Open Letter to Indian Society from a Girl-In-Progress

Posted by Prerna Singh
July 12, 2017

Self-Published

Dear Indian Society,
 
I’m indebted to you for a lot of things. I have had my shares of good, really good memories but please don’t bring me into this world, it is just too much for me! I know you love me and value me but your appreciation of me has always been objectified and conditional. You don’t have a generic attitude towards women or girls, you have an attitude of decorum towards mothers, sisters, wives, daughters, sister-in-laws and “female” friend (girl friends excluded!). If in an unfortunate moment you fail to objectify me, tie me or define me in any of these roles, I become the faceless, nameless and identity less recipient of your disgusting behavior. May be that’s why some of you think that addressing a molester or rapist as “bhaiya”or “brother”can check such dastardly acts just in time. Why didn’t Nirbhaya use common sense? You find it okay to harass me, molest me, tease me or rape me. You find it juicy to bitch about me, question me, judge me and discuss me like I were some cheap local news devised to keep your boredom at bay. You think wearing a saree doesn’t make me sati-savitri (exceptionally chaste character from Indian mythology) and you reiterate that wearing a skirt does turn me into a slut. Indeed I have a full time job of featuring in your gossips to keep your life interesting. You cherish me so much, but your love is making me weak to the soul, so please let me go.
 
I know you have great expectations from me; you quote to me great women like Mother Teresa, Indira Gandhi, Kalpana Chawla, Kiran Bedi, Indira Nooyi, to name a few; because they were great and you want to fool me into believing that I could be great too. You will never quote to me brilliant actresses and beauty pageant contest winner though most of you know Katrina Kaif quite well and may not even have heard of Kalpana Chawla. You see, this confuses me. You tell me I’m a blessing; then why did my mother whispered prayers begging for a male child? As I grew up the discrimination was glaring. In my family of limited means, food and educational privileges were always distributed unequally. I had since monsterized my Mother’s image in my head, believing she didn’t love me. Yet as I grew and found her crying right beside me and for me, I understood her prayers from my pre-natal days for the first time. She wanted a better fate for me – nonexistence. Growing up I have often heard myself being compared to a dead cow of youth – an exorbitant waste of resources. I found it to be so true! Regardless of whether I grow to be  a MBA  (Masters in Business Administration) in marketing or a MD (Doctorate of Medicine) Surgery or an IAS (Indian Administrative Services) officer ; my fate is sealed the day I’m born. Above all, my golden and tad envious destiny is to cook for my husband, serve my in-laws and mother children who can continue this cycle of patriarchal obligation. This alone shall bring pride to my middle-class family. This alone would be the saving grace of raising a “proper” daughter. Given the inflexibility of my life’s outcome, please do not waste money on my higher education. After all what’s the point when the groom’s family would be more concerned with my culinary expertise, my figure, my complexion and my parent’s ability to pay for their son’s worth; who prides himself in being auctioned as a pure breed cattle at some posh village market. Better don’t let me go out, prison my body and my mind at home. Let my fair complexion do the talking and let my naivety, my inexperience of the world and resultant meekness be the USP (unique selling point) of my socially approved and hailed barter agreement that goes by the name of marriage. Feed me less, keep me hungry. So that your cruel love pays off dividend when the prospective groom finds me attractive in a 36-24-36 shape and insipid mind. Clip my wings and trod my dreams, so that I may never know what it is to be free. So that I may never infect my daughter, if ever I have one unfortunately, with fairy tales that feature happy woman or a woman without regrets.    
 
Your beloved, 
Girl-in-progress

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