Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Grown out of my diapers, Let me decide what do I wear people !!

Okay, folks I am on a sabbatical (yay..yay...dancing in my red hula skirt) from almost a month now. Hubby got transferred to the "city of dreams" (Mumbai) and I decided to join him here.

Have been slacking around a lot, sleeping and eating being my major activities. Had a frantically hectic life for almost a year n a half , so could not make an entry here (and more over had started maintaining a journal  as the things I wanted to record were not to be discussed here, you must have got a clue by my last entry :-P)
Now since I have ample amount of time at my discretion, You will see me here more often :-)
Cutting the crap and coming straight to the point, the thought that appealed to the blogger inside me came from a discussion I had with one of my childhood friends few days back and then the blog-entry by Preeti  that I came across, followed by a discussion in a group-chat about pros n cons of both Indian as well as western cultures.
The discussion I had with the friend was about how much she craves to wear short-skirts and shorts and cannot because her husband doesn't approve of it as these dresses aren't for women from cultured families in his opinion . And as if this wasn't enough, He also disapproves of working in an office-setup and wants her to stick to a teaching job because" in offices the females aren't seen in a good light and aren't respected enough", says he. Go on, Sigh in dispel !!  Because that's what I did too.
 My first question to her was "how much right do you have in selecting what would he wear or where should he work, if you decide that he can only wear a dhoti-kurta now on, will he comply?" and pat came a reply "Dude, I am happy that at least now he has "allowed" me to wear jeans, earlier he didn't like that too".
Not that I have anything against traditional Indian wears, I love them, But I have a big problem with someone else taking decisions for an adult.A mutual discussion is welcomed, but if a person doesn't take his/her own decisions, he/she doesn't qualify to be called an adult. Period!
No, I am not going to write anything against the chap here. It is not his fault completely. He, like a lot of others, has been raised in an environment where it is an acceptable norm for male species of the family to be the decision-makers and females, the abiders. Most of us have been conditioned in a way that women are to behave and dress  in a certain manner and seek approval (unless they are ready to be called bitches often like yours truly ;-P). And here I am talking about the educated lot like my friend's hubby too.
I am rather not going to talk about the problem here, only solutions. Let's brainstorm.
Is the Equality, that a handful feminists keep demanding for, something we need to ask men to give us?? And , Why do we keep blaming them for not giving it to us?? They are not themselves clear, very confused in fact. And most of the modern men I know are trying to come out of the conventionally-conditioned-cocoon of theirs. But the society around pulls them back, calling them too liberal or too docile. I have first-hand experience of it, people(mostly women themselves) keep telling me how lucky I am to have a husband who "gives" me so much freedom and "helps" me with all- most all the chores. Well, I "give" the same to him , in abundance, but nobody ever praises his fortune, may be because it's quite normal for a woman to do all this and more. Right?
Women need to believe first of all that they are equal in every sense, and no one but they themselves , will decide how would they behave , dress or work or who would they spend their lives with, for that matter. All mothers if they decide to correct this situation today, we will have a different scenario ten-twenty years down the line. We have to get rid of this mentality that men have to earn and women to handle house so the former is superior. First, This is just an arrangement, do whatever suits you, irrespective of gender, one person can earn and the other can look after kids and house or both can work and get some help to look after house n kids while they are out for work. And whosoever chooses to be at home , which is highly under-rated yet an equally important job if not more, should not be treated any less. I still remember my mum telling me during school-days "If you won't study well, you will have to spend your entire life in the kitchen like us". It was supposed to be dreadful. And honestly all of us (My girl-friends and I) used to believe that earning money will make us superior in some form. Again, the conditioning, Earning members (Males) having the upper hand always had to do with it.

Today, if you ask me, I will tell my girl to study well to acquire knowledge and become financially independent. She can choose any career she wishes to be in and or can decide to manage home too. All I would want from her is that she is an honest and independent individual ; financially and emotionally, capable enough to have her own opinions and decisions. If I have a boy, I would educate him exactly the same. I will teach both to be independent and responsible for themselves , competent enough to manage all their chores and expenses on their own, be honest, and respect everyone around equally, irrespective of the gender,caste,community or social-status they belong to. And in my opinion, we all need to educate our children the same (and not to lecture to behave or dress in a certain manner because society expects that, come-on we are already in 21st century).So that tomorrow, We have a country of people who are responsible, respectful and have a mind of their own and do not have to seek or give approvals for something as trivial as what to wear or where to work.

Being financially independent is another aspect to be given importance to.Why should one gender in particular be made liable for all the finances. Girls, if they too shall work and earn, will only bring back home a broader vision and mind-set towards the world (and not to forget ,a lot of money), that shall be in every way advantageous to the entire family.
We need to create equal opportunities and alike prospects to make choices for everyone irrespective of the gender,caste,community or social-status. I have personally seen families (families with high social status and income included) who consider a boy's education-expenditure as an investment and a girl's as a liability. This friend in the context could not come for an MBA with me as her parents chose to invest that money in her brother's higher education, as they could only afford one's, and moreover they decided to keep the money for her wedding-expenses, despite her being many folds better than her brother in every aspect. And later paid a handsome amount on dowry to get her this chap to manage what she wears and where she would work.
Stop paying dowries, such customs should have no place in today's (in-fact in any) world. Come on people, Spend the same money in making your girl a capable and independent individual. And heck, what do we have education-loans for, let people do and excel wherever their heart lies at. I wonder today, Had she been a different individual if she had completed her further studies and then took up a job. Not sure, as I have seen a lot of educated and working women also accepting and following all these rules and customs blindly.
But Certainly, says my soliloquy, she would have had an altogether different perspective towards life. And who knows, would have been an inspiration for many the way she was in school.