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Society expects women to be a certain way, but it’s okay to be selfish at times, it’s fine to be happy, and it’s perfectly alright to live our lives for ourselves.
My mother often cracks lame jokes. But this isn’t about her lame jokes. This is about a time when she was in her grave and thoughtful demeanour.
One day, possibly trying to grill us siblings, she asked, “What are your achievements in life?”
My sister, who is always badass, threw the ball in her court instead. She gave her a piece of paper and pen and said, “Why don’t you list down your achievements first mummy?”
Still deep in her thoughts, my mother took the paper and started writing. We were thrilled yet anxious to know her answer. Finally, she stopped writing and showed us the paper with a sigh.
“This is all I have done in my life; rearing the three of you,” she said in a melancholy tone. All that was written on the paper were just three names, my sister’s, my brother’s and mine. Not that she is proud of us any less, but her longing to have a life for herself was obvious.
I’m not just narrating some conversation with my mother, but a deep rooted issue in our society: how women are made to believe that they have this inherent characteristic of sacrifice. Women are deemed to be happy with their Sisyphean tasks; the household work and the child rearing.
And this sacrifice comes in various forms, sometimes even without us realizing.
A woman might leave her job to look after the kids, or to let her husband’s career flourish, or sometimes for the sake of family. This sacrifice can also come in the form of a woman continuing a job she doesn’t love because who has time to switch jobs?
At times women stop thinking about their dream career and give up on their aspirations. There certainly are a few examples around of women following their dreams and living on their terms, but those are only a handful of examples. A larger lot succumbs to societal pressure.
Women are gifted with innate worthiness. It doesn’t make sense to let it go in vain.
It’s time to stop being the sacrificial lamb for the society. Society will glorify our martyrdom at first. Make us believe we have made the ultimate choice for our family. And then crush us at once, and let us feel worthless.
And I completely respect those who prefer a family life over career, when it is their choice and not someone else’s decision or even suggestion.
In fact, I too left my job to look after my little one. But that didn’t mean I stopped living or dreaming. I took it as an opportunity to explore newer things, to discover my passion, to discover myself, and I am still in the process.
It isn’t fair reducing ourselves to a mother, wife, sister, daughter and daughter in law alone. We women don’t need labels. We are a women of substance, strong headed, dreamer and with self belief.
Laying the foundation of our family on our crushed dreams and lack of personal space will only make our lives miserable. Let’s steal our time, nurture our dreams, and travel the world, sing, dance, and laugh. Do whatever makes you happy. And you will be amazed to see that your happiness is contagious.
People will criticize you for your choices and call you self centered. You will be judged even if you take a day’s break from your duties. But don’t budge.
It’s okay to be selfish at times, it’s fine to be happy, and it’s perfectly alright to live our lives for ourselves. Living a little for yourselves doesn’t mean you don’t care for your family. It means you are not denying yourself your right to your life. So go out often, drink you coffee while it’s still hot.
Image source: a still from the movie English Vinglish
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When I was little, I had a knack to spin up stories, poems on literally anything, from a butterfly to a fan. With time, the stories started fading. When I became a mother, a plethora 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.
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Chetan Bhagat had no business slut shaming Uorfi Javed or any other woman. If he wants to 'guide' young men in the 'right direction' then he should take accountability for his words.
Chetan Bhagat, one of India’s bestselling authors, thought it was an ingenious idea to slut-shame Uorfi Javed, an Indian actress and influencer, at the Sahitya Aaj Tak literature festival.
“Phone has been a great distraction for the youth, especially the boys, spending hours just watching Instagram Reels. Everyone knows who Uorfi Javed is. What will you do with her photos? Is it coming in your exams or you will go for a job interview and tell the interviewer that you know all her outfits? On one side, there is a youth who is protecting our nation at Kargil and on another side, we have another youth who is seeing Uorfi Javed’s photos hiding in their blankets.”
Uorfi Javed responded with a video on her Instagram stories calling out Bhagat’s bluff. She shared the screenshots of his previous chat conversations with Ira Trivedi, author and yoga instructor, which came to light during the #MeToo movement.
While boys are taught to naturally own the space they enter, girls are taught to give up, to accommodate, to adjust since "it is their primary responsibility to keep families and relations together."
Yesterday, I was watching these 4 young girls around 16 – 17 years old play badminton. They were having fun, goofing around with all 4 of them equally involved in the game.
In some time two of their male friends joined them, and as part of round robin, the 2 boys replaced two of the girls. All good.
As the play continued, I started noticing a change in the way the game was being played. The shuttle was played most of the times between the two boys and there was a sense of competition and aggression brought in. The other 2 girls playing soon starting losing interest in the game as they hardly got any game time. Even if the shuttle came towards them, the boy in their team would move and play that shot. They soon moved to the sidelines as the boys continued to play.
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