Why should the identity of a woman be dependent on her marital status? Can’t she be her own person who can decide things for herself?
Why do we women leave our home to be a part of the man’s home? Why does the baby get the father’s surname? Why do we feel an identity crisis? Why do highly defined biases exist about the dressing sense of the two genders? Why are we chained with mangalsutra, bichiya, sindoor and choodis while men go scot-free? Why do only women observe Karwa Chauth for the long lives of their spouses? Finally, am I the only one who addresses these challenging questions on a day-to-day basis?
Since childhood, I never understood the rationale behind the above-listed questions. I have the habit of asking ‘why’ for every norm that is customary or implied, and to get the response “Beta duniya aise hi chalti hai” is bizarre for me. I’m perplexed by the modus operandi of our society, more importantly, to see females in agreement/sync with it.
Again, these are my thoughts, and not related to a specific person. I’m not making a statement degrading the image of men, all I’m trying to say is that I find it highly difficult to stay in ‘a man’s world’.
I don’t expect it to be a woman’s world either, but I seek equality. I did not take my husband’s first name, not because he’s a Muslim (as if that ever bothered me); or that I love Srivastava (I always felt it’s too long a surname); or because there is lot of paperwork involved to change one surname to another (many females don’t change it to avoid that hassle); but simply because I did not expect him to take mine. As mentioned before, it’s just about equality! This been said, I’m head over heels for my man. What hardships I have survived/ still can survive to sustain this relationship is unthinkable for many, but I feel that loving someone does not imply losing one’s self.
A girl might earn as well as her spouse does but is not given credit if she does not exhibit culinary interest. She could be great at her high-acclaimed job but is recognized more for her hot parathas. Don’t shake your head in disagreement, as this is prevalent in our very own society.
Luckily, I got installed in a sasural where I earn equal respect as my husband. I can talk with my in-laws with ease and check them where ever they go wrong, much to my Mom’s dislike. We often get into a heated argument as she begins with a dialogue which squeezes the blood out of me – “Beta ladkiya ko ye shobha nahi deta.” In my maternal and paternal family, we’re the only two sisters without a brother. Honestly, I’m glad. Firstly, since there’s nothing like sisters’ bonding and secondly and primarily because I would have never understood the extra privilege my brother would have accessed from my parents if any.
If a woman prefers to work more than maintaining a home, then she’s titled highly independent, modern, even Jhansi ki Rani; but similarly, if a male loves to do domestic chores, he’s looked down upon. So even if someone tries to make that change, he/she’s precluded by society. I can’t help but wonder who made these rules and if made, why are people still abiding by the old rules of ancient books?
As you may have guessed by now, I love my identity and independence. I earn not only to contribute to the GDP, but to contribute to my inner peace, a thing that is of utmost importance to me! I compete with my husband at every stage of life – studying, working, weight-lifting (Like him, I too can carry bags of 15-20 kgs with ease). I love to see a family where couples work as equals and share mutual trust and respect; where a daughter/bahu is given the same privileges as a son/damaad is. Yes, the society is changing and most of my women friends are lucky to have life-partners who understand them; yet most of us go through this turmoil on a daily basis.
God is kind enough to bless me with a baby girl. In the future, I would like to see her act and think the way I do – to spend her sweat and blood for the man she loves, to take pride in being someone’s daughter and wife, at the same time, to be an independent thinker, an entity of her own!
Published here earlier.
Image source: Saumya Srivastava
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