourself! 
If you dont like the way YOU live or are treated do something about it. Speak up! 
I am not advocating dharnas, or rebellious fighting, thats an extreme. But to speak up you all YOU need is a polite and firm voice.
Start now and change the lives of many girls around you!
No matter what you do, please dont be ‘that’ Woman! 

The freedom of Army daughters


A curiously significant proportion of women who do well in their working in areas as diverse as business, media, sports and the glamour industry come from an army background. There is something about cantonment living that seems to confer a distinct advantage to young girls as they step out into the larger world and try and carve out a place for themselves. 
The reasons are quite obvious. 
There is a high degree of emphasis on education and activities beyond studies that allow children to grow up in a rounded way, but if that were all,  an army background would perhaps be nothing more than a decent finishing school. Of course the more Westernised ethic of the military did make for a more liberal upbringing, but perhaps there is more at work here than just that. 
Perhaps the most powerful aspect of an army lifestyle lies not so much in what it offers as it does in what it doesn’t. Army life detaches the family unit both spatially and culturally from the larger social arena. 
The cantonment is another world—with its own distinct physicality and its own code of behaviour. 
Postings in each station are of small durations; no roots are allowed to be grown. Often, cantonments are located in remote places where one is far from the comforting and often overpowering bosom of ones larger family. At a time when the home town posting was highly coveted and connived for, the army made sure that the uniformity of the cantonment was the only home you knew. 
Army children thus grew up in a cocooned world that bore allegiance not to larger society but to itself. They enjoyed a freedom that few Indians experience—the freedom from the past. Army life is rooted in the now—there are few opportunities to get tied down to a place or indeed to a set of people. 
Transience made sure that one never belonged anywhere; everything became an experience that shaped one without being defining. 
The effect on girls was perhaps disproportionate given the otherwise narrow and fixed space they get allotted in the world outside. Girls grew up free from the invisible network of tongues and eyes that keep them in check otherwise. They grew up not knowing too well what being a girl in India usually meant. 
The freedom to live in the present and to be who you are is perhaps the reason why Army daughters display the easy confidence of those who do not see the world as a place full of invisible constraints but one of frequent opportunity. It is not that they grew up in an alien culture, for their parents, however westernised their lifestyle, came from the same traditional  social fabric but only that the relationship that they enjoyed with society was made up of dotted lines. The outside world was a hazy blur which was real but not consequential. 
Army wives did not have it so easy. These were women brought up conventionally who found themselves thrown in a world with very different rules. They needed to straddle two very different cultural universes without having any preparation to do so. 
At a time when most women got married into families, these were the few who got married out of one. Behind the sometimes awkward short-hair-dyed-jet-black-speaking-in-English every-fifth-word army wife lies someone who has perhaps made a dramatic transition in her way of life and learnt to be an individual one step at a time almost entirely by herself. No wonder the word formidable comes frequently to mind when thinking about army wives. 
The phenomenon of Army daughters shows that freeing the energies of women in India perhaps requires above all an absence of the overweening community that surrounds us. We can see a similar effect, for all children who had the benefit of growing up in self-contained colonies outside their native places. 
Similarly, hostels provide avenues for the young to discover their own independent selves and figure out what they want in life. 
On the other side of the success of army daughters lies the tragedy of millions of others who do not have the advantage of an alternative cocoon. For our social system does not let go of its daughters so easily—it requires a military cantonment to get a license to do so.

Via a dear friend!