By Sagarika Mitra:
She had bruises over her arms and had a cut on her lip. When asked about what caused it, she wore a faint smile on her face and said, “oh, this. I fell off the stairs while dusting.” She thought she had been able to convince all those who knew the real reason behind those bruises. They kept quite as always and did not probe further. That is something they have been doing for months. Ironically, that day someone had started a discussion on the liberation of women and surprisingly she was the one to voice her opinions on the same most aggressively.
She spoke about freedom, spoke about individual choices, she spoke about equality in relationships and also about how financial independence empowers a woman. And again gave way to the hypocrite who lived within her. Her insides screamed and yearned to find a way out of the mess she was in. Her married life was a wreck and she could do nothing but comply with the situation she was in. The man she was trapped with had come as the perfect image of a demon in her life. She faced him every day; he hurled abuses at her at every given opportunity, insulted her in front of his friends and unleashed his wrath on her every night. The thought of getting a divorce came to her every living moment but the very next moment the fear of social stigma, the hardships and all the other tags that came along with the fact of being a divorcee did not allow her to entertain the thought.
The first part of the movie began like this and I could somehow find myself empathising with the protagonist. I could feel her pain and somehow had been able to think about all the women who faced this every day. Be it the educated Indian woman or the uneducated who has no clue about the laws in her favour when it came to domestic violence, she chooses to keep silent. She chooses to lie to save herself from all the questions, from all the times when friends would sympathise and the rest would just want to pretend like they cared. She puts up with the brutality that awaits her every day. There were many such questions which kept playing in my mind. Answers to which were simple but every answer demanded immense amount of strength from the person involved.
We have come way ahead of a time when culture decided our boundaries. With the advancement of technology and time we have come to terms with concepts which once seemed taboo. As Indians, we have been habituated to obsess with terms like morality, values and ethics even without knowing their purpose and meaning. We take pride in being free from the shackles of slavery but still somewhere we have not evolved in our mindsets. When we talk about coming way ahead of an age when survival was the ultimate goal to live, is it not a shame to pave to way to barbarians who claim to be the protectors of morality and go about dictating their so-called concepts on the right way to act and live?
There is no doubt in the fact that our morality defines us on the whole. But is it not illogical to impose one’s ideas over what culture is on someone else? All this brings us to a few questions- Are we free in the true sense? Are we prepared to accept revolution in the path of progress and development? Are we ready to give equal status to our women folk and respect their freedom of choice? Are we ready to allow ourselves to the free flow of morbid thought and unceasing wonder? Hope we come to an age when we understand the true meaning of being free in every way and only then take pride in a culture that we believe is the essence of our lives.