This got me thinking about my journey to be a person I am today. I am not a beautiful girl appearance wise who would make the heads turn around. Honestly, I never wanted to be one. I have not achieved anything larger than life and nor am I an overachiever. I am a mediocre who came from a humble middle class family, left home some seven years back, came to a new place and made her way towards life and became a strong independent women.
I seek great pride in calling myself that. Independent. And this has more do to with my family. My parents. When I was growing up, my parents never treated me like a ‘girl’. They never questioned my believes, my ideas of life, my urge to be equal to not only man but to any other human being. They never questioned my zeal for education and my interest in books. My mom never asked me to leave books behind and help her in the kitchen. I did help her whenever I could, but so did my brother. My brother would make tea for me and dad while I sit with my dad helping him in his accounts. My mother would wake up after my dad and he would make her bed tea. This is a kind of environment I grew up in.
My parents are not highly educated beings, but at a very early age, they taught me the meaning of taking my own decisions and facing the consequences. They taught me how important it is to have my views and opinion about things and life and not get carried away by anyone else’s’ opinions.
While all my cousins were getting married at the age of 22-23, they never asked me any question about me getting married. I changed school, I changed my stream, I left my hometown for better education and job, and they respected my every decision.
I feel amused when girls or women today talks proudly how their parents got them married at an early age so that they do not get involve with any boy. This means, for them, not getting her daughter involved with a guy is more important than her education. Their parents ask them not to wear short dresses, not to party, not to have any guy friends and that they can do whatever they want once they are married, with the permission of their husband. At the same time, their sons can have all the education, have as many girl friends as they want, drink their liver out and still be the ‘Raja beta’ of the house.
I think the issue of equality arises from our very home. We are the people in the society and we made it what it is today. In every household, you can see women tearing down each other instead of supporting each other. It’s women like them who raise dependent girls and ill-mannered sons.
Feminism was a word alien to me till few years back, when it became mainstream. But when I look back at my life and how my parents nurtured my believes, I feel they were not feminist. But, they never took me and my brother as girl and boy respectively. They treated us like human beings. And treated us both equals. Despite being a very tough childhood, my parents gave me what most of well off and educated parents can’t give to their kids today, the freedom of being who I am.
I wonder, how different this world would be, if we could teach our kids how important it is to treat everybody as equal. And we can teach them only if we follow the same rule. If you expect your wife/mother/daughter in law to be in kitchen and man belongs to the world outside, you can never teach your kids the importance of equality.
On the lighter note- ‘Women belong to the kitchen. Man belongs to the kitchen. Basically, everybody belongs to the kitchen because kitchen has food😊 ‘