All she wanted
Was find a place to strech her bones
A place to lengthen her smiles
And spread her hair
A place unchained
She was born out of ocean breath.
– Tapiwa Mugabe
She is a mother, a wife, a daughter, a sister, a girl friend. She is a homemaker or a working woman but never both, mind you! She is an epitome of perfection, embodiment of sacrifice, an idol of patience and tolerance, and a flawless sculptor crafted by the maker of the Universe to add beauty, and charm to this unreal world and keep things in balance. And if at all, she fails to be any of this, she is mean, nasty, and selfish. If not, she is a prude, or simply deficient. At times, she becomes characterless or even a slut! She is the harbinger of happiness and all the beautiful things in life. And if not, she is simply unlucky. As she grows up, the world asks her to change everything about her right from the way she walks, talks or sits, her hair, her clothes, her smile and even her burps are under the scanner.
A human being is primarily born for two purposes: to seek his destiny and to grow spiritually but she is born to achieve perfection. She is told to maintain a certain decorum while in school and at home. The potful of family pride is placed on her otherwise ‘slender and tender’ shoulders.
She is asked to behave graciously, lose weight, do her hair, and touch up so that she looks ‘presentable’ to the world. She is asked to be an independent, self-reliant woman to keep pace with the changing times yet she cannot dare to evade from the work at home. She should be independent enough to drive herself to office and back home yet she shouldn’t be obstinate to drive her own life all by herself. She should be educated and should know how to sing or dance. Oh come on; this is not asking for too much. Otherwise she should at least be fair, slim and tall. She is not supposed to speak out loud. She is supposed to wear a graceful smile on her face even in the times of adversity. She becomes a mother and subsequently, a role-model for her daughter else she lacks something. She is the giver of a new life and is revered for the same, or maybe, she is just a medium to ensure continuum to the family tree. She is asked to be nice and cute and told to wear pink. If she does not conform to this, she sure ought to be a mindless feminist who loves bragging about the tattoos all over her body or probably a live-in relationship that didn’t work. If she is not perfect and does not try to be one, she is definitely a feminist.
She is thus a mother, daughter, wife, sister, girl-friend and if not she is a feminist. And in this entire schema, her identity is subsumed within her gender. Her happiness is predominantly a function of her ability to adjust in different circumstances and gel with the never-ending deluge of relatives or the in laws or the boyfriend’s friends. Her happiness is thus dependent on everything except her own self.
This is not to argue that she is not empowered. She works, attends parties, drives, and makes friends. She is loved, revered, and given the freedom to make choices. However, she still finds herself ensconced in the cocoon of perfection. She is very happy with her life and proud of herself. She understands herself well. She is well aware of her own strengths. She knows that she can deliver and thus the ever-rising expectations from her. She is prayed to as the Goddess of strength, prosperity, and penance and she knows why.
Yet there is a part of her that just wants to be. There comes many a times an urge to stop this quest for perfection and just be her own-self. To laugh out loud, to yawn without covering one’s mouth, to wear lose fitted clothes and carry on with undone hair, to stop bothering about one’s skin while trekking or jumping into random water-bodies and to just let go of all those invisible strings that are holding her stiff and straight. There is a part of her that wants to explore and take risks without being purposely hurt or demoralized. She wants to make mistakes or choices without being judged or commented upon. She just wants to skip her monthly parlour routine for once without being told or stared upon. She loves looking imperfect at times. Her gleaming eyes and the faint smile on her face speak a lot. Only if you are willing to listen…
About the Author
I Sakshi Abrol has completed her Masters in Development Studies and is currently pursuing higher education in Political Science. She loves reading books on Indian politics and history. She is also a persistent follower of current events of importance and likes penning down her thoughts on issues that she feels for.
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