All you need is to expand your boxes till it becomes a universe PC: Quarterlifepoetry
It goes back to as young as 16 when I first picked my copy of Linda Goodman, where the opening lines of a Scorpio woman was her urge to be a man; and the fact that she is embarrassed to admit it. The thought seeded in me, I wasn’t sure if I really want to be a man and I am embarrassed about it; or is it an external emotion that just got injected and I am not just feeding the parasite. I also recall my convent education and the time when I joined college, my nascent ways of competing myself on physical and mental levels with friends around, especially guys, and the kick I used to get out of proving my capabilities. Although, it just took only a couple of bruises and show of strength moments for me to realise my stupidity in this comparison. My friends were just ‘being nice’ to me so that I don’t get hurt.
Well, that is just the earlier instances I recall in my gender explorations. College has been a huge learning ground and I can’t miss to highlight some of the times that designed my thinking –
- We fought our first college elections on “Gender Sensitizing movement” – to make safe spaces for women, beyond the stares and an aggressive nature of the campus when we had joined Ramjas College. While I absolutely loved being a part of this campaign, underneath my skin, I used to always feel like men only dominate weak women, and I used to believe in my own strengths and I always felt I was running this battle for women who couldn’t feel strong enough. And yes, Damien Rice, Your women like a man was my theme song. I may not be in sync with the absolute meaning of the song, but the lines resonated with what I felt was an emotion scratching more than surface for me.
- The Gender Sensitizing movement which was brimming in my college, helped me understand gender from many lenses. Having to met Gautam Bhan and his talks on homosexuality, conversations on khap panchayat and honor killing with Scholars, victims, activists and Jatt Boys was most eye-opening. Others included, dialogues on the man’s lament, ideas of masculinity, the politics of rape and the institution of marriage. I don’t want this piece to become a book, so guarding my thoughts here.
- A personal incident where I was one of the two girls from the hostel who refused to sign the plea of a senior requesting for extension of in-time for her in the night, due to her coaching classes which was far off from the hostel. I have no idea how I ended up being one of the two girls but what followed was a longer discussion with my professors and mentors on how in this society, women are usually bigger enemies of women, and I kind of, proved the point by my behaviour.
- It was the power of leaders and women together that got me to hold my hostel seat twice, once in Ramjas and another in Jamia, when I asked to leave due to administrative suspensions. So have given little, but received a lot more love.
- My later years in Jamia, opened pandora’s box for my emotional and mental faculties. I learnt the struggles of women and the idea of being a women from eyes of many muslim women. While their religious identity is not most important, but there were common links that one could not miss. I saw the powerful, the scared and the curious cases, like in any other society. But having defined ideas of how to practice your faith as a women was a strong theme I had never interacted with before.
I could write a piece on all four bullets but I just felt like mapping the milestones and recognizing the strides this journey made for me, my thoughts and action.
Last one year, where I managed to spend more time than usual with family, reflecting on gender relations became one of my favorite exercise. And there is no institution as strong as family that forms your preliminary foundations and it only takes experience, passion and a rebel to expand boundaries of you and your family and thus, your society; step by step. And one important realisation is that many of us in family do not realise when we are empowering or disempowering someone, the details are usually too tricky and too convoluted. I think only conversations have built the bridges.
Some of the major transitions and the emerging principles in my head and heart needed some words, here are they:
I am proud to be born a women in today’s times. This isn’t to say men shouldn’t be proud but I think we are living in times where raising the bar of possibilities beyond the status quo, are challenged by women more than man. If I may take an example, there are various privileges than men and women have in each type of society, obviously skewed. It is the women today, who are raising the voice for things they are not comfortable with, than men voicing out their discomforts. Women are fighting the battle for themselves and as a first mover, also making spaces for men to realise the pressures and responsibilities; or the unfair expectations by the society on their successes and stardom. You can catch the moment or miss the bus.
Second, I feel absolutely proud of being vulnerable and expressive of my needs, my expectations and my failures. It is empowering to speak your heart even if that comes at a cost of laughter, ignorance or a mere non-acknowledgement. We have grooved ourselves so much in society that it takes me real efforts everyday to have meaningful conversations; with both men and women. And I feel the world would have been so much better if people were given training on emotional intelligence. To learn to express, empathize and emancipate with themselves and the ones they meet.
Third and very importantly is the movement on solidarity. There are cases where a women is staged against other women and they see each other as enemies. This could be in professional set up, in an awkward relationship or perhaps in your own homes. I shall say, reflect and restart. Resist looking at just your own’s losses if the situation if putting you up against another women. In the hindsight, I have always realized that there is never a bigger mistake that you can do when you are made to believe you are replaceable or that the cause of your struggle lies in the ideas of another women. The middle-men here is perhaps the one to blame.
I am not sure what inspired me to put this down, but perhaps the day today, and people in my life who made got me to recognize the love and the transition! ❤
Thanks Alessia Cara for giving me some words to close this short piece:
And you don’t have to change a thing
The world could change its heart
No scars to your beautiful
We’re stars and we’re beautiful
She don’t see her perfect
She don’t understand she’s worth it
Or that beauty goes deeper than the surface
So to all the girls that’s hurting
Let me be your mirror
Help you see a little bit clearer
The light that shines within
Signing off with Love
To all women who are daring to dream
And to all men who are picking up emotional expression as new power to run the world!
Happy Women’s Day (: