Saturday, March 8, 2008

Celebrate womanhood; enjoy!

It's really heartening that there aren't any massive protests against the Women's Day celebrations, like we had (have) for Valentine's Day. After all, celebration of womanhood is no less or no more Western than the celebration of love. Just shows how meaningless these organised protests are. Let me stop here, lest I be blamed for giving people ideas! Let me join the fun... Women of the world... go ahead... have a blast... (as you always do...)

But, wait a minute... how many of you are lucky to have a blast every minute, every day? Just as International Women's Day is a celebration, it's also a time to pause and reach out to those who are on the sidelines, for whom womanhood is a burden, a shackle they try hard to break free from. I guess, most of the women -- irrespective of the strata or section of society they belong to -- are on the sidelines.

When I was at the basement car park this morning, I hadn't realised today was Women's Day. But, may be the maid who was sweeping the floor there would have. Because, I saw her stop her work, keep looking at a well-heeled woman get into her swank car and drive away. What must have gone through the maid's mind? Well, a woman driving the car is also symbolic of the control she has over her life. How much control does the maid have over her life?

Is that maid one of those many women on the sidelines destined just to watch the celebrations and not be part of it? Need not be. Because I have seen many poor people leading a much contended and happier life compared to the rich. Who knows, she may also be celebrating the day in her own way! All don't need drive out in swank cars to celebrate, do they?

Women's day issues exist at different levels. Some women whine and crib being a woman. Some others take pride in their womanhood in spite of the harsh realities of daily life. I would go along with the latter category. There's no point blaming men and finding fault with everyone around for one's plight. See what can be done, and move ahead, rather than whine.

There are some -- really unfortunate -- women who can't do the work traditionally men do, even if they want to. There are other women -- luckier ones -- who are already in the "men's world" but still don't think they are getting a fair deal. But complicating matters are some other women (mostly traditional mothers), who think women should not do the work men usually do.

Here I am reminded of a well-educated mother of two grown-up daughters. While we were discussing the hazards of night-shift work for women, her refrain was: "Why should these girls go and work in the dead of night, as if there are no jobs available in the day time...?" With the support of her two daughters I tried taking the debate along a bit, trying to change the mother's traditional idea of womanhood.... But I instead changed topic, before I got embroiled in family fight between the daughters and their mother.... The girls are still studying, and I have no doubt what their reaction would be if they got a well-paying night-shift job!

Don't try finding answers to questions like: who is a woman? what's her job? where should she work? is she equal, superior or inferior to men? how career woman is different from a homemaker?

Life is a precious gift of God; whatever the gender, whatever the job. Every woman -- like a man -- is endowed with unique abilities; identify them, make use of them. Whoever you are, be good to people around you. Everything else is secondary.

Whoever you are,
Whatever you are,
Wherever you are,
Celebrate life,
It's too precious to be wasted away.

8 comments:

  1. last quote was really good!no matter what we are or where we are in life .. lets celebrate it:)

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  2. Too good Pradeep, you have such warm thoughts. Women and men are two wheels of the society and both have to be in the same frequency for smooth functioning of the society.

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  3. Pradeep, I was just lamenting that Women's day is noticed, celebrated and talked about - only by women. And here you are, applauding all facets of womanhood. And thinking beyond the obvious.
    If you are a true sample of the Next Gen, then those invisible barriers we have are getting torn down.
    Kudos to your Mom too for bringing up a sensitive son.:-)

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  4. Pradeep,

    I appreciate your thoughts on woman's day, but I don't think it's a day of celebration. It is more of a day of reflection on the disparities, misunderstanding, unfairness that women--especially women in the third world--face on a day to day basis. For me, it's more similar to the day devoted to aids or the one devoted to breast cancer, when everyone is reminded that although a lot has been done, there is still a lot to be done.

    If women around the world just wake up and celebrate their womanhood on that day, a thousand year from now,there will still be the same issues to talk about.

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  5. Hi Pradeep, Nice piece again.. to me Woman's Day is special, cause its my Son's birthday.. and I make sure I give my maid the day off and tell her to enjoy Woman's day, although she smiles and pretends to be happy, I dont think a good part of the day changes for her!

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  6. Hi Pradeep, thank you for sharing such a beautiful thought on women. Everyone, whether men or women, should be allowed to reach their full potential as a person. It is our responsibility to ensure that this happens. I really enjoy reading your blog. Thanks again for sharing your thoughts.

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  7. Lovely post, Pradeep. My perspective is pretty similar especially with the thought, "All don't need drive out in swank cars to celebrate, do they?"

    About working late night, I however would tend to agree with the mom in your narration. What is the logic in putting oneself in danger. After all we do have our near and dear ones dependent on us. Lets take another scenario. If a certain place is high on crime and has many terrorists etc, would I want my husband to venture out to that place for "opportunities"? I would rather he stay safe. The thing is I don't think late night shifts are safe for men either. There is way too much mugging, and for all you know you may get killed for your laptop/cellphone/money/whatever! I think we have the onus to stay safe for the sake of our families, especially our children. What do you think?

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