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Things are changing, but very slowly – it still seems a long, long way before women can truly stand equal to men in a society built to favour men.
It was just a minor disagreement between us and I felt frustrated, helpless and seething with anger. It made me feel like I was being taken advantage of and I was a helpless victim who needed to be rescued.
“All men are like this and you cannot be any different. It’s not the first time it’s happening to me. Why did I even assume that you would understand? You are not the one facing this inequality for decades.” I vented out all that was going through my mind and left.
It took me sometime to realize that I had perhaps overreacted to this particular situation.
This was not the first time it had happened. We are all human beings, and we all have such moments when we lose the sense of understanding. Something hurtful is said by one which is responded by equal anger on the other side and things escalate. More often that not, its my husband who bears the brunt of my anger and frustration and sometimes even when he isn’t actively involved in the matter that upset me.
I have had a normal childhood and a family that has been loving and supportive towards me always, but sometimes there are things that scar you for life that even your loved ones are not aware of.
Such incidents may have happened in the past, you may try to erase them totally out of your memory but somewhere deep down they lie and with a slightest hint of anything remotely relevant they trigger all that hurt, pain, shame, anger and frustration as if it just happened recently.
I have this anger deep inside me since childhood about not being able to do many things that I wanted to, such as not wear all that I want to wear living in a small city in India, I cannot just loiter outside alone at any hour I want, I cannot just sit at a random tea stall and enjoy a cup for myself alone without being stared at, it’s me who has to stay away from my family after marriage.. all these are things that are actually not my husband’s fault but I’d often end up venting out on him unknowingly.
Before marriage, I would always ask my mother to involve my younger brother in household chores and she almost always did. I would never let even one thing escape where I could point out that it was unfair to me because I was a girl. Again, it was never my brother’s fault actually.
Sometimes I feel guilty that perhaps people who actually love me and care for me pay the price for things that I suffered in my past that left me with bad memories.
I always wanted to play outside without being concerned of the time, to pick my bicycle and venture into unknown paths but my family’s concern for my safety did not allow me that. Now when I still face such moments where I feel anything is unfair to me or any sort of gender inequality towards me, I can not stop myself from reacting.
I compare everything with my husband and often tell him that it’s not you who had to leave parents, it’s not you who is expected to adjust with the in-laws, in fact almost always a man’s in-laws adjust with him. You get the VIP treatment at both your parents home and at mine.
What deeply saddens me is seeing women pulling other women down. This really upsets me.
Often I feel as if I am bearing this burden of centuries of suppression like an old soul. As if when a girl is born, she brings with herself the traces of the sufferings of all the previous women in the lineage. It would take long to wipe out those.
Things are changing for better, slowly but gradually. But it would perhaps take whole my life to reach a situation that actually feels equal. Till then, it is a constant struggle to balance things- my desires, others’ expectations, just like most of the women deal with almost every single day.
Image source: a still from the movie Thappad
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