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Growing up, so many things change, but a girl growing up into a woman has had to always guard against being considered just a body, so much less than she really is.
The one who was supposed to play hide n seek but could never play without worrying my mother sick and making her almost paranoid for my safety.
The one who wanted to wear camisoles but never could, because I didn’t know how to avoid the lecherous gaze of men who made me uncomfortable with my own growing and changing body.
The one who wanted to go clubbing and pubbing and enjoy and party with my new found monetary independence, but never could because nights are not safe for women to venture out.
The one who wanted to be a little more than a Mrs, the one who wanted to work, pursue her career but couldn’t because a woman going out to work is against your family values.
The one who wanted her name to be outside the house, right next to yours on that name plate, because this is where i would be living for the rest of my life. But I never saw my name there or anywhere else because for you, apparently it’s the men who are the true representatives of a house. Of your house.
The one who wanted to wear shorts and pajamas at home, the one who wanted to wear jeans and dresses but never could because it’s “against your family’s tradition and culture”.
The one who wanted to give my daughter the chance to be a hell of an independent woman, the chance that I never got but could never give to her too because she bears your surname, your family name. Even after carrying her within me, even after giving birth to her, even after spending hundreds of nights being awake with her, she doesn’t have my surname and so, has to carry forward your family’s traditions.
The one who wanted to just talk about periods, the one who just wanted to step out in peace and buy the pads and tampons and menstrual cups, and decide which ones to choose from but never could, because periods are made to be something to be ashamed of and even going out alone and unaccompanied is against your idea of freedom.
The one who wanted desperately to be understood during the time I was undergoing menopause but never could be understood, because a woman’s fluctuating hormones are not something to be addressed or cared for, especially by the husband.
The one who after raising my children wanted to find myself, wanted to do something different, wanted to be what I felt I was meant to be, wanted to step out of the house, make friends, have my own social circle. But I never could because now, my son thinks the women of the house should behave in a certain manner and my stepping out seems to disrupt his peace of mind and the peace of the house.
The one who wanted to be seen other than being the wife of, the mother of, the grandmother of… but never could because building my individuality and identity was never even considered a thing, and every step that I took towards it was met with displeasure and discouragement, making it something to be guilty of.
Finally I am not your daughter, I am not your wife, I am not your bahu, I am not your mother, I am not your grandmother, I am not your sabhyata, I am not your sanskriti, I am not your izzat, not your honour, I am not something you own.
Finally, I am me.
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