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Thursday, January 29, 2015

What I want

Writer's note: I was prompted to write this post “as a part of #UseYourAnd activity at BlogAdda in association with Gillette Venus“. But as my honest writing progressed, I figured these views are not only limited for women but for everyone.



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My school life was quite uneventful with me being a plain jane who later in high school took this task of proving to biased teachers that though I am not as beautiful and smart kid as needed to be their favorite, still I am someone. I came to be known as an affluent artist in my time with same teachers going gaga over my drawings and sending me to school competitions.
In my early 20s when I enrolled in one of the best University for a professional course, I heard my father telling his friend that he doesn't see me doing a job and that my education is solely for my better future as it'll ensure me a good husband. For me it was a shock. I had not made my mind till that time whether I want to work or not but this certainly made my mind. You see my father having these views otherwise raised me just like my brother. There was no gender bias at home and we were given equal opportunities. But as my brother was forced to believe that to find a job is the motive of his life, I was being forced to believe that to get a good husband is mine. He was far too concerned for my security to send me to just any college. As Iqbal said - "Khudi ko kar buland itna ke har taqder se pehle Khuda bande se khud pooche bata teri raza kya hai", I never argued with my father about what I want. I just proved myself by working hard, looked for right places and made him question his own beliefs. Securing a good placement was the last straw. And as I cracked the interviews of one of the best IT firm in country, he could say nothing but relent. For the father who would be scared to send his daughter for school picnics, I have travelled places and that too when I was single. From a small city in UP where I belonged to University in Rajasthan for my graduation, to another University in Chandigarh for post-graduation, to Mysore for job training. Well, finding a good husband was easier by now. This is how I used my AND to become an obedient daughter as well as an independent woman. I have basked in the glory of being the first woman in my family to break the glass ceiling. But wait "kahaani abhi baaki hai mere dost".

For 7 sweet years I have worked in IT. I have a loving husband and a cute 2 year old daughter. They said I have everything - good job and caring family. They said I have all ANDs. Does that make me some sort of a superwoman?? What is a Superwoman??
... There is nothing like a Superman or a Superwoman. It is all bullshit when we are struggling to be just humans in this greedy world in daily life - when compassion many times seems like an alien word.

As I had it all with no feminism needed in my personal life, I could see through the hollowness of the glittering tags that come with our so called society. How many women fall prey to feel liberated just to be enslaved by their own fears! I have seen women and also men brewing all sorts of troubles, struggling in pathetic routines and work-conditions just because they are too insecure to quit searching for the true meaning of their life. How they form the clouds of "ORs' in their own minds and work endlessly to achieve their ANDs. There is a hidden pressure to prove to 'others'. How many fails to see that 'being free' is about being liberated in your own mind. It believes in yourself that you can stand in crowd and speak your mind without inviting any conflict. It is convincing the world what you want while still maintaining the virtues of love and compassion for everyone else. 

Have I lost you with all my philosophy?? Hang on, here's what went in my life after the rosy ending of first part:

 As a professionally educated woman with both my mother and mom-in-law housewives and all my friends working, I often faced this dilemma - Should I stay at home and devote myself for my home and family or should I do my job and balance work-life? The relaxed life of my mother appealed to me but so also the independent attitude of my friends. Thankfully nobody has ever dictated me any 'OR' but is it always about someone else dictating about our life? Not at all. You see when you are under some kind of 'you should' or 'you shouldn't' finger, you tend to crave for the complete opposite. If people tell me 'you should be a working woman', I would desire to be a house wife. If they say 'you should be a house wife', I would like to work. You tend to desire for the opposite. Making a choice somehow becomes easy if not completely right as it also snatches away from you the actual 'what-my-heart-want' for which you struggle.

Our times are very different than previous generations. Where my mother was always discussing about recipes, hobbies, family with her friends - we discuss about jobs, projects, packages, opportunities. Seven years in IT and I knew the rules of the game. Either you work or you are not in any league. You feel out of the place in the group of young, aspiring women who start the conversation with - 'where do you work?'. All my girlfriends, sisters, sister-in-laws are working for some company. Nobody says this but there is an underlying feeling that you are rusting out if you are not going for work outside. People appreciated me because of my job and many times I wondered what if I was not working? Would that make me a lesser me??

Just like poor men in our country who slogs every day to their monotonous jobs to fulfil the demand for a social status, women too are started getting labelled because of their jobs. Where is the free will??
This growing stigma in our Indian society kept me running of the mill ignoring my hobbies. I have long forgotten that I used to paint good, that writing made me feel alive, that travelling opened my mind and nourished my soul and that I loved to play with my doll-house as a child. I was doing none of that being busy in a stupid rat race. Not even playing innocently with my 2 year old Barbie like daughter. I was perplexed if I had to spend 2-3 days at home. We were living a sedentary lifestyle when one fine day I abruptly called it quits. I no longer want to prove anything to anyone. I just want to stop for a while, breathe easy, explore myself and live a life. I have decided that I will write when I want, I will paint when I wish, I will travel very often if possible and none of this is getting affected because society is not giving me good ratings in its frivolous report card. I no longer try to define myself in some petty role or personality. And I am first time in my life feeling absolutely comfortable with myself - I AM HAPPY!! 

I am going to be an example that it is possible to pause every now and then in life. There is no need to hurry as anyways life doesn't come with any fixed expiry date. Take breaks as often as you want and chill. Love people but don't get intimidated by them and their views about you. Views get changed if you don't give a damn about them. Who cares for that too by the way? And I am not alone. There is this growing number of strong confident Indians who are breaking away from the shackles of the insecure minds.

I have finally learned that a person cannot (or should not) be labelled. That everybody has a right to enjoy life but more than that everybody is entitled to be free of 'what-others-think-of-me'. If we start doing that, we cease to be just a man or a woman - we start recognizing ourselves as a free soul, sent for a certain purpose and above all living each moment in present. There will be no ultimatum of 'OR' and no struggle for 'AND'. Life will just be happy and running with you!