For ages we have been fighting the cause of the emancipated woman. We raised slogans, shouted from rooftops, we promoted dharnas and we also got reservations done for women so they can be brought in the mainstream and encouraged to find their rightful place in the society. In spite of everything, the country struggles to get out of the stigma that is so deep rooted in the culture that no one seems to find a way. It hurts!
One of the days while I was at work, during lunch, I met a woman (staff) who quietly entered the room and sat in the corner setting her plate and opening her humble lunch. Since I was already sitting there happily gobbling my meal, she probably sensed that I am a sucker for home made food and offered me some of hers. I politely declined because it seemed like there was not enough for her as well and had she shared it with me, she would’ve left with almost nothing for herself. She didn’t insist, either.
Nevertheless, I asked her who had cooked the food, to which she said, she did – beaming. My next questions was, ‘So you get up in the morning to cook and pack your lunch and come?’ ‘Yes’, she said, ‘I pack my lunch, my husband’s lunch and set the breakfast and lunch for my mother in law as well.’ Was I impressed?!!
‘So what time do you get up in the morning?’ I asked her, since I wake up at 6 a.m. and getting the child and myself ready for the day takes away an hour and a half of my time in the morning and that’s pretty much for me. ‘4 o’clock’ she replied.
‘4 o’clock!!’ yes, I was shocked. I could not contain my curiosity so I continued, ‘And your husband also gets up with you?’
‘No ma’m’ she kind of smirked at me as if I had asked her an alien question. ‘He gets up at 7 o’clock. His office is a bit late so he leaves after I do.’
‘And what time do you sleep?’ ‘11 p.m.’
‘What time does you husband sleep?’ ‘11 p.m.’
‘And I am guessing you reach home almost the same time?’
‘Do you cook when you get back in the evening?‘
By now, I could gauge that she was quite perturbed by my questioning her and I also could not understand why I was banging my head at something which is simply inept. I suddenly went quiet, calculating in my mind the number of hours that she works vis-a-vis her husband and I bet they earn almost the same. So here was a woman who would sleep for almost 5 hours and work for a good 19 hours (including slogging in the office and listening to jerks like me pointing out at their incapabilities!) without any help!!
The incident simply got me thinking as to what makes women, educated and independent; subjugate themselves to such insensitivity and injustice? Or do they even see it as injustice in the first place? Are we really making an attempt to even start thinking liberty? Are we educating our girls to even discover their own identities? I guess not!
No, her husband may not be beating her up. No, her mother in law may not be trying to burn her down for wont of dowry. No, she may not be a social recluse. But is she really independent? Is she really utilizing her capabilities in areas she possibly can? Is she really an equal? Is she really emancipated?
Now you may argue, that she may be rather happy doing what she is doing! But the fact is, I know it isn’t. Had it been the truth, she wouldn’t have been undernourished with the regular diet of two chapatis and vegetable sufficient for a 5 year old! Okay, I may be wrong! I may be making a mountain out of a molehill but the whole thing simply does not fit into my criteria of equality.
What are your ideas? Do let me know if I am just trying to make a case out of nothing!
Linking this to Ultimate Blog Challenge– January 2014
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