New Year, New Beginnings

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Each year, in the first week of January, we are joyful and hopeful. We hope that the New Year brings us bucket-loads of happiness; we hope that everything that had disappointed us in the previous year will straighten up and present itself in a better way. We hope for many such little things that might make our lives better.  It has been two years since the horrifying news of Delhi gang rape splashed across newspapers, and the protest it had generated has mellowed out.

Recently, I read a post that said- “This incident happened two weeks ago. I had an exam and my exam centre was at Nangloi, near Kashmiri gate Metro station, Delhi. As I reached the metro station, I took the escalator. On the escalator, I had a guy standing in front of me, who had a girl in front of him. The girl was wearing high-heeled footwear and was carrying a big trolley bag. The girl lost her balance for a moment and was about to fall down. This guy in front of me noticed this and out of reflex and courtesy opened his hand facing out to support her. His hand happened to touch her back. Her balance was restored. As we reached up the platform, to my surprise she slapped the guy and yelled at him “How dare you touch me?!”

You probably think that the girl is ungrateful, and arrogant to first accept the help from a stranger and then turn all the fury on him as if he had molested her rather than helped her. In india, even though women trot in high heels and short skirts, they cower in fear. To them, every man walking on the road is a rapist. Women are suspicious of any benevolent act. If a guy offers you a ride- he could be a rapist, if an auto-wallah is willing to drop you to your destination at night- he could be a rapist, if some men are standing beside you at a bus stop- they could be rapists, if a male friend asks you to come alone- no matter how much you trust him, he could be a rapist. A woman feels unsafe even in the protection of her own family, because who knows if her own father or uncle could force her into doing things she never wanted to do.

In a time when people ask to be treated equally, women in India silently pray with hands clasped and quivering lips to keep them safe from any attention that might lead to her “shame”. This year, I hope that we take a few steps towards making women feel like they have their own space to breathe in, and that they do not need to feel defenceless against those who disrespect them and do not care about their wishes.


Woman Exploited

Perhaps I am too young to write about a topic as vast and as complicated as marriage, perhaps I do not really understand the concepts of a marriage, but I suppose everyone is entitled to express their views. According to me, marriage is the formation of a bond between two individuals, who promise to cherish and respect each other; who promise to try to understand each other and responsibly share responsibilities. Lately around me, married people have been leaving each other, abandoning the other partner, without even trying to make the relationship work. I believe that people decide to marry each other because they are blindly in love and believe that they are mature enough to handle it all.

But I have seen SO MANY men abandoning their wives for someone younger, better looking or just claiming to be unable to handle the whole thing that is happening around them!In the Indian society, but I have reasons to believe that it is everybody irrespective of the nationality, it is usually the female who takes a backseat in the relationship.

She quits her job (the one that she had worked so hard for, the one she had worked so hard at); ruins her body to give birth to little monsters who drain her completely (the body she had worked so hard at maintaining, which made her feel beautiful). It is maybe what has been going on for so long our grandmothers did the same, our mothers did too, and we are expected to be the same, or maybe its just something that is plugged in our minds which instructs us to go through all of it, or maybe its just nature. But when a woman leaves it all for a man, she thinks it will last forever, that she will not have to feel insecure anymore, she will be happy in reveling in what her husband showers her with. so what gives the husband a right to leave exactly that amazing woman who has done so much for her, in a second, when he finds a more attractive mate, or he thinks the relationship is not really worth working for?

The worst part of it all is that when abandoned, the woman has to struggle even more than she had done, before she left it all to have a regular income, because, although the man IS aware of the difficulty she might have to go through, he does not really bother to take responsibility of it he does not even bother to help her through with a monthly cheque! When I asked my father about it, he gave me some examples of these truly great men philosophers, travellers who had given up on their families, abandoned them. i was horrified! It was a time when there were NO job opportunities for women, when they were looked down upon because of no fault of their own. And my father justified their behavior just because they later came back to their families, apologized to them, saying that remorse from inside was the greatest redemption. What is not right here is how it all becomes alright just because an apology has been made, while the woman who bore this man’s kids had to live a life of misery, all famished, struggled to get herself and the family by.

But partly, it is the woman’s fault too. To get justice, she has to demand it; realize that it is her own illusion of being submissive and weak that prevents her from living a better life. Men create insecurities in women, they try to crush them to pieces so that they can do nothing but bear the every suffering the man leashes upon them. We need to get up and fight for ourselves. Why not start small and start by being an equal rather than being meek and timid, and demanding our basic entitlements.