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Is Freedom My Right Or His ‘Gift’ To Be Bestowed On Me?

Posted: August 6, 2020

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They say I’m very lucky, as my husband ‘allows’ me so much freedom. But is freedom really a gift meant to be given to me?

You ‘let me’ sleep in on weekends
And ‘allow me’ to enjoy my breakfast in bed
You ‘let me’ continue my job after marriage
“I am ‘giving you’ all the freedom”, you said.

I’m the object of envy for my friends
“You’re so lucky”, they say,
But my inner struggle is known to only some
And this pain is far from fun.

For who is he to give me my basic rights?
Does gender disparity make this a household fight?
This marriage is not just mine but ours to care
So why is the sense of sacrifice only in my share?

Whether I have a career or I am a homemaker
The kitchen is always my territory
While even your burnt roti gets adulation,
My hard work there is banality.

You said I could wear jeans when your parents are away
And ‘allowed’ me to put on makeup too,
“I am quite progressive”, you said with a smile
But for my ‘freedom’ I have paid a heavy price.

I don’t like to cook
Or the daily Puja that we do
For I am not that religious,
But respect and honour I believe in too.

The fasts of Karwa chauth are just some of my struggles
The red of the sindoor or the clanking of the bangles
Only add to my mental troubles
If this is a tradition for love and long life,
Why isn’t the husband fasting, shoulder to shoulder, with his wife?

The years will go bye
And I’ll slowly get transformed,
Not into what I wanted to be
But into something you’ve carefully moulded me.

So where is your freedom?
Was it even there?
For I’ve heavily paid for these liberties,
And for me, life definitely wasn’t fair.

Written for every married woman who has led a life full of sacrifice for the family, and who has been given the secondary position in the marriage – as she’s a woman.

First published here.

Top image is a scene from the Hindi movie Lunchbox

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