From a pampered princess to a trifling tragedy, my life has shown many colours that are unlike the rainbow shades I had seen until now. The conflicts germinate in the simplest things from differentiating between lawlessness to claiming my natural liberties, learning the difference between the urgent necessities and worthy sacrifices, prioritising my final freedom over the evident shackles and differentiating between my absent inhibitions and pride.
So I decided to process all of it in an open letter to all the "Loud Mouth City Girls” as someone once called me. Being one of those bitches in India is a difficult position. Fortunate with a fair economic upbringing but shackled to a conservative country, you sometimes feel like an Outsider. One that speaks the language of its fellow people but harbours and believes in Ideas those are alien to your country.
You are surrounded by Neelam, Suresh and Chavi but your friends are Kafka, Hobbes and Anne. For even though the former speak your language, the latter understand your thoughts. Your childhood playmates have been Dora or Goku, even though the rest of them play as Bhim or Hanuman. You laugh at Simpsons and cry on an Anime's death and as you cry no one can sympathise with you because they don't even understand what Anime means. None can relate to Kafka's Metamorphosis as you do because they don't know what self-alienation feels like. As you transcend from a liberal bubble to a conservative one the transition takes on a triangular dynamism, one that imbibes Assumption-reaction, revelation and realisation. But amidst all of that comes the pangs of Identity-Crisis.
Assumptions- In the first stage you are still fresh out of your protected bubble, one that boasted of liberty, equality, and justice. You assume it's only natural for a human being to be an equal, at least, in the most minutest references. You have read and heard of the inequalities that dominate your surroundings but you've never lived them and even when you face them you are backed by the fortunes of your upbringing that you boast off, breaking all the norms. Take the much debated feminist view of a woman's freedom to wear what she wants. If you are a chauffeured lady that is protected by the comforts of your speedy car, you can surely wear whatever you want or revert back to any passing comment of an eave-teaser. As you assume that is how all women should be bold, fierce and uncompromising as you. (In a Utopian sense they should, for what you believe is actually right) But as you harbour that belief you fail to see the contextual relation between an idea and its effectiveness and also at what cost does that rebellion comes.
Realisations- If you are fortunate to cross this barrier, after seeing the futility of all the negative emotions and the non-productivity you have accustomed yourself to, you confront the sad truth and difficult hope. You prioritise your long-term goals to the urgent liberties. You acknowledge that 'change may affect others but will always be devised by you'.
One of the lines in The Way Back states; "NOTHING IS NOTHING AND THE CAMPS FOR YOU. HE GETS YOUR ENERGY, YOUR SPIRIT AND YOU FREE THE DREAM OF HIS ESCAPE." Relating it to the patriarchy as a holocaust camp, the situation stands metaphorically similar.
No one gives a damn about how you feel unless its juggled in the news or someone makes a movie about it because then they are earning off your emotions or what happened to you. So you when you struggle like a fresh fish out of the water, on your call for small liberties that you are subjugated to give, your intricate rebellion only feeds the male ego. So dear oppressed ones, wear a burqa if you are forced to but work twice as hard then them to accumulate your resources. Study to win scholarships in that prestigious institution, save every penny he throws at you, “Use the very fire that once burnt you". Do all that's needed but conspicuously. Don't cry out how you feel wronged; rather instead beat them in their own court once you are strong enough to.
Surely the degrees of freedom are debatable and how one should act in its practical shades. I believe, “Weigh the bigger win over small sacrifices." But I beg you to never apply this for the things that matter. I apologise as a woman to be not there to wipe your tears when he hits you or when you lay there weeping as he rapes you or even when your lover is killed in front of you. The sad reality is that you are in a miserable world, one that wants you to be a dumb doll that satiates their ignorance, ego and lust. As you are treated like a punching bag because he's too insecure to realise his own incompetency. The hypocrisy still continues to live as they continue to support women rights but will never allow their daughters to speak their minds. You live in a hypocritical world. I urge you, DON'T FALL FOR THEIR LIES.
You have heard these words again and again and I apologise if you find them exhausting but I feel one aspect that is often left untouched is the pangs of "Identity crisis" it brings in you. You do not wish to be treated as a princess but you also want to be complimented for being their bro, for why is strength associated with masculinity. You are breaking through the fragile norms of sexuality but you also don't understand the term too well yourself, for its a taboo since forever. You cut your hair because they say you won't look pretty but you also don't know what your definition of beauty is? You are neither a tomboy nor a girly-girl and you question why these terms exist at all? You claim your partnership with the fellow men but it also hurts you when they defame you behind your back and you wonder what learning you receive through this little fights. You break through their expectations of a woman should be or as a dainty flower, yet you feel alarmed by an intended brush of hand. You know you are making yourself vulnerable as you break these small social norms, but you still do it, get hurt by it and get up again to fight again. But most importantly what bothers you the most is when you have to belie your own beliefs in search of the bigger truth.
So as just another “You" I'd like to say, It'll always be like this, at least for a while. You will never know who you are because you're many things, different from every other woman and yes if anything makes it easier is the realisation that you not your sex but a human. A "YOU" that is unique so it's only obvious that how you feel, or the chances you takes, or the things that hurt you are unique to anybody else. Never forget that it's impossible to be like anyone else so why not be just the "BEAUTIFUL YOU"