Dear Ammi, This Women’s Day, Take Care Of Yourself And Don’t Lose Yourself

My dear Ammi,

I do not understand what to write to you. I will not ask you how you’re doing,  because even today, you are the same as you used to be in my childhood. You wake up early in the morning to cook for everyone, immediately give Papa whatever he asks for, bow your head and accept whatever he says, without asking a thing. Even if you make a mistake Ammi, and you’re slapped for it, you sit with us, smiling without any gripe.

You send us to school; you feed us.

Even if you make a mistake Ammi, and you’re slapped for it, you sit with us, smiling without any gripe.

It has been 20 years since I saw you, but even today, you are the same; you have not changed at all. You struggle in your own house, a struggle to fight and maintain your existence.

I still remember everything. You have always compromised so much for our happiness, yet we consider Papa as the best and as our superhero. How did you not mind?

Even after a scolding from father, we would wipe our tears in your ‘aanchal’ (clothes). I would call Papa wrong, but you would not let us do that, you would call us Papa’s henchmen, and then we would forget Papa’s scolding.

Even today, our society is the same. A girl is considered as dowry after marriage; the husband can take off his anger on her after getting tired and coming back from work.

He’ll ‘show’ his power on the girl by beating her. Patriarchy is still dominant in our society. Whatever Papa did to you, I remember it. Today, I see Papa in my brother, as close as a shadow.

Today is Women’s Day. I don’t understand what to say to you. It feels like it is our day after a long struggle. I am not married yet. but I still face this dominant society every day.

Ammi, you face all this at home and I am still outside the house. You used to make mistakes in the house and get scolded.

Today, if we are raped, the fault and blame is put on our clothes, our behaviour, our character. Even Nirbhaya has not gotten her justice that is long due.

But now, it seems that together we can change the thinking of this society, and like this, we are changing.

Earlier, women did not raise voices, but today, we have a Shaheen Bagh of Delhi that reminds us to leave all these thoughts behind.

I hope that on this Women’s Day, together, we give birth to a new society and new thinking, in which we will not just be equals in words and slogans, but in real life.

Take care of yourself. Don’t lose yourself.

Your daughter,

Shabnam

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