It is 2017.
But have the societal narratives changed at all?
Do I still need you, for me to be a trailblazer?
Your largesse of letting me be; or your begrudging acceptance of my capabilities, carefully dressed up as inclusion are proof enough that I rankle you.
I am a woman, just one in a billion!
A billion ones like me, abound all around you.
I am often at loggerheads with the established rules and leitmotifs, forever breaking the set moulds. I am the valiant one, trying to make it in an increasingly polarized and opinionated world. With a dreamy head in the clouds and yet feet firmly on the ground. Like many, I march to my own drumbeats, at my own pace.
Sometimes it is not easy. Sometimes I might be staring at the glass ceilings to break, but these sticky floors—the niggling doubts of my having missed the train because I haven’t got it all—might halt my breathless pace.
Is it easy for us? Not at all!
I am a picture-perfect woman, who brings out that searing fire of jealousy from the pit of my sisters’ stomach. I am your trophy to flaunt, no doubt. But the world doesn’t know of the hours I spent at the gym; of the starving, of subsisting on mere celery, of trying to fit those unnatural and insane body parameters that you set for me.
I am also that woman who is comfortable in her skin, with her ample curves. Your unkind jibes about my love handles hurt me deep, but you don’t see the soft flowing tears, for I have learned to cover those with inane jokes.
Am I just a body to you? Being buxom is a gateway to hell.
You will definitely have a decorous drool at my milky white complexion but hey, there is more to me than this aspirational epidermis.
I am also dark and earthy but you want me to be all fair and lovely. So my matrimonial adverts go lyrical, just to get a suitable boy who cannot see that beauty is skin deep!
You can play the field but I have to be a vestal virgin.
Will I ever be more than a hymen (un)ruptured while I scream for my dignity and my self-respect?
After marriage, my dreams, my working hours take a backseat; because only my world goes topsy-turvy. Not yours. Most men somehow forget that meeting deadlines at work while making perfect round rotis at home takes intense juggling and a great deal of Zen. Even if we have servants, overseeing them becomes my duty, because you see, some things only women are supposed to do.
I am not spared at office too. The water-cooler gossip claims that all my promotions are because I present myself well and not due to my great presentations.
I have no pay parity; because I have a womb, you see.
And if I choose to have a baby then I lose all the edge at work, as I am told I will not able to give my 100 percent to the job at hand. My tender heart will not be ruthlessly competitive. Obviously, the father is exempt from such talks! Gender agnostic work culture is a pipe dream still.
Do I dare to have an opinion? If yes, then I will be trolled round the clock, become a butt of sexist rants, rape threats. I must be silenced, you see!
I am a Gurmehar Kaur who at tender twenty had a mind of her own and the world didn’t like it one bit. You cannot digest this torso as a carrier of questioning thoughts.
I am also a Supreet Kaur who does her duty in the face of calamity. But I will go largely unheralded.
I am one of those countless women who fight for their rights tirelessly in the face of extreme negativity and name-calling; and many more who silently acquiesce for the sake of lasting peace.
I am a woman who chases her gossamer dreams in the privacy of long burning verses or the woman who keeps it terse. I am a woman who chooses to kill it with western office wear and choodas. I am also that woman who fasts and prays for the well-being her family. Her unwavering belief in the face of overwhelming criticism is her destiny.
I am the Indian woman who has the same ambitions as a man if not more and yet is expected to be the lady of the house; torn straddling these two distinct worlds, trying to be a supernova, often forgetting to delegate.
I kill myself at office and at home trying to row these two boats simultaneously.
Maybe I can have it all, if I learn to let go and delegate. Maybe, if I stop trying to make everyone happy.
When I don’t have an ounce of strength left in me to take a step further, I simply remember my journey so far.
The past is the reminder of how far I have come and how much further I have to go. The knocks I received are the building blocks that made this towering edifice that is ME!
The dreams of us women, take a lifetime to fructify simply because they are so big.
Dear world, don’t mock me or stalk me but abide by me, as I try to reach for the clouds, for there are no glass ceilings to break, these are impenetrable concrete roofs.
You say I should be thankful that my nation accepts me. When will you accept that I am irreplaceable and an important cog in this nation building?
You cannot wish me away or forget.
I am here to stay. I am here to soar!
– By Anupama Jain, for IWI*
Do you agree with that women have yet to be accepted as equals by the society?
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About IWIite Anupama Jain
An accidental late entrant to the enigmatic world of writing, Anupama is the founding member and Admin of SeniorSchoolMoms and an avid blogger. She is a contributing author to – Chronicles of Urban Nomads, Crossed & Knotted (India’s first Composite Novel – a LIMCA book of Records Holder, 2016), When They Spoke, Mock, Stalk & Quarrel – all published by Readomania. She has published multiple stories and snippets online and has contributed to many online parental forums.
She is an M.C.A., from Pune University. After graduating, she worked with NIIT and managed her software company. Currently, Anupama stays in Gurgaon with my family and spends her time teaching children.
Her epitaph shall read “And She (s)mothered us!!”
*If you wish to write for IWI, head to our submissions page.