To all the dear men in my life,
Eyebrows raised? Why? Do men in my life mean only my partners in bed? Of course not. I am a woman born in this country. Since my birth, right from the doctor who brought me out of my mother's womb safely, to the bus driver who takes me to my place of work daily, I have come across many many men in all these years. Most of them treated me good and some of them, umm…. well to say it in polite words, not so good.
Whenever I am late from my work my father or brother comes to receive me at the bus stop. They have assigned to themselves the role of being my protector. Isn’t that what our culture has taught them too? Every year I tie the rakhi on his wrist so that he will protect me.
There are some gentlemen who vacate their seats in the crowded bus to offer me the place to sit. I say to them that I am fine standing. But they compel me to take the seat. Reluctantly I plonk upon it. Dear men, I want to tell you I just don’t want the seat to sit. I am as strong as you to travel standing in a bus.
My only expectation is that while I am standing please do not deliberately jab me by your elbows. Don’t try to find a reason to touch me or please me. I am a woman and I am gifted with the sixth sense to differentiate between the deliberate touch and the accidental one.
Just give me my own space to stand whether in bus or in my life. Don’t offer me clutches to shape my persona in the mold which you have selected for me. Just give me a little space to grow, to blossom on my own. Don’t try to be a tree guard protecting me from getting uprooted. Don’t worry. I am strong enough. I will sway with the wind and yet stand tall. Its fine if you don’t appreciate my beauty. I am no longer only thing of beauty which will give you joy forever.
Moreover I am not a thing at all. I am a human being with capacities equal to you. Yes, my dear men, you heard it right. I am equally powerful. Some of you chauvinist may ask whether I can work out in gyms like you and lift the heavy weights. Yes, I can do that and even win a medal for the country. I can guard the borders and work as a permanent commissioned officer in the army. So instead of estimating my capabilities, better work on yourself.
I am not begging for a chance from you. I am not encroaching on your jobs. I know many of you feel insulted when you have a woman as your boss. You don’t want to take commands from a woman. But I never feel like that. I am just doing my job. I never look at you from the gender perspective. So get out of the complex that I am competing with you.
I just want to be myself. I want to test the waters by myself. I want to stand tall without any comparisons with anyone. I just want to blossom. There is a Japanese Haiku which says I asked the tree about God and it blossomed. The blossoming of the tree itself is manifestation of the God. So I just want to blossom. He (I am fine if God is He so longer as he doesn’t consider me to be His inferior) has bestowed me with few good qualities, which I want to work on. I want to pursue those as my career. I just want to be myself without you instructing me what is good for me or trying to protect me. So no special or equal treatment for me. If you want to give me something just acknowledge my independent existence.
An Indian woman.