Do Indian Women Ever Get A Support System Or Real Choices To Achieve Their Dreams?

IPS Neeti Singh loves her job but is torn between her marriage and passion for work – an aspect not recognized by her husband who only wants to know if she can make it to a holiday.

Delhi Crime – Netflix India’s premium content offering – second season dropped this month. While Bollywood’s big theatrical release Liger apparently (based on movie reviews) had a very shallow representation of its female protagonist, Delhi Crime gave us a delicious cocktail of emotions, choices, challenges and aspirations a woman grapples with – irrespective of her social or economic circumstances.

*Spoiler alert if you haven’t watched the series yet.

A corrupt system that only wants a scapegoat

IPS Vartika Chaturvedi has the padding of a supportive and understanding partner at home, a rebellious yet progressively smart daughter and above all the respect of her subordinates at work. These, however, are not of any real help when she decides to go against the workings of the political and power system.

When she stands by the truth and morals of her work and law, the ecosystem tries very hard to cripple her only because she is smart, sensitive, and does not settle on compromising with her work.

No support system for a daughter in law who must only be a certain way

Coming very close is IPS Neeti Singh. As a mark of success in her work and having made her mark, she has been given a chauffeur driven official vehicle and respect at work. But well, that is definitely not enough to appease the traditions of being a daughter-in-law in her world – tellingly, her mother in law goes off shopping with her car, at the time Neeti needs it to go to work.

She is seen making breakfast for her husband while rushing to get ready to go to work. This husband is an army officer on leave, and constantly makes her aware that Neeti isn’t doing everything to be attentive to him while he is home, or doing enough to keep the family happy.

Her frustration does not stop her from giving her heart and soul into her work, which she deeply cares about, but however makes her commit human errors of negligence that costs her momentary regret before her seniors. She loves her job but is torn between her marriage and passion for work – an aspect not recognized by her husband who only wants to know if she can make it to a holiday.

Deep, dark and ugly side of dreams

The highlight of the five episode series is Lata Solanki, a beautician who hails from a background of not having choices, education and money. She is thrown into a world of ugly and unaccounted money, glamor and power. Lata is hungry to achieve the glory and triumph she feels she deserves but cannot aspire for – only because she was born into a situation where she didn’t have options.

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She believes she is smart, can impress the rich, get tasks done, smart enough to make the right contacts and have the information – so why is she not entitled to get what she wants?

Her character symbolises the fact that even today marriage and children continue to be thrown at women unasked. In her final face-off with Vartika, she tells her that nobody asked her if she wanted a child. For a brief moment, one almost feels that Vartika empathises with Lata. Vartika’s eyes echoes the sentiments of fright and disbelief of how a woman boxed with limitations can turn ugly, cold and treacherous – also signalling the fact that there are many such stories out there who are living a life of fewer choices and opportunities. Stop confining her to suit your convenience.

Nothing justifies a murder and never will; this season draws out a food chain of privileges – women who feel the one next to her has it all. Every woman is grappling with her lack of powers within her own ecosystem and the journey is to keep her heart in the right place and march on; like Vartika does in the end.

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Sneha Banerjee

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