On the 8th of March, I woke up and searched on the internet for a good quote on women's emancipation. Read quite a few of them. Texted one to the girls I know. Felt good about myself. Watched Monalisa Smile on computer. Felt better about myself. Also about the fact that I am educated, that I can understand difficult things compared to many people out there. Basically, felt smug.
And just 2 days later - today - while I was going out to the local stationery shop, I saw 2 ladies riding two scooties. After the immediate dose of Women's Day, I felt quite happy to see these ladies wearing helmets and driving scooties. Then the lady in the front said to the other one, "Okhane gele eto insecure lage..." (I feel so insecure when I go there..."
And in a moment I realized that Women's Day is not about how many degrees I have earned, or how many novels I have read. It's not also about how many women we have educated in a year. Or how many girls have passed out of schools this year. It's not a ratio between girls and education, or girls and career.
Women's Day is about the future when there wouldn't be any need to specify a day for a special sect or class called "female". If we at all need a Women's Day, let it be to make sure that we stand our ground - in school, in college, in office, on roads, and yes, in our own home. The day we start believing that we are "swayamsiddha" or complete in ourselves, that will be the real day of a woman. But being "swayamsiddha" doesn't mean we don't need men. Sure, we do! That's the way Nature has created the two halves of life.
But feeling insecure and guilty is such a regular part of a woman's life, that it sometimes saddens me to witness the daily dose of maddening attempts to become perfect in the eyes of others. It was this evening that my mother forgot to fill the drinking water and even forgot to tell me to do it. So, basically, in the evening she realized that we might not have enough water to last us the night. So she asked my brother to buy a big bottle of water, in case. This is a very trivial thing. But my mother was feeling guilty that how could she forget her daily work? And I felt bad. Not just for her that she felt guilty at not having been able to live up to the perfect role that she plays every day, but also for other women around me who, I see, feel guilty at not having been able to make everyone happy around them. And I think.
Why can't women make mistakes? We are human beings too. To err is human, after all. Why do we have to feel guilty if we forget to add salt to the food one day, when we have to check 50 answer scripts and submit to the school the next morning? It's not that I want to compare that if men can be lousy, then women can be lousy as well. Being careless or careful is a personal choice. But to feel guilty about such silly things can actually make us insecure. So I told Maa that it's OK to forget once in a while. After all, she does everything to near perfection every day.
I am young. Just 25. I have a whole life ahead of me. I know that there will be times in my life when I will have to be strong and strict to make sure that I don't fall into the trap of guilt. I may have to leave my child at ayaah's care and go for my job. I may not have the time to cook everyday because I will maintain a career for myself. I may not be able to attend every function arranged by my family because I may have meetings at my school. I may become "selfish" or "self-centred" in the eyes of others. But I want to have the hope and the firm belief that I will not compromise my self-respect, and I will not allow myself to feel guilty and insecure for thinking about myself and being conscious about my own needs. I will not feel sorry for making mistakes, because I will know that - like always - I will have learnt something from each of those mistakes and promised never to repeat them.
My Women's Day will be the day my mother will forget to do something and say, "Eta to hotei pare!" My Women's Day will be when I will see my child graduate and know that I haven't given him/her the time a housewife could have and yet would have made my child understand the fact that his/her mother has a life of her own. And so, I have a dream... :-)