Tag Archives: Inequality

Of Darker Alleys (Part 1)

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She squinted her eyes to block the Sun out. She counted the coins she had and kept them in a hidden pocket, of her money bag, she had sewn in. Today was the last day she had to do this. Not anymore.

She picked up her bags of vegetables. She saw the vendor stare at her mammary glands. Shuddering at the thought of what he may be thinking, she walked away. Today was the last day she would walk away silently. Not anymore.

She walked down to her home, no, her husband’s home. The men of the village knew what she was. The women of the village were silent watchers. There were many like her here. No one said anything aloud. But the way they stared at her, spoke to her, spoke about her, gave it all away. They were all hand in glove.

Two years ago, she’d set foot in the village. She was happy at the turn of events in her life. From dried grasslands into lush green living. She thanked her fortunes every day and showered love on her fortune changer. At the back of her mind, however she always found something amiss. She ignored it again and again. Her husband’s abject lack of affection, her in-laws’ desire for an early child, the villagers eyeing her with a look that could make fathers drive back daughters into the houses forever, the pity in the eyes of some women for her; it all kept prodding at that feeling of danger lurking around nearby.

Three months ago, she gave birth to her husband’s son. Everyone at the house was overjoyed. She wanted to die. She was a vessel for them. That is all she was. She may be sparsely educated but she was perceptive. She read people’s behavior, heard them talk, noticed things around. She didn’t want to believe her fate. Her husband had married her for a child. Like the other men in the village, he would sell her off after that. The first time her mother in law hugged her was after the test confirmed she was bearing a boy. She sobbed all night.

Once her son was born, she was rarely allowed to be with him. She was to only feed him and take care of him after the others were tired of playing with him. All she became was a nanny to her own son. She had hoped things would change after her child’s birth. They did. The people of the house showered affection. On her son.

(to be continued…)

Graciously Yours!

She over He.

There should never have been a battle in the first place.

Co-existence of men and women has been more like no existence for women. For years, women all over the world were, and are, being treated almost like a liability, fairly acknowledging that there were families who understood the meaning of the equal and opposite sex. If that weren’t the case, we wouldn’t have Enid Blyton, Louisa May Alcott, Amelia Earhart, Rani Lakshmibai and many others. But if I compare, our male compatriots have raced far ahead, since forever. The “STRONGER” RACE, they are after all. Oh yes, I say race because this is a bigger divide than any religion, caste, creed or colour.

He hits her. She accepts it. Either because she cannot leave her family in a lurch. Or she cannot leave him and go out in the world for fear of a worse fate awaiting her.

He expects her to take care of him and his family. She does. He never thanks her. Because he thinks it’s her duty to serve him. She wasn’t born to live for you.

He is waiting in line for a job. She is better. He gets the job. Why? Just like that.

He works hard. She works as hard. His pay cheque is heavier.

He looks at her greedily. She walks away thinking she must have done something wrong. Why? Because he says so.

He abuses her. She doesn’t. Not because she can’t, more so because she doesn’t want to fall to his standards.

Yes, he is stronger. But she is the one who lives in constant fear of crossing the wrong path. She is the one who sees her dreams getting quashed. She is the one who thinks sobbing through the night is easier than defying the men in her life. She is the one who has to see her girl child being killed. She is the one who has to bear the wrath of the child she bore. She is the one who has to bear the sting of words glorifying all that she cannot do or rather all that he wouldn’t let her do. She is the one who gets named whether she’s outgoing, introvert, shy, modern, intelligent, bossy, beautiful, or rather because she exists. She lives through it all.

But, he is the one who’s stronger.

And to what delightful use they put their strength! To hurt her, hit her, stop her, abuse her, rape her. And the men who abstain from pouncing on women? They stare. They share. They sympathize. They blame. But what do they do? They ask, what can we do?

In India, women’s empowerment is almost like the new fad, with corporates like Tata Tea doing a better job of portraying it through their advertisements than the descendant of Rajiv and Sonia Gandhi has been able to in the innumerable speeches he has made (the interview with Arnab Goswami being the key highlight of his highs and lows!) or the decade long term of the UPA Government has done. Pardon my naivety! The UPA Government had sanctioned a 1000 crore budget for the safety of women across the country in the year 2012-13. Mark my words. Sanctioned, not disbursed. Because, sadly, none out of the 1.2 billion people in India could come up with a plan good enough to be accorded funds out of the 1000 crore basket.

All day, each day, she strives to make a mark. To be better than she was yesterday. And someday we will coexist. Because he will realize that she would never treat him as badly as he treated her.