The Gentle Rage

  • Treat a woman with equality.
  • Give them rights equivalent to men.
  • Stop making discriminatory statements against them.
  • They are no less than men.
  • There is a woman behind every successful man.
  • Women can reach the moon and the stars.
  • There is nothing a woman can’t do, that a man can.

How many times have you heard these ‘feminist’ statements? How many times have you seen media rushing and gushing with international stars putting butter over bread with quotes and talks on feminism? Who knows how much of these are even being followed or believed in? Or are they randomly moving caricatures wearing masks of feminism?

My idea of this article is not to induce feminist thoughts in you. My idea is not even to lecture you about what a woman is or what she should be in today’s world. We all have enough people out there throwing light in abundance on these ‘societal issues’. I am just a 25 year old trying to convey a few thoughts about what women these days silently go through. Stepping aside from the clichés of women empowerment and ‘beti-bachao-beti-padhao’; female objectification and women’s safety, I am here to tell you the silent killers that exist in our so call ‘society’ with which a girl, a woman fights in pin drop silence.

I am a very strong headed woman and I do not apologize for being one. Being strong headed means being stubborn and self-centered and filled with fuming anger. Or does it?

Let me try and explain what being strong headed really means. A strong headed woman is someone who is a full circle. She knows the difference between wants and needs. She has the ability to pick up the little broken pieces of her heart and carve it into a masterpiece of a kind. She is someone who never regrets her failed decisions, as a matter of fact treats them as a bunch of life lessons to tag along with.

The former ‘definition’ of a headstrong woman is what the society has tricked our minds into believing. And we poor little innocent people have fallen into the trap and accepted these societal definitions of such terms.

Coming to the point, what I am trying to pen down here is the fact that, it’s time for us all to understand that ‘Society’ is the silent killer in all our lives (or your own lives for that matter men/women).

There are a few questions I would like for you all to ask and find answers to if you can.

Why is it that so many boundaries have been created for women at every turn of their lives? “Oh you got your period? Let’s inform everyone we know that our little one has grown up.” “Oh you ARE on your period? Don’t keep the napkin leftovers in the bathroom. The men of the family might run into the embarrassment.” “Oh she goes to parties wearing those clothes? (Are bhai, samhaal ke rakho apni ladki ko, lag raha hai haath se fisal rahi hai).”

Why is it that they are given the freedom to live their lives and meet new people, but when it comes to making important decisions they are tagged as ‘not-being-fit’ to take big calls? “Dear family, I want to introduce you to someone I love = what the hell? You LOVE someone? How could you even? How dare you even? You are not old enough to make such important decisions of your life.”

Why is it that even when we give our women the freedom to speak, their words aren’t heard? “I wish to work after marriage. Not because it’s added income, but because I want to be independent.”

Why is it that some people only listen for the heck of listening and answering back, but not for understanding? “I don’t want to have children of my own which is why I am considering adoption = what the hell? Is there a problem with either of you? If not, then why don’t you want to give birth? Why adopt? It’s so disgusting.”

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I mean, how dare anyone have the authority to judge other’s choices? Who gave the right for anyone to judge someone else’s priorities and way of living? And most important of all- why are women the center of societal pressure and boundaries. Let them work if they want to; let them bare children if they want to, let them be if they don’t want to; let them travel if they want to; let them climb that goddamn mountain if they want to. Let her be her own calming and uplifting ritual. Just having breasts and a monthly period cycle doesn’t mean they are any less capable. The society has injected dirt in our heads with respect to a moving body with breasts and no penis. That is what I term as ‘objectifying’ women. They have stereotyped such moving individuals to being within four boundaries and obeying the principles laid down by the society. And god forbid, if you turn out to be one of those women who stands up for what is right, who believes in no-nonsense, who is a living example of ‘go-get-it-if-you-want-it’ and who has the courage to stand by her mistakes and accept her fate as it comes, the society will look at you with frowning, untoward and disrespecting eyes.

A woman’s body is more than just the dimensions of her physical assets. She, in herself is much more than the shade of her lipstick or her above-knee skirts, the brand of the watch she wears or the color of her skin. If only the society knew how to read between the lines of what a woman speaks, if only they knew how to understand without being judgmental, if only they knew how she could turn the universe upside down, they would never doubt her intentions or chain her to the boundaries that this so-called ‘society’ has created for no logical reason.

It ache’s me to speak these words, but the harsh truth is, we among ourselves make the society and I guarantee each of you reading this right now, know of at least one individual in our very own personal circle who behaves like a hypocrite. I know of so many myself, and I write this article, not because it’s international woman’s day today, but because I walk by these invisible silent killers every day and because I want people to talk about this. I know it might not sound like some big-shot social issue, but ask any and every girl each of you know, how far would they agree to what has been written above? I am sure every girl would have gone through something similar or might go through these issues in the near future. It abominates me to abide by such ill arrangements. Why can’t they just let her be? She knows her strengths and her weaknesses and she will use both to weave an independent and pleasant life for herself. Don’t shackle her to impossible dreams of youth and worldly expectations.

 

My point is:  

“Why break her wings when she can take you along and fly?

Why take her down when she can show you a world from bird’s eye?

Because,

The women whom I love and admire

for their strength and grace

did not get that way because shit worked out.

They got that way because

shit went wrong and they handled it.

they handled it in a thousand different ways

on a thousand different days,

But they handled it.

Those women are my superheroes.

Even myself.”

 

Be the father who trusts his daughter at every turn of life.

Be the brother who has his sisters back no matter what the world has to say.

Be the husband who encourages his wife to go for the leap; if nothing else, he will always be the one to hold her ground.

Be the best friend who brings his friend back to her truest self.

And be the society who understands the wonderful soul of a woman and the lengths to which she can shield the world with her armour.

 

 

Hope and love in abundance,

Sakshi Nahar

Dreamy Traveler| Seeing the world through my lens| Social media junkie| Bibliophile| Food-a-holic| Music lover

One evening in white

Last night when i was getting back home from Mumbai, I fell asleep in the car. I saw a dream. In the dream i was solo travelling in a cold cold place. I knew not one face. I knew not a single direction. But it still felt like home. I know for sure, i saw snow. A lot of it. Under my feet, in my hands and as far as my vision could go. It was all white. The kind they show in movies like happy feet or ice age. I knew i wore black. All black. From my hair to my boots. I could see white mountains in front of me. It was freezing. I was freezing.

 

And then I turned around to a fire lit right outside a small cottage. Very simple, very plain. It didn’t have many elements, except for a few fairy lights, enough to brighten the cottage into a cozy little home, a bed and a few cozy layers of blankets. The bed was covered in white. And the windows had snow piled over its sill, around the frame. And right behind the fire was a man. He had two layers of jackets on him, a muffler and warm boots. He was tall and dusky and had wide shoulders. His eyes were a shade of deep brown, the kind that speak a thousand words without uttering them. The reflection of the fire only made his eyes shine brighter.

He had a vessel in his hand. I knew he was cooking something. He looked so content. Like he had everything that was needed in this world. Even with a small cottage, a place to light fire, a few jackets, a bed and some food, he looked content. He looked happy. I wanted to reach to him and talk to him. He looked like someone i could have a deep intellectual conversation with. But he also looked like someone i could play snow ball with.

I am a very observant person. My eyes reach the details of everything. So I stood there long enough for him to finish making his coffee. Staring at his long arms as they worked in pair with the fire. Long enough to see a young woman there. With breast length hair, black in color, long socks, a pair of gloves, a muffler and a big thick brown jacket. It wasn’t her jacket, I could say. She looked like she was floating in it. She had a petite figure with long fingers and hands curled softly around a very thin book. The man shifted his eyes every once in a while to glance a look at her.

I stepped ahead to have a closer look at her face. I wanted to know what face lit this man’s face up. So i stepped one big feet ahead and looked at her. And there I was, standing motionless. My feet froze to where they were before. I felt like I was stuck and my heart lost a beat perhaps. I was stunned. I didn’t understand.

She was me. How could I be both here and there. She was a spitting image of me. She was my reflection. A mirror image. Just with softer warmer hands and a smile so wide, I never saw on me.

My heart cried a tear or two. They looked content. Both of them. Like the world didn’t matter to them. Like they were only each others world. She read, while he made coffee on running wood fire. They both did their own thing, and at every interval they glanced at each other, they smiled, the kind of smile that widens the heart in you with affection.

