Wednesday, 15 December 2010

It’s more than just a Festival..

I couldn't celebrate my first diwali after wedding in a typical Traditional Indian way, nonetheless it would always remain the most memorable one. It was the first time, I couldn't call out on mom's name for any sort of help. Being the only lady in the house, the preparations were entirely on to me and without a pinch of exaggeration I would say -things went quite well. A pat on my back !
When it comes to food my first time experiments seldom turn out bad (Touch wood!), and yet again the Gajar Ka Halwa and Alu Tikki was Yumilicious ! Come on, it's not the creation of my mind. It was a compliment given by Mr. Husband (Not on the Gunpoint, trust me!) But the main attraction of this diwali was the Rangoli I made on water. Yeah, it almost took me 3 hours to make it and the outcome is right here.
All in all, it was a very mixed experience. On one hand it was great to enjoy the colourful Indian customs as a Married Me but on the other hand, seeing various things happening around my heart was questioning myself.. Might sound a cliché but somewhere it pinches, that how our every custom is so Male-centric. Not that we haven't seen our Moms practising these traditions, so ideally it shouldn't come as a surprise. But somewhere in my mind I had this notion that for today's woman it's a long forgotten thing because the lifestyle has changed drastically over all these years. I am still unconvinced at the fact that, why a girl has to leave her house after her wedding and why is it that things change entirely for a girl, right from her looks to preferences but not for the guy. It's so obvious for girls to feel this way, because for most of us our upbringing was no less than any of our male friends/siblings or was may be way superior than many of them. So why this discrimination when it comes to our traditions?
I won't go too far, I recall instances from few months back. Having stayed away from home for more than 7 years, I thought of taking a break and spent almost six months at home before my wedding. Although my family is quite open-minded but still, there were occasions when I got remarks from some elderly ladies (dadi ma types) visiting our house. Remarks on every little thing like "Aey bai thari chori to ek chudi koni dale"("Your daughter doesn't even wear a single bangle !") or "Choti si tikki daal le"("Put a bindi"). I was so astonished to see this, because all my life nobody took a damn interest if I am dead in shorts or alive in Jeans, but all of a sudden everybody got a passport to intrude my privacy! Scary it was, especially for a person like me who does always opposite of what she's being forced to do. Quite sometimes I felt offended and showed my frustration to mom and she just said- "Either happily follow or Ignore." I found the latter easier and now they find it offending to waste their words on me. I do admit that in Urban India things have changed a lot, but it is not even one percent of what it should be. By God's grace, my personal experiences are not that bad as compared to what I have heard from few of my female friends. My eyes popped out in shock, when one of my friends told me that in her family she is not supposed to talk to her father-in-law and brother-in-law. What !!! Come Again ! No No NONO WHAT !!! I recalled my ragging days in engineering when seniors used to say – "How dare you look at me!","You are talking a lot aren't you?","Muskura kyun rahi ho, smile itni bhi acchi nahi hai(Why are you smiling, it isn't that good)" Most of you would not believe it, but trust me guys this happens. I can state numerous instances like this from different section of our society, but I know everybody is aware of what it is like anyway..
I often remember one of my favourite chemistry teacher, Shukla Sir, who used to come up with one or the other amusing tale about a girl's identity in our society. He believed that, "A girl doesn't have an identity in our society, first she would be called as somebody's daughter, then somebody's wife and then somebody's mother. So amidst this where is her own identity?" He always encouraged us to do something for ourselves, so that in future our parents are identified by our names. In my home town girls were not so serious about their careers and perhaps it was his way of inspiring us. Though in those days, for me his message was nothing more than an amusing tale because I anyway wanted a different life as many of us. But now when I look back, I realise somewhere he had a great influence on my conscience. He is no more in this world, but had he been amongst us, he would have been so proud to know that today there are many people who know my dad as my Father. :-)
No doubt, I appreciate liveliness in Indian culture a lot. But there is a big bag of rubbish we are carrying on our backs and it's high time that we take this off our shoulders. Many MCPs (Male Chauvinist Pigs) would claim that I should be born as a boy. It feels more insulting to hear remarks like this because by saying so, they are putting a stamp on the entire idea. Why can't it be"Oh poor you ! I wish you were born as a girl!"<Smirk> For this I solely support the western culture, where in there is no game of imposing thoughts and traditions. People live their life in the way they like and where a girl receives the same respect and identity in the society as a boy. I am no feminist guys, but this piece of writing has come from a girl inside me who detest comparison on sexual grounds and who just wants to live her life in her own terms. The simple way, the happy way :-)
p.s. – Guys would love to hear your comments on this. And by any chance if any Feminist group comes across this post, let me know what kind of facilities/perks you provide because I might consider joining you ;-)

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