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I want more from life than just following the set pattern of an Indian woman’s life, and why should anyone else tell me what I should do or not do?
‘The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep
Miles to go before I sleep.
Miles to go before I sleep.’
When Robert Frost penned down his famous poem, it was well received all over the world because it gave hope to the dreamers, and gave wings to their flight of fancy. But apparently, the people around us have developed a barrier between their orthodox mentality and an open mindset.
Recently one comment has been doing rounds every day of the week – ‘You don’t have responsibilities. You will understand when you have a kid.’
This comment has become so frequent that it has started driving me up the wall and pluck my own hair. The irony is that these are the people who always crib about their responsibilities, and then impose their load on others who are not only mentally strong but highly opinionated.
During my childhood, everyone around me taught me to abide by societal norms so that if/when the time comes, the same society can take a stand for me. I have suffered several setbacks in my life and sadly, not even once did this ‘society’ come and support me – neither morally nor emotionally.
When I lost my father, the society tried its best to convince my mother that she will not be able to afford my college.
When I finished my college, the society tried to convince me that working before getting married was not a good idea.
When I got married, the society tried to convince everyone around me that encouraging love marriage was wrong.
And now that I have completed three years of my marriage, the society has found yet another reason to bully me and force me to succumb to its nuances. This time it is about responsibility.
Responsibility is the state of having a duty to deal with- this duty can be anything. Right from managing yourself to managing a family, managing work to managing a household – every action makes us accountable for something. But how legitimate is it to say that one cannot understand what actual responsibility is unless one enters parenthood?
We were taught to dream in school; we were made aware of the sacrifices that we would have to make in order to be successful. But as we grew older, all those teachings seem futile, for society didn’t encourage people who chased their passion! The society finds it abnormal if a person does not follow the blind alleyway; it gets offended if anyone questions the norms and decides to break free from the study-work-save-die theory!
With changing times, more people have started understanding the importance of the proverb that even if you win a rat race, you will remain a rat. The young generation has become more pragmatic in their approach. They have started squeezing out the pleasures in this short life. People of my generation weigh the pros and cons of every situation and then take a decision, unlike the people from the previous generation who were suppressed by their circumstances and who left the opportunity knocking at the door unattended.
It is not wrong to chase your dreams. And if I have decided to fulfil the promises I have made to myself, I am not making a wrong choice!
Even the Vedic texts preach that man was sent to the Earth for a purpose. And I am quite confident that the sole purpose of our existence is not to burn the midnight oil, get a job, save as much money as possible and then spend all of it on our offspring and die. People around me think that I have plenty time after work- but does that mean that I don’t have any other responsibility? Bearing children and raising them is not the only difficult task in the world. Even the everyday chores like cleaning the house when you do not have a maid, cooking food after a tired day at work, finding time to work on something that you love and spending time with your loved ones are responsibilities that need to be carried out.
But explaining the same is like explaining to a wall why it needs to be painted. It is true that people do not want to appear fools; to avoid appearing foolish, they are willing to remain fools. Our society comprises many such fools who have a bee in their bonnet; they want everyone to follow. With such a stubborn mindset, society will continue pulling you down while you are climbing the ladder of success. It will take immense courage and support from your family to break the clasp of their beliefs and follow what you believe.
Image source: shutterstock
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An educator by day an author by night, Enakshi is also an eminent book reviewer.
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