What is it like being a woman in India?

Some thoughts shared by women aged 18 to 40yrs – women who have lived out experiences – of their own and of other women around them.
These women are ALL from educated backgrounds and can easily be called “privileged”.
BUT their echoes of “What it is like to be a WOMAN in India?” are eerily similar.
(I have put in 10 broad themes out – and have tried to capture “as is” thoughts – I haven’t analyzed anything or tried to justify anything….)
  1.  Women aren’t safe outside their homes: You are never ever safe outside home as per what elders say… But what about sexual abuse within the house? As a child or an adult? We don’t speak of it…
  2. Wearing short clothes leads to rape??? Don’t wear short clothes? What will people say? What if you get raped? Why don’t people accept that rape and sexuality don’t go together – rape is about control and mental and physical dominance. The Nirbhaya kand proves it… She wasn’t wearing a mini skirt! (Rape is a simple non-consensual / forced act of having sex. It implies complete dominance of body and decision-making power to the rapist. The brutality is not just on the body but on the soul of the woman – she lives it each day – every day!)
  3. The Great Indian SLAP : Oh, why is it so ok to slap a woman if she is wrong? Face palm slap across the face? Just watch any serial or movie… Even if she is a villain – why a slap across the face? The sheer violence of it – and then the worst is the acceptance of this violence as “normal and acceptable”. If a halla is made around a slap – the prompt answer is it’s just a slap”. No one sees it as an act of authority and complete dominance – first to judge you and then to get physically violent with you! And off course the fact that “she was asking for it”…. something commonly told to us to explain away THE SLAP.
  4. Educated and well-placed women don’t want girl kids: Do you know women who are educated and working with a good salary want ONLY sons? They are fine with aborting a girl child – then it’s not about education and the money you earn – it’s about a DISGUSTING mindset! A mindset which says girls are inferior and a liability! Patriarchy and misogyny! An argument with such women leads to the defense that “don’t you know the status of women in society etc etc, also how unsafe it is…. etc etc” – and somehow they seem to forget that they too are women who were educated by their parents…
  5. WHY do horrible Patriarchal Marriage rituals still exist? Why do educated women allow for patriarchal marriage rituals like Bidai to happen? It gives complete control to the male of the house – where a father does “kanya-daan” to the husband – as if the girl/woman is an inanimate object. Are you aware that in some places the rituals are preposterous enough where the father of the bride goes down on his knees and washes the feet of the groom to be as a “mark of respect” (for God’s sake the guy is as old as his son – WHY this respect? Lets call a spade a spade – its NOT respect – its all about “DOMINANCE”)
  6. DOWRY is a CRIME – why do women allow it being given? Why don’t women refuse to marry men demanding dowry or mothers/fathers of the boy demanding dowry? If a man or his family has to be paid to marry your daughter – then why doesn’t he move into your home – after all you are buying him?If it’s about property rights of the girls etc etc – then let there be a property division where the girl gets what’s hers – and NOT the husband or in-laws! This shall ensure that no girl is killed! For if they kill the girl then the property would revert back to the father’s family in case of no heir or goto the child of the dead girl – the husband and in-laws would not be gaining… WHY don’t we push for this awareness?
  7. Why don’t we shame the rapists??? Why do we always shame the rape survivor? See any immediate hush hush reaction to a rape report! Do you know even the police try to hush up matters… So the moment any girls runs to you or anyone speaking of her rape – the immediate reaction is “Shhhh…. “WHY – shy should she Shhh? She hasnt dont anything wrong! She has been violated in the worst possible way… BTW – in cases of marital rape the Shhhhh is followed by “ye to hota hi hai, its his right” – so the woman has no control over her body?
  8. India has pedophiles! Why aren’t we acknowledging pedophiles? And creating strict laws and punishments around it? And why are we blaming western culture for everything? We never spoke about it earlier…. That doesn’t mean it didn’t happen?
  9. Why do the women members of a rapist’s family never stand in favour of the victim? Why do they look the other way? Why do they justify the ACT as “boys will be boys”? And push for “mere ladke ki zindagi kharab ho jaayegi” – thus implying that the ACT itself didn’t ruin his life – and possibly that the girl’s life isn’t important enough…
  10. Domestic violence is an acceptable part of marriage: The family elders – on both sides tell the woman to “suck it up and brave it – it happens to everyone” and further add “You should try to please him and not annoy/anger him”. Adding to this is the fact that the police also tell the women that only…. and add “madam aap kaise thaane ke chakkar lagaogi…. ye sab to hota rahta hai”
Even lawyers discourage the woman from going to court unless she is rich! They simply see it as “normal occurance” and a matter of rights of the husband – and they claim that in any case the woman shall go back to the husband – so why bother…. (loads of arguements around fees for lawyers and paper work for police people)
These 10 thoughts are from women who have spent time in trying to change themselves and the society around them!
#changeByTalking 

O Dulhaniya … Heer

Heer of the Heer-Ranjha tale fame was declared Miss Patiala in 2014 – her preening mother emphasized this at her “marriage negotiations”.

