Over the years, your support has made Women’s Web the leading resource for women in India. Now, it is our turn to ask, how can we make this even more useful for you? Please take our short 5 minute questionnaire – your feedback is important to us!
It was not just a tattoo. It was an expression of her breaking free from the shackles that she had initially accepted, even welcomed.
She didn’t experiment with her looks. She thought that though she had a decent face and body, it wasn’t worth trying new things. Why? Because she was afraid of criticisms. Even though she presented her tough exterior to the outside world, inside was a vulnerable girl wanting love and appreciation. Especially from people she considered close to her.
So, if the person that mattered most to her said something like, “this won’t suit you,” she’d just hide within a cocoon of self consciousness. “He knows what is best for me.” She thought.
And she had reasons to think like that, too. Being born in a society that always dictated what she wore or how she conducted herself, she was finally grateful for a liberal partner who insisted that she wore things she had never tried before. This sense of gratitude turned into a subservience of a different kind. She started holding his opinion so highly that she never dared cross the line he’d drawn.
Ironically, the line she’d been wanting to cross since her childhood came to her in a form which she voluntarily wanted to respect and not violate.
Slowly, as it happens with power, her partner started expanding his opinions in other matters too. If she’d buy a dress quite excitedly from an online store, he’d make such a face when she wore it that she’d swear not to wear that ‘disgusting’ outfit again. She started contracting within a shell of insecurity and self-consciousness.
“Short hair doesn’t suit your face.” “Nose pins will make you look like a village belle.” “Tattoos look so silly.” “When on earth did you get interested in makeup?”
Those numerous questions slowly started chiseling at that wall of obedience she had created till one day the wall broke. “To hell with your opinions,” she silently shouted, “this is my life.”
And then one day she went ahead and wore full makeup. Next, she wore the dresses he disliked while going out with him and when he said he didn’t like it all she had to offer was, “Fine. Deal with it because I like it.”
And then one day she decided to get her nose pierced. All her friends praised her on her new look, except him. He said, “I don’t think it goes well with Western Outfits.” She answered, “Never mind, I like it.”
And then she got a tattoo of a row of birds flying, on her collarbone. When people asked what it signified, she replied, “The freedom that comes from breaking the shackles of others’ opinions.”
She was truly free in her mind now and the birds on her body reminded her of that every time she had even an iota of doubt.
Image source: shutterstock.
Kasturi’s debut novel, forthcoming in early 2021, had won the novel pitch competition by Half Baked Beans Publishers.
She won the Runner Up Position in the Orange Flower Awards 2021 for Short Fiction.
Her read more...
Women's Web is an open platform that publishes a diversity of views, individual posts do not necessarily represent the platform's views and opinions at all times.
Stay updated with our Weekly Newsletter or Daily Summary - or both!
Many women have lost their lives to this darkness. It's high time we raise awareness, and make maternal mental health screening a part of the routine check ups.
Trigger Warning: This deals with severe postpartum depression, and may be triggering for survivors.
Motherhood is considered a beautiful blessing. Being able to create a new life is indeed beautiful and divine. We have seen in movies, advertisements, stories, everywhere… where motherhood is glorified and a mother is considered an epitome of tolerance and sacrifice.
But no one talks about the downside of it. No one talks about the emotional changes a woman experiences while giving birth and after it.
Calling a vaginal birth a 'normal' or 'natural' birth was probably appropriate years ago when Caesarian births were rare, in an emergency.
When I recently read a post on Facebook written by a woman who had a vaginal birth casually refer to her delivery as a natural one, it rankled.
For too long, we have internalized calling vaginal deliveries ‘normal’ or ‘natural’ deliveries as if any other way of childbirth is abnormal. What about only a vaginal birth is natural? Conversely, what about a Caesarian Section is not normal?
When we check on the health of the mother and baby post delivery, why do we enquire intrusively, what kind of delivery they had? “Was it a ‘normal’ delivery?” we ask.