Jan 20, 2017

What Takes us Forward

Sarabjeet D. Natesan

It must have been love but it’s over now, from the time that we met to the time I ran out… these lines adequately sum up a lot of our life experiences; of moving on, of changing tracks, of walking a different path, of doing other things. Except that the love doesn’t end. Walking out of friendships formed in school, in colleges, at the workplace; we move on but don’t give them all up. The moments stay in our minds in some corner, gathering dust. Our dreams, ambitions, aspirations and hopes sometimes willingly given up, sometimes to make a parent happy, other times to make a relationship work or still because the tiny hands that clutched our hands reached all the way to our hearts and many more times, because the hand that gently rocked our cradle now needs a helping hand to pry open the locks of memories, to press the nozzle to run the dry eye and to give succour to someone who sat up endless hours to see us through our tough times.

But that too does not last, in a matter of moments, years pass, generations change and life goes on. And after having merged some of our identities with those of the work that we do; we the women often lose our assurance and self-belief. We ask for help and are often very apologetically happy to proclaim that ‘I don’t really understand all this’. Forget how to set up a smart phone, how to set up a ‘wi-fi’ connection, how to make and deliver a presentation. Eventually even forget that the meaning of the word ‘manager’ starts and ends with them running a house, negotiating a school PTA, and talking to a doctor about an ailing parent’s prescription.

Women are happy being a sub-sect, taking the second place. The moral sense of purpose of being a woman is glorified; our tolerance, our reticence, our fortitude, our ability to bear pain, our ability to sacrifice, our ability to say no, our inability to say no, all are given super human God-like capability. We are mothers, sisters, daughters; we are submissive, we are quiet, we are honourable, we are moral, we are saints.

Women never complain; ask no questions, deserve no answer. Morality besieges us, a sense of timidity surrounds us and keeps telling us, repeating in our head, whispering in our hearts, from one generation to another, constantly, every day, day upon day, that good girls don’t talk back, good girls are not aggressive, good girls are obedient, good girls are just plain good. So be a good girl. Be good, be silent, be sacrificing, and be submissive. The rest of the good things will follow. Only then your purpose will be revealed and you will be complete.

Civilization and its tenets talk of equality, of rights, of opinions, of parity, of principles of fairness. Yet for a women it provides no reciprocity in laws; in legislation, in implementation. A complete vacuum! Nothing enters the black hole of indifference, nothing comes out. Surrounded by this meaninglessness, the bell jar becomes the glass house. A glass house without curtains… The inhabitants exposed to the outsiders, vulnerable, exploited and defenseless. And the society loses its women. Standing in a crowd; alone, lonely and scared, waiting for someone to recognise them as equals, as worthy, as contributors and above all, as human beings.

In this darkness, one needs shoots of hope, of empowerment and of resilience. Of equality; of others standing up for us. Of a long human chain that supports us, prevents us from falling and if we do, forms a cushion that protects us from pain. It can be other women, it can be a friend, it can be a spouse, it can be a parent, it can be an institution, it can be just about anybody who does not judge, who does not assign blame and who just stands by our side. Silently, simply and respectfully.

What takes us forwards should make us stronger, not slide us down. And that takes both courage and heart.

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