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It’s highly important for parents to accept their daughters the way they are. Holding her back would do no good. Let her achieve her dreams by being outspoken.
Being born and brought up as a typical middle-class Bengali woman, I always feel enthusiastic during the months of September and October. It is a prelude to ‘Debipokho‘, which marks the beginning of matriarchal power. I don’t know why, but I also feel very powerful and aggressive during this time of the year. I think it is probably because I have been playing the role of Devi Durga in my mind, since my childhood, every year as I used to watched the Doordarshan programs, specially designed for ‘Mahalaya.’
Usually I hate being in the limelight because it is always accompanied by a bunch of controversies and gossip. Needless to say, I have been a gossip queen, throughout my life. So, I choose to procrastinate and enrich myself throughout the year. But, it is usually during this time of the year, that I feel mentally and emotionally drained. I feel like gathering my weapons and simply killing it. I know that this feeling is an outburst of my bitter experiences in the patriarchal society, which neither my family members nor my boyfriend can understand.
People often say that I make a big deal out of small issues. But, that is merely a partial truth. I am a person who visualises the future and I can see that these petty issues have the potential to give rise to heinous crimes against women.
Over the past few days, my facebook wall has been flooded with dynamic posts, by the educated youth of our country, because the Indian judiciary has taken a bold step by decriminalizing same sex relationships. I felt proud of my country as they acknowledged that ‘queerness’ is not abnormal. But, how progressive is this society where our government is planning to implement the laws? Unfortunately, we still have a long way to go, because the fight is still on.
Being a confident, bold, independent individual aged 28, I often worry about my future. Whenever I think about how I would want to see myself after 10 years, I see a talented, hardworking, passionate working professional, who everybody would know in the Entertainment Industry. I just cannot imagine myself playing the role of Mrs. X, whose hands would then be tied by the society. I might not be allowed to go out in the public and talk openly about my struggles often.
Despite coming from a conservative Bengali family, I have never been quiet. Initially, my family misunderstood me and thought it was absolutely kiddish to publicly talk about my personal experiences (even now, they compare my mental age to my one-year-old nephew). Thankfully, they criticize me and also guide me to continue my fight, and I love them for that. They never tried to hold me back from protesting or speaking up for myself. They helped me practice public speaking as I am an introvert (when it comes to my feelings) and refine my linguistic skills. They taught me how to find my own ways to make people listen to me.
As I shifted to Mumbai, I realized that I wanted to desperately work. I wasn’t trying to detach myself from my roots. Thanks to the all new digital India campaign with the improved internet and telecommunication systems, I could stay connected not only to my city, my family, my professors, but also with the literature, culture, traditions, and art from my native.
I often keep drawing inspirations from my own personal experiences and observations. I consider myself a commendable observer because I am a student of Film Studies. But, my mind is constantly flying from the ‘Westeros’ to ‘Hogwarts’, from Gurgaon to San Francisco, from Kolkata to Mumbai. So, what do I do? I listen to everybody, every story I come across, because the bard of India, Rabindranath Tagore said- “Jekhane dekhibe chai, uraiya dakho tai, paileo pitae paro amulya rattan,” (Dig inside every heap of ashes; you might just get lucky enough, to find a precious gem).
This is the most dynamic gift my father has given me (apart from bringing me into this beautiful world), it’s education. He did everything to get his two daughters educated. He wanted us to be good human being first, rather than rich or powerful. Despite being a reputed businessman (who is known for his goodwill), my father is also a social activist. For me, he is no less than a saint, because he has taught me – “all that glitters is not gold” and “every dark cloud has a silver lining.”
My father is that kind of a person, who is ready to give up his everything, for the betterment of the society. He lives like an ordinary person, that nobody realizes his worth unless he starts talking. Despite being under tremendous mental pressure, he never forgets that there is a little girl from a slum in Kolkata, whose school fees are pending. Even though I fight with them frequently, there is no harm denying the fact, that I am what I am today, because of my father and my entire family.
Here’s calling out to all the parents of the country and the would-be parents, to welcome children only if they are ready to accept them the way they are; to equip them with the tools for surviving in this ruthless world, which no longer revolves at the same speed but much faster than it used to. We need to assist our younger generation to emerge as fighters.
Don’t hold her back, don’t destroy her innocence at a tender age or else she will emerge as another Devi Durga (and burn you down with a ‘Dracarys’). Dear parents, kindly welcome a child into your family only if you are ready to nourish their intellect and teach them to be a fighter and achiever something in life rather than playing the victim card always. Please keep that in mind, for now and for ever!
Earlier Published at Author’s Blog.
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Thank you for this post. Your dad is so much like my own but that was nearly 90 years ago. My father let my sisters and I chose our careers even who we wanted to marry. Here I am, became a Doctor in 1955, worked and did post graduate studies also helped by the man I married. Went to England and worked there. Now retired but do charity work mainly for betterment of women so much so that I got the MBE from the Queen two years ago.
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