I was meeting a friend after what can be called ages. As we rallied all that happened in our life and work while being away and laughed at long forgotten ‘inside joke’ on a warm Sunday evening, he pulled out his phone. He wanted to show me some allegedly hilarious clip – but before we could go there he kept his phone down and exclaimed, “I am sorry!”
My eyes definitely did not hide the confusion. I forgot to wish you, he continued.
It is women’s day na today, he said (I am not sure whether he meant it as a question or an information).
Of course I knew – I had just completed a special project for the day.
Aren’t we supposed to wish women “Happy Women’s Day”; he was still trying to understand my confusion.
Of course you can but it is not binding, I shrugged my shoulders. But I was already on my train of thought.
Sometime in history women took to the streets demanding equal rights, in 1970s United Nations accepted March 8 as the International Women’s Day to draw attention to the discrimination that women suffered.
We have changed a lot, but haven’t we developed into a more confused society?
I fought with my parents to pursue a career which is dominated by men and requires working late in the evenings. May I call myself a modern girl who is opinionated and knows where she is headed in life? Most of my relatives are proud of me too. But they don’t like me watching movies with ‘guys’ because it ‘does not look good’. Why is the aunty in denims and shirt at the adjoining table seeing me with resentment, when I am with a guy friend in a café on a weekend and laughing my heart out?
A lot of girls who stay away from families and hang out with a group of friends - which include boys too - face questions that can be taken as a straight insult. I don’t mind you wishing me on March 8 but don’t follow it up with ‘beta kal raat kyu late aaye the?’ like my neighbour.
Amongst all this there is group of my friends who call themselves ‘feminists’ (I know it’s an overused term but that is what they call themselves). They want to ‘redefine rules’ and fight the ‘chauvinist males’.
But believe me feminism is about finding your femininity, being comfortable with it and making it your strength and not bashing males. It is not only landing a job with equal pay but also not rejecting a project because it is outstation.
Be capable enough to pay for your food but if somebody surprises you with a box of chocolates enjoy that, because admit it you love them for making the effort. Admit that you like cheesy films but when someone suggests Escape Plan be open to give it a shot. Admit that you cry during goodbyes, it proves that you feel; that you’re human. If somebody offers you a lift thank him for his concern and accept, next time when he needs it offer him a lift and you would get your point through. Spend time on your nails and hair but don’t ask for a separate line at a bill or ticket counter. Admit that you don’t know everything about the world because it is fine. And, if you cannot contribute anything relevant to the conversation then don’t blame others for leaving you out of discussions. Take pride in being able to handle a kitchen because it is that one thing that differentiates you from more than half of the population.
Don’t fight for recognition, strive to become someone who is not judged by gender but work.
And if you girls think that celebrating a day would help, you are already settling for less.