My point is, isn’t it funny, how we run for things all our lives. A bigger house, a better bed, a city front view or a house near the mall. We earn for all that is materialistic. But I realized, while on a realistic front, these things are ‘wanted’, they are also the things that are not ‘needed’. I mean, think about the satisfaction you would get on waking up to mountains, cool breeze, a cup of hot coffee, books to read spread around your home walls, hot water, warm clothes and someone, just someone to share all this with. Is it always the big things that matter? aren’t the little moments, the cozier ones, that make us what we truly are?

I learnt, as I stood there looking at myself from a third’s eye, what being content really meant. I understood how much clean air, heavy mountains and the color white could bring peace to my existence. And I learnt, as I stood there, the reason why my eyes welled up. Once a man told me, “Why are you even doing the things you are doing? You are clearly not meant to be where you are. You are an old soul stuck in the 21st century. Free yourself. Stop being answerable to others. You are answerable to none other than yourself. Go live in the mountains, and be the inspiration you want to be. Stop ‘stopping’ yourself. Be free. Be you.” But the great irony here lays in the fact that, I have understood all of these things. I know exactly what I want. But do I have the courage to fly away to the world I have dreamt for myself? We all have dreams. But there is a catch here. And the catch is tagged ‘Responsibilities’, and I am on a journey to understand if I have the courage to walk the path my dreams take me to, if I am dauntless enough to walk the talk.

I urge you to ask yourself a little question – is this desperate need we all have for materialistic things, to fulfill our desires? Or do we strive toward all this just to look desirable to the outside world? Does it make any difference? To you? And to the ones around you? Do we all have the courage to walk the talk?

 

Dreamy Traveler| Seeing the world through my lens| Social media junkie| Bibliophile| Food-a-holic| Music lover

What is Travel?

I have always had a passion for travel and every time I mention this to people around me, I am asked one question. What is Travel?

Well I don’t answer for all travel lovers, but to me travel means to forget the everyday routine and indulge in something out of the regular frame of life. Every trip, every destination is made of discoveries and desires to immerse themselves in a world of cultures, people and manners totally different from us. Travel helps you know others and know yourself through others. Home doesn’t have to be around known people and surroundings, it can be a feeling of actually being lost. To me feeling lost in travel is feeling like home. It’s breathing different air, talking different languages, eating different food and visually enchanting myself through nature’s beauty that keeps me motivated for life. Travel shapes your heart and opens your mind to the various possibilities and stories that exist in the world. It leaves you speechless, then turns you into a story-teller.

This monsoon, I was in Himachal, I didn’t have many days in hand so I opted to travel across the most likeable towns. Doing a round trip from Chandigarh, heading toward Manali-Kasol-Tosh-Kheerganga-Barshaini-Chandigarh, I have seen fancy cafes, tried crazy dishes, experienced a crazy-as-hell live band, pondered across the hills, heard local tales, walked up and down a 11km trek, lived in a tent, survived on Maggie, experienced hot spring bath after 7 hours of climbing uphill, taken beautiful pictures and met lovely set of people. This was indeed a life-changing trip in that I met people from different ends of Himachal and heard their stories, some funny, some which moved my heart and some others where my heart actually sunk in despair. It made me realise how much each of us are in our comfort zones and how much getting off our relaxed boundaries can actually change us. I have travelled before, across national and international borders, but there is something about this particular trip that will always stay with me. Maybe the people I met, maybe the stories I heard or maybe the fact that it was my first ever trek. Walking up those vast mountains made me realise how little we are in comparison to the nature we live in. Keeping all attitude, ego and anger aside, I learnt to value the little things in life. I learnt to help people without having any expectations in return. I learnt that untouched nature is man’s best friend. And most importantly, I learnt that it’s very safe for girls to travel by themselves. It’s just very wrongly perceived. In fact, I have never felt safer in my entire life. It finally felt good to be lost in the right direction.

I read this somewhere and would like to quote it –
This is why once you’ve travelled for the first time all you want to do is leave again. The call it the travel bug, but really it’s the effort to return to a place where you are surrounded by people who speak the same language as you. Not English or Spanish or Mandarin or Portuguese, but that language where others know what it’s like to leave, change,  grow, experience, learn, then go home again and feel more lost in your hometown than you did in the most foreign place you visited”.

Dreamy Traveler| Seeing the world through my lens| Social media junkie| Bibliophile| Food-a-holic| Music lover