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Aren’t women trained to be puppets, serving their 'masters', never thinking for themselves? How do we get the others sit up and take notice that WE MATTER?
Aren’t women trained to be puppets, serving their ‘masters’, never thinking for themselves? How do we get the others sit up and take notice that WE MATTER?
Hi there! Just want the readers to know, I am a cis-woman writing consciously and choosing to go anonymous because I feel way safer this way to reach out to many of you through here, than I do dealing with my own issues right now.
Recently, I have got very uncomfortable with the way how a ‘perfect family’ is defined, and how children growing up are conditioned to believe this perfect family can only be a heterosexual couple with biological children, where the father earns the bread for the family while mother cooks, cleans, does laundry, etc.
For some time now, I’ve got this ‘triggered’ feeling inside my head and heart – I feel as if there is this one thing stuck inside me, not letting me sleep or work. I feel choked most of the time during the day (if we count out nights, because I am losing the sense of time).
Turns out, I have been talking to myself, at least doing a lot of prepping in what ways I could say it to others, and bring it out to deal with it, but there is something holding me back. It’s this idea of the perfect family. But these families are not safe spaces to speak of our trauma – for one who will believe us?
I believe, knowing and seeing what I have, that most of our families are dysfunctional. Messed up! In one way or the other. I am not even sorry if I offend you, because I would love to see if I am challenging you to examine yours.
But I am afraid. Afraid that if I come out with this ugly truth in my home, the blame would be upon me. For everything that will fall apart, while the truth might be the cracked walls holding it up for now.
Women I grew up with, with whom I could have shared my experiences also did not get the education we need about how to speak of these things. And now these are difficult things to speak about.
These women do their ‘expected work’ of hiding a lot more secrets than anyone else, protecting people in the family from getting hurt while they are constantly told to be just okay and not complain about anything.
There is so much that is internalised in a woman, just from an observation of seeing how other women behave at home, and the fact, that she gets introduced to her sexuality even before she hits puberty.
Thanks to men in our homes or creeps from the neighbourhood or from father’s workplace, who would take you for granted (and will have the audacity to feel your boobs and anus right there when even parents are in the same room. And I will never understand how parents who otherwise say they want you to be safe around boys and men pretend to miss this whole acting out).
While you process what is happening, years have passed. And you may think it is too late or may be by then, now the predator has changed, and you get involved in processing this encounter. And over the time, the guilt just gets heavier, thinking – did you cause or lead to it, or did you call it out? Because, at the end you are alone carrying the weight of shame, powerless-ness, helpless-ness.
I, in my lifetime (will hit thirties soon) have not met a woman yet who was not harassed sexually. And yet, we find no comfort in talking to each other about it because we fear being judged, we lack support from our own mother and sister (mostly because they belong to the same cycle where things have processed wrongly in their heads).
We really need to make a LOUD fuss about all that goes on behind closed doors, while we pretend to protect women of our houses from strangers, not letting her step out, because DANGER EXISTS, while we never interrogate the men on the inside. Perhaps, because ‘her’ mother taught ‘her’ to believe, ‘all men at home are innocent, but only the ones at the outside could pose threat’.
I was struck by the movies like Tribhaga, or Thappad, or Highway, about how there was an attempt to bring these discussions on the table, but the point goes missing.
I know women of my generation, settled in urban locations, are catching up on these shows. But are men watching these movies, too? Are we able to have these conversations with our children, parents, siblings, partners or friends? Well if not, maybe these appear as buzz topics for days over internet and then dies for no good reason! (Anyway, the commercial Bollywood cinema is yet not upgraded from misogynist representation of idea about love, romance, friendships, marriage, etc).
The ultimate fears that we keep holding on to. We need to move on. We live with this fear where we, as women, prioritise taking care of the whole clan, first where we are born, and second where we are married. While the most important thing we ignore in this process is our selves. What do we want? What do we want to do? How do we want to do it?
What was the last time when you sat down to spend time with self? Not sitting down as in to rest from whatever work and home space you manage to run without any nasty breaks anyway, but to sit because you truly deserve it.
Just want to let you know, no one is ever coming up to you to tell you that you have done enough. The harder you try, the more it gets accumulated (both work and expectations). You are never considered enough. Because if you are a woman, you are to perform roles more than one in a lifetime.
And while you do carry that superpower somewhere inside yourself, waiting to be awakened, with real ideas of you as a being, as a person who deserves equal love and respect, you are reminded of your duties as a perfect wife, mother, and sister, who must not let loose the pagdi (which ultimately carries the burden of ‘log kya kahenge’?)
But someday, we are all going to find that power. Because the world is changing every minute and one of us needs to shake that hard along with it. Don’t be someone who believe in change, BE THE CHANGE!
PS: It may look like a story unfinished, but I promise to come back soon.
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"There is a story and a vision which makes us gravitate towards cinema. Even as we worked as assistants on ads, we realised that cinema was our true calling," say Gunpreet Kaur Mann and Deepali Singh Raseen.
The Railway Men. Mili. Cuttputli. The Diplomat. Bade Miyan Chote Miyan. And more…
Let me introduce to you the talented designer duo who have worked on these, and can be considered today’s upcoming costume designers for the screen. Gunpreet Kaur Mann and Deepali Singh.
Having studied at NIFT, Gunpreet Kaur Mann sent her portfolio out to several designers. Her first gig was as an assistant stylist with Manoshi and Rushi, who also happen to be a designer duo. She worked on an ad film starring Saif Ali Khan and eventually landed a full time job with designer Vikram Phadnis. Years of experience as assistant costume designer followed, which eventually led her to getting a break.
A ‘thank you’ makes a lot of difference in the way any woman in your life sees herself in your eyes. It might even mean the world to her.
I have not received any appreciation in the past. Probably never will. This is the experience of ample women across the globe. The expectation to be thanked for all the sacrifices she makes to keep others happy has faded. Yet the urge to hear few words of acknowledgement always lingers.
There is never a day when she pushes off her own burdens. She knows not to give up on people she loves. Women in general, are givers by nature and hence, give without asking anything in return. They have been the care givers and lovers since centuries however receive no appreciation.
It will mean the world to your mother if you answer her calls. If your sister seems lost give her a hug and assure her about her strengths. Tomorrow, there might come a day when you would have to make your daughter feel empowered with few words of wisdom every now and then. For the children to feel wanted and loved, you must be able to spare some quality time with your wife and be present in the moment.
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