I am a woman.
A person struggling to keep up existing just the same as any other human that walked the Earth. An individual who’s amongst those who are considered to be a part of the ‘weaker sex’. The ones who are supposedly designed by the Almighty to always stay in the kitchen, take care of the household and bear children who will continue your lineage. The one when born is the subject of raised eyebrows and many a times (in our country) don’t get to see the light of the day because, well, what on earth are parents supposed to do with girls anyway? We are the ‘paraya dhan’, the family’s ticket to be affiliated to a rich family with a highly paid son and the said family’s new baby making machine. We are to be used according to our in-laws’ perusal and then disposed or beaten or tortured or ignored. And if we are really lucky, then we aren’t verbally throttled by particularly our mother-in-law who has probably gone through the same and has become a sadist.
We are the ones who you would rather refer to as ‘pataka’, ‘bomb’,’fuljhari’ as if we are the live reminder of your Diwali crackers shopping list. Not to mention the innumerable times we are asked whether we can provide stuff that quickly escalates in intensity -from asking permission to become ‘only friends’ to our phone numbers, our bra sizes, whether we are willing to have a sex chat, whether we are free to “give” (in reference to the “degi kya?” we are asked) or are we just ready to marry a guy who’s a complete stranger because he was in love with us the second he saw our profile picture. Ladies, please remember that we, according to them, are anyway gonna be sold out to the highest bidder. So they should get a fair chance too, right? After all, it’s the 500 B.C we live in where all the princes come to compete for our hand and the best man wins – who gives a shit to what you want, anyway?
Yes, I am a woman. One of those millions who doesn’t feel that it’s safe for them to travel alone after dusk, whose parents are worried sick unless we return home safe at night. Yes. We are the ones who fight for our self-respect on a daily basis. Don’t believe me? Get on a crowded public transport and get a good look around – you’ll find women’s faces laced with discomfort, worry and disgust – not only cause of their daily struggle but also add the fact that they are constantly worried about not being “accidentally touched” or ogled at. Try worrying about your work, your personal issues, being looted, being unwantedly touched, groped, harassed, stalked, or just unbeknownst sending a ‘wrong message’ – all at the same time. Pretty easy?
I am a female. The ones who are considered unclean during ‘that time of the month’ when we bleed our thick uterine walls out. We are isolated for a phenomenon we can’t control and hate, something which already causes us a lot of pain. You know the irony? India is the home of the Kamakshya Temple, where mythologically speaking, Sati’s uterus fell (when Vishnu chopped her off into 108 pieces after her death). Now, Kamakhya Devi is specifically worshipped for her bleeding vagina, and that fluid is considered to be of utmost holiness – blessed is the person who drinks it. You know who isn’t allowed in the temple? The unclean, unholy women who are on their periods. Isn’t it funny how ironic the country is? It worships a thousand Goddesses, yet they prefer to crush the women in their lives under their feet! The very system which gives life is considered the most “disgusting” thing that could happen. So disgusting that women should rather be isolated in unhygienic conditions than come out while on their periods.
We are women. The women of India. The ones who are now being taxed for being themselves. For bleeding themselves out, once every month for an average of approximately 35 years. We are being taxed for caring about health and hygiene – by not using leaves and clothes to soak up blood but using sanitary napkins. We are being charged for periods by the men who worship period blood on a Goddess who don’t have the slightest clue what period cramps are. We are being tolled for our existence.
I am a woman. And I have had enough.