Sattpal Singh Randhawa’s mother and grandmother only “hmmmpphedd” and smiled indulgently.

They had known of Heer’s beauty and thats what drew them to Patiala to ask for Heer’s hand for Sattpal.

She was going to be the “answer to their prayers”….

The Summer of Love and Life

She was the right kind of beauty with brains – and could speak English! To the Randhawa family that mattered as their son has studied in England for 3 years and then returned to join the family business…

Continue reading O Dulhaniya … Heer

Mein Sita

It has been 4 years and Sita is still a “Dulhaniya”.

She dresses each day in red and applies mehendi and alta – as if it were a daily ritual.

Her churis often break – and she rushes to replace them.

Her sindoor is deep red and always omni present… her smile a permanent fixture…

O Dulhaniya … Sita

BUT – sita does NOT tie her hair! She hasn’t tied them for the last 4 years…

Continue reading Mein Sita

I stood up – to SHAME body SHAMERS…

8th April late night saw me “rant” on FB about Body-shaming! (the excerpt is below)

 

WHY did I write on FB ?

  • I meant to actually get things off my chest and tell each body shamer I know personally to “take a hike”
  • I meant to stand up for myself – and TEACH others around me who watch me – to stand up for herself/himself

I got some very lovely and empowering responses in terms of around 250 plus likes and 65 msgs (this number is still rising)

Sharing a few with you (there were 65 comments):

Continue reading I stood up – to SHAME body SHAMERS…

That Boy loved “SPICE”

Vivaan or “the Rock” as people called him – was the high school football caption and was up for National Selections in 1 month.

So was Ruhail…

Vivaan and Ruhail were the proverbial “Jai Veeru” jodi from Sholay and the whole school knew that! And yet they were the most aggressive competitors!

Be it girls or grades or the highest number of goals – they competed on absolutely everything!

And NO they had NO secrets! EVER!

The bro-code remained…. until it didn’t…

Vivaan – The Boy Who loved Spice

Continue reading That Boy loved “SPICE”

THE GIRL WHO NEVER lied

Raima had turned 24 yesterday, and she had had the biggest party ever. She had called all her friends from college and all the families who lived nearby.

The food was smashing and the music ethereal.

The guests she was sure would have been stumped and stunned (had they turned up)

Raima – The Girl Who Never Lied

Continue reading THE GIRL WHO NEVER lied

Kul ka Deepak

I met the true meaning of “Kul ka Deepak” in person at Baridih – he is an amazing 23 yr old boy – who barely got 60% in his Matric exams – from Chandil (near Jamshedpur) and then saw an “end of the road” in his life with no money to support an education and not enough marks to get a scholarship…

BUT the Gods saw in him – a promise to build the lives of many many more like him (remember 78% of the entire Indian Population is defined as “Bottom of the Pyramid”)

And the Science in his SOUL won! It won the battle of marks and money – and got him to be an amazing “Grassroot Innovator”

Deepak ka Speaker

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Mere Papa Feminist hain…

“Mere papa feminist hain…” – this is a heartfelt comment made by this gaggle of girls – more as a sense of wonderment than proclamation…

Happy to have interacted with 50 rural and semi – urban girls – of the age group of 10 to 13 yrs in the Ranchi District area.

Our discussion point veered right from what adolescence is to what feminism is – and why is there “so much halla against feminism”

And then the shining moment on how men can be feminists – and then the “Mere papa feminist hain…” moment!

This is a dedication to all girls who have feminist Dads and all Dads who aspire to be feminists – I am sharing ALL that was shared with me today:

Mere Papa Feminist hain

Continue reading Mere Papa Feminist hain…

This GURL loves her Cricket…

Hola world – introducing ME… and “This GURL loves her Cricket…” !!!

Like any true-blue DESII can laugh cricket, I can talk cricket, I can live cricket…. (because cricket isn’t a funny game at all)

Ref – the dialogue pick from Namakhalal (for the generation who saw it 😉 )

GURL n Cricket!

Continue reading This GURL loves her Cricket…

OMG sanitary napkins are taxed????

In your 30s and you suddenly realize that sanitary napkins are taxed – you go OMG!

And then OMG some more – since you have been paying these taxes for the last decade and a half….!!!!

And then OMG loads – as in India where women desperately NEED sanitary conditions during their menstruation cycle – we are taxing it and making it expensive!!!!

Wow…. what AMAZING Logic?

                     OMG Sanitary Pads are Taxed :((

Continue reading OMG sanitary napkins are taxed????