A couple of days ago, while I was participating in a National level seminar, one of the young women participants suddenly suggested that we must legalise female foeticide. The statement came as a surprise for all of us. She justified her position by saying that a girl had to face so much physical and mental trauma after her birth. Instead of making her go through it, it would perhaps be better to not let her be born at all. None of us would perhaps agree with her.
I personally owe a lot to the men in my life. I don’t doubt at all that in a country like India – and even in developed countries around the world – women face challenges. I have also encountered very few of them. Fortunately, I was born in a family and an environment where equality among genders was a reality. This story is a tribute to those men in my life who have strengthened the power within me.
To start with, there is my father, who raised his children quite effectively. I am a daughter of working parents. I appreciate and salute all working mothers. It requires more than ordinary courage to balance work life and kids simultaneously. My father supported my mother. He was an employee of the Telecom Department of the Government of India, way back in the 1980s. This proved to be a blessing for him and his kids. He used to do night shifts and take care of his kids during the day, while my mother was at work. I am thankful to BSNL and the Department of Post and Telegraphs. He was the first man who made me understand the concept of equality and sharing of parental responsibilities.
Next is my elder brother, who is just one year older than I am. We share a very comfortable equation. I have seen girls having sisters as their sibling boast of the fact that they are lucky. I can challenge them that growing up with a brother is altogether a different enriching experience.
Since our age difference is very less, for both of us, the comfort level has always been great. I have seen how our parents have divided the responsibilities at home between us quite equally. He was never treated superior to me. I am quite privileged in that even at the age of 30, I can have my food served at my bed and I don’t even need to keep the plate in the kitchen. Thanks to such a brother, who has not just pampered me but also helped me grow as an individual.
The next man in my life who has influenced my thinking entered my life only few years ago. It has been only around three years that we know each other. He is my best friend – let me repeat – friend, not boyfriend. He told me in the beginning of our friendship that gender does not matter between friends. He is an example for each of us to live our lives gracefully and successfully. He tries to make me believe that women are very much important, that they do not need only one day to commemorate themselves. They are full of strength and must be respected in all situations. He inspires me to excel in all aspects of my life. He is the one who treats women unequally – yes, unequally. He knows that women need special treatment – not because they are weak but because they are special in the lives of men.
Lastly, there have been many men who have been my classmates, friends, colleagues, mentors, teachers, acquaintances and even strangers who have empowered me as a woman. I thank all of them for giving me respect, love and affection.