Happy Women's Day
In the run up to International Women's Day on 8th March, my FB wall is awash with messages pertaining to the day. Reading through some of them and ignoring the majority, I can fairly conclude that it means different things to different people. Some want gifts, other want to be pampered on the day (and secretly, even throughout the year), a few crave for recognition while others could just be as happy with a few words of love. Honestly, just like Valentine's day , I have always had mixed feelings about this day. Well, on any other day, I would just have let the sleeping dogs lie.
But in the age of social media, it becomes important to be heard and seen. Even more when one is a blogger. So, here is my two penny worth opinion on what each woman want's/deserve's on the day. Putting it down succinctly, it would be the 3 R's - Respect, Recognition and Reaffirmation .
Respect - Each women deserves respect for what she is and not what people around her want to become. It is easy to conjure up a fictional person in one's mind, imbibe them with hand picked qualities and fall in love with them. But alas, it does not work that way. We are born with certain traits and others are the cumulative effect of a couple of decades of living and learning. Nothing, that can be changed overnight. Love never comes with a rider that says "Conditions Apply".
For the ladies, it is important to be the good daughter/wife/daughter-in-law/mother/boss. But, even more then the collective roles and responsibilities, it is important to be an individual. To do the things that one loves to do. To have the dreams and ambitions that propel one to push one's limits. To wake to every morning with renewed enthusiasm. Not just because you have to. After all, life is about living and not just following a timetable.
Recognition - 'Thank you' is among the first words that is taught to kids. "Say thank you when someone gives you a chocolate". "Say thank you when your friend shares his/her toys with you". But sadly, nobody uses it when it comes to a woman who has a hundred tasks on her hands and goes about doing her job silently throughout the day. Often 24 X 7.
It is easy to crib that one has not taken a day off from office in that 3-4 months. But spare a thought a homemaker or stay-at-home Mom who have never known what it means to have a day off. On top of that, she is labelled as "socially unproductive" by some pseudo-feminists. Somebody please educate these misguided women that they cannot use jargon just for the sake of it.
The other kind of recognition that I must mention is being recognized as a part of the family. Most married women end up feeling like strangers in their marital homes. And it must be a widespread phenomenon is it has even been mentioned by one of my favorite Indie authors. Mrs Funnybones aka Twinkle Khanna has reflected upon it in her book and while I do agree that celebs sometimes espouse ridiculous causes, I have come across too many such instances to dismiss it as hogwash. "So, when does a women stop being a stranger and becomes a part of the family ?", one might ask. Unfortunately, that happens at a very later stage in a woman's life. Often when the inlaws have become too feeble or have departed for their heavenly abode. And believe me, it is not pretty waiting for someone to die on you.
Reaffirmation - It does not matter that one has uttered those three words a thousand times. Saying it another time is not going to kill anybody. But lack of communication is a sure shot way of burying a perfectly good relationship. Given the daily grind, most folks are totally worn out by the time they reach home. And whatever dredges of energy that one might still retain are sapped up by the social media sites. Often leaving one with no time to interact with loved ones.
Hence, the need to prioritize communication with one's partner. And since actions speak louder than words, what better way to reaffirm your feelings than to take on a shared task. Cooking a meal, doing the dishes, giving a bath to the toddler (or pet), helping the kid's with their homework, planning a small party or a vacation, or even cleaning up the house can all be therapeutic when done without any grudges and can pave the way for opening up those clogged communication lines. Do not forget to throw in some TLC for added effect. It always works.
To sum it up, Women's day is not just about rhetoric. It is about acknowledging and bringing a positive change in the lives of those women whom we love and respect.