Stuck in Reverse

Stuck in Reverse

Article Author: Shivani Jain

Its usually dark in between the lights. The beginnings and the ends happen without any warning. We yearn for answers but find more questions instead. Some of us give up for our sanity while some go crazy until proven guilty. Everything is chaotic on the surface, every destination has a black hole underneath, every truth has its root in a new myth. Nothing seems in control. The key-frames of capitalism and liberalism is set, but the in-betweens of humanism are lost. The entire picture is out of sync. Hence, this is where the story takes form.

Stuck in Reverse
Picture Credit: Shruthi Venkataraman

Call it an intuition or an invitation, but at the beginning of this year on my way back home, I felt a strange sense of darkness howling over me. I could sense the beginning of a roller-coaster journey that lay ahead. It was embarrassing yet so vivid that I couldn’t help but feel the intensity of the trauma that lay ahead. I cried for a reason I was yet to find. Eight months later and after going through countless mental traumas, I now know the strange familiarity of the darkness. Your body knows it way before you do. There is always a warning!

7 continents and 8 months later, I had a moment of awakening wherein every fall started making sense to me. While I chose to ignore the warning signs, situations began saving me from my own bad decisions. Through my falls and failures, through my experiments with people’s lies, I began to see a picture which had been whitewashed cleverly by the successful ones. Each day a new brick fell off and each day I held on a little longer to keep the foundation intact. But every thought I suppressed, made me howl a little louder. The similarity of struggles in different demographies and cultures appalled me. These very differences somehow made us all the more similar in our approaches.

Last week while job hunting and house hunting, I came across an article which talked about how women were never destined to become anything. What I read afterwards about refuting these customs, made complete sense. This passage is from a highly sensitive and old letter which was written keeping in mind the laws of the land back in 1260s, when women were considered the ‘messenger of evil’:

“Women are ordinarily hindered by five obstacles and three obediences, and their sins are profound. The three obediences mean that, when a woman is young, she cannot follow her own mind, but must obey her parents. When she reaches maturity, she cannot do as she desires, but must obey her husband. And when she is old, she cannot do as she desires, but must obey her sons. Thus from the time she is a child until she becomes an old woman, she cannot do as she pleases. She cannot say what she thinks, she cannot see what she wants to see and she cannot hear what she wants to hear.

For this reason, the three highest pleasures in this world are: being born a human being, being born a Man and being able to enjoy a long life.”
The above passage was taken into consideration in order to dismiss this entire theory and giving women the chance to enter a state of enlightenment. But the sage who refuted this concept was dismissed and later persecuted.

We see a similar practice in our everyday lives as well. Behind these women empowerment and gender equality advocacies, there is an underlying set of myths which people take as facts. Till date, in many religions, women are considered impure and unfit to achieve wisdom. In one of the religions, it is stated that you become a woman only when you commit certain kinds of sins. Theoretically, a woman is a form of retribution for the sins committed.

During my naive years, I thought equality is a state of mind which can be easily achieved once people realize its repercussions. But in these brutal young years, I could see the faults running deep in our cultural differences. It has so much more to do with questioning than a mere awakening. Our books asks the right questions but gives us more doubts hidden in the form of answers. People counter questions with fear; when it should be the other way round. For the longest time, I too believed that obedience precedes the truth, filial piety precedes the reasoning.
The moment I began my quest to look for answers, I was named a rebel and a misfit. The longer I walked this path, the clearer the picture of deceit became.

Nowadays, people complain of women being too loud, too dominant, too demanding, too aggressive, too ambitious. However, I couldn’t find one passage where these men complained about women being too complacent, too quiet, too submissive, too motherly, too soft (unless its a dating site).
This is a new territory for all of us. We are experiencing a paradigm shift of wisdom and truth. We are still lost, trying to find our grounding in the face of the society which has rotten roots. I use ‘we’ because one never advocates without empathizing with their past.

Freedom is never free. Anyone who has struggled to be free knows how much it costs.