Tuesday, December 20, 2011

I am a woman, and not phenomenal

So, there will be a 'fightback' support system for women in Delhi. I hear that the support system will actually be a mobile application which can be used to alert friends and family when the mobile-user is in distress. Now, there is a catch here. The application is only for the smartphone users, which means you will have to belong to a certain strata to be able to create another false safety net around you. What happens to the lesser mortals who can't afford a smartphone? Or worse, don't even have mobile phones? Safety is an overrated term for women, anyway. 

What makes me so bitter and cynical when it comes to women's safety? My own experiences, which come in abundance. I can go non-stop on how getting off at Akshardham at 9.30 PM, trying to cross the road, can make me feel extremely uneasy. I can tell you the various ways of eve-teasing you may have to face while on a rickshaw in Noida or North Delhi or Lajpat Nagar. You could be in your 20s, 30s or even 40s. But that doesn't stop an adolescent to pass a lewd remark or gesture.  

There is nothing extraordinary about me. I am wheatish, slightly overweight and significantly tall, and I have a perpetual frown on my forehead - as if I were born to disapprove everything around me. And to make matters worse, I am a mum of two. So, that leaves very little space for any kind of maneuvering. Plus, I am cranky and short-tempered. But I believe in what I do, even though I falter very often, and I strongly advocate peace-building and harmony, whether at home or in a queue at the supermarket. Barack Obama is probably looking for my kind of women when he wants them to play a bigger role in "resolving conflicts around the world".

But sorry, I am not phenomenal. Not phenomenal enough to shout the slogans, not phenomenal enough to worry about women in the war zones, and definitely not phenomenal enough to advocate equal political, social and economic rights for women. My concerns remain basic. While I am willing to love, care and sacrifice and live by the epitome of womanhood, at least give me my basic right of respect. Respect me as an individual beyond my curvaceous body and that is enough. An impossible thing I ask for, no?   

I don't care what feminism means. And I don't believe in "equal rights" because there are none. These are hypothetical terms created by intellectuals, mostly to divert the whole debate towards something unbelievably unachievable. Forget about the equal rights. Can I have my basic rights please? Right to live in a house without worrying about incest. Right to wear what I like to college. Right to walk on the street without a fear of being dragged into a car. Right to stand in the general queue with no fear of being manhandled. Right to express freely without being segmented as a 'feminist' or whatever. Right to just be. And most importantly, can I please have my basic right to live in this world? Thank you very much. You are now dreaming of owning the moon, and eating it too, I will be told. And moon, unfortunately, is not an ice cream.

While the White House works on a National Plan on Women, Peace and Security; UN agencies and civil society organizations generate some more funds for “women empowerment and emancipation” and the blue-bra woman in Cairo becomes another symbol of savagery, I will only worry about my daughter and my sister and my maid. I told you, there was nothing phenomenal about me. There is nothing phenomenal about being a woman.  




3 comments:

Manoj K said...

yes you are a woman and your concerns make you phenomenal..

Arvind Mishra said...

Why should a woman be deprived of such a dignified living in a world of today! ? A spontaneous flow of thought on being a woman in every day social perspectives of contemporary life : makes me uneasy too to read all about this and plight of an ordinary woman expressed extraordinarily!

riti said...

Didi, I was thinking of your post all day today when I was visiting parents of some school children here. Poignant!