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International Women’s Day. The one day in the year women get sent discounts of all kinds. But does anyone really think of what I want, need, wish for?
That is how they begin. Each of them. With that endearment. No, not because they know me personally. They don’t. They just have my name in their database. Like millions of others. And an email id, or phone number, that is stored with them. So that they can send me messages exactly three times every year – once on my birthday, once on my anniversary, and once on Women’s Day. And since neither my birthday, nor my anniversary falls on Women’s Day, I get to enjoy the discounts and special offers they entice me with, on three different occasions! Awesome, right?
And they are of all sorts! But the best are the ones who wish to sell me jewellery at a huge discount. And I cannot believe they are being so generous. I mean, really. If it weren’t Women’s Day, would I think of buying jewellery? Of course not! I would be busy doing what I would do on any other day – cook, clean, do the laundry … you know, the normal chores.
But not for a moment would I think of jewellery! But today I will! No, not because they reminded me, but because it is Women’s Day. So, obviously I must want something – a pair of earrings, maybe? Or a bracelet? Oh, look! They come with a big name partnership as well! So then I absolutely must pick up jewellery from them, right? Of course!
Oh, but I also have a message from these people who are selling these amazing shoes! Platform shoes, peep toes, comfortable heels, uncomfortable heels, pumps, stilettos – they have it all! And at a super duper discount! So why not pick up some awesome shoes today? Because what else can remind me of my being a woman other than super high heels that make me wince with every step and twist my body at weird angles when I walk, just so that the back of my calves and my lovely backside gets highlighted? (No, I did not write, and then cut ‘backyard;’ I always meant to write backside only). So there.
And yes, I don’t have to feel bad if I am not a heels-kind-of-woman. They have sensible pumps for me too. And in lovely nude colour! So I can pair them with any outfit! See? How amazingly they appeal to the economising mother in me? Awww…
Hey wait! Did I tell you about those who are offering amazing deals on clothing? No? Oh my! You must know this! They have every type of clothing on offer! Every. Single. Type. They have office-wear. Which includes clothes modelled on a western country’s idea of office wear; as well as those that are based on our culture and tradition too. But I don’t have to worry if I have neither the flair, nor the figure (yes, my figure matters a lot) to carry them off beautifully. I also have a choice of a plus-size range of clothing from pant-suits to formal wear kurtas; and not to forget, the ever-so-lovely sarees!
And yes, they all come with their requisite accessories. I mean, come on; no matter what I do at work or what my educational qualification is, or what size of team I lead, it is really important that I carry the right accessories with the right dress! Duh! Without that, everything else is just….! You know?
And now, in case I am not interested in buying jewellery (okay, it can be a bit expensive, I agree), or shoes (really?), nor clothing (what is wrong with me?); then I must be looking for something else entirely, right?
So then there are people offering me free consultations. No, no! Not the kind you think. But the regular medical consultations, or astrological consultations; even financial consultations – all for just this special day! Because, clearly, I must be needing something today – I am a woman! It is Women’s Day!
Oh, I almost forgot about the ones offering me beauty services at a really cool discount! I mean, yes; I do look at myself in the mirror every day; and I am superbly happy with the face staring back at me from that mirror. But I have to also think about other people, you know. Because a woman is beauty personified! And no woman worth her salt, these offers remind me, can ever be happy unless she ‘look like a million bucks!’ whatever that means.
I know they all mean well. I really do. And it is International Women’s Day, after all. It is high time I get into the spirit! And I would. Because I actually don’t mind any of these – the discounted jewellery, or the discounted clothes, or even the lowest-priced shoes. I don’t.
But I really do wish that someone told me that today I could just take myself at a café, with a book of my choice, listening to songs that I love, ordering whatever leaps out to me from the menu; or go for a walk along a beach; or just not do anything at all – and enjoy it without any guilt, or fear.
That don’t have to keep watching my back or keep an eye out for eve-teasers, or someone giving me lascivious looks.
That I got all the help I need at home and/or office without being reminded that I already get a lot of privileges because I am a woman; or that, in fact, my place is in the kitchen just because I am a woman.
I just wish, I am able to enjoy being a woman in the true sense of the term. By people not depending on me for hot coffee and warm milk, for breakfast and lunch. Not because I don’t like to do this. I love it. But I would be happier if I knew that I was only ‘one of the people’ responsible for it. Not ‘the only one’.
I wish it were okay, if someday, I spent a day thinking of nothing. Not about grocery lists, not about the kids’ dentist appointments, not about the portions for the annual examinations, not about whether or not the husband has a lunch meeting today, not about what to cook for dinner. Nothing at all.
I wish, people just thought of me as a woman. Not a goddess. Not a daughter. Not a daughter-in-law. Not as a working woman or a stay-at-home woman, or as work-from-home woman. Because not only do each of these titles come with their own baggage, they also come with their own limitations. And I am a woman who is beyond limitations! I just wish I could be really that. Limitless! Without being judged for it.
And not just for one day. But every day. Because I am not a woman for only one day in a year. I am a woman every day.
And for all those people who are shaking their heads thinking, at least women have a day to celebrate – well, what can I say – you start wearing birthstone-jewellery, or high heels, or silk sarees, and putting in the hours I put in, balancing life the way I do; and then we shall talk! Till then, let me enjoy being a woman.
Now where is that voucher for the free doughnuts I am looking for?!
A version of this was first published here.
Image source: pixabay
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With over 200 published stories, Rashmi is a lawyer-turned-writer, who has always given
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