Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Empowering Sisterhood

From time immemorial, men has testified that women are complex beings. Being a woman myself, I can admit the same without the slightest flinch. Apparently for the same reasons, woman-to-woman dynamics are complex too. The relation may be of family, friends, colleagues, neighbors or simply acquaintances, it does not matter. It is only logical that women be bound by the universal bond of sisterhood. Who can understand better the pain and suffering, elation and feelings of a woman than another woman? No one.

But instead of understanding and holding each others hand, we spend our energy working against another woman. They say that a woman is a woman's worst enemy. Well, that's absolutely true.

Women are always competing with each other, consciously or subconsciously. And what are we competing about? Everything, literally. Husband, children, job, employer, house, landlord, vacations, electrical appliances, furniture and furnishings, garden, outings, cars, clothes and accessories, cooking skills, housekeeping skills, daughter-n-law, son-in-law, grandchildren and everything that we possess or experience.  Remember the aunty who is always showing off her child's or husband's achievements, her clothes and jewellery or her assets. The bottom line is that people have to acknowledge that we are the best and that we have the best.

When a woman passes by, we scan her. We scan her up and down, front and back, as long as she is in our range of vision. Yeah, we put you guys to shame. And if we are with other women, we then start playing critic; whether her dress/make-up/accessories were awesome/okay/hideous/"didn't she look at a mirror before coming out?" or whatever.

While at college, two of my female classmates shared a room in the hostel. One of them had a good sense of style while the other didn't. Instead of pointing out and helping her friend when she wore odd combinations, the first one often ridiculed her in front of a third female.

On more than one occasion, when I have gone out with any one of my closest friends, I thought she could have dressed better. But I didn't tell her. Well, I didn't go and made fun of her in front of a third person either. But such memories stayed on and made me wonder why I didn't I tell them. May be I was apprehensive as to how she would have reacted.

At work, I notice that women hardly compliment each other. Even if the other is looking great, they won't say a word. They would just scan you. Similarly they won't tell you kindly that your look is flawed.

Apart from clothes, we can criticise anything and everything about our contemporaries. Be it her skin colour, her body, her husband, her job, her children, her marital status, her family, her accent, her pronunciation; everything. It is because of fellow women that we are under constant performance pressure at home as well as at work.

Be it at home, work or society at large, women want to have all the attention. We want to be the cynosure of all eyes. The most popular female at school, at college, at home and at work. We want to be given importance at all times. A man gets grinded between his mother, sister and wife. All three (mostly two at a time, the wife being the common element) fight to be the most important woman in his life. Daughters-in-law play dirty games and pretense to be in the good books of the mother-in-law. Kitchen politics is the worst kind of negativity that women engage in. At work too, instead of helping each other out, women try to push the other aside and move ahead. Many resort to cheap tactics like backbiting and spreading rumours. But the competition for power is only with the same gender. Yeah, we lack ambition.

Jealousy is perhaps the worst trait in women. It leads her to do incredibly bad things. A jealous mother-in-law tries to poison her own son's mind against his wife. A jealous sister-in-law plots to gain the upper hand in the household. A jealous sister tries to malign her blood sister's reputation. A jealous co-worker sabotages her colleague's work to move ahead. Older women don't support younger ones' aspirations and ways just because they didn't get resources, support and opportunities in their own lives! Jealous women even resort to black magic to ruin other women and their families.

In the race to be the most superior, popular and important, we fight and destroy each other, completely oblivious to the fact that they are failing miserably in the race of life. We say men are against women. But honestly, it is more women who are against women than men. Read history, look around you; you will see ample examples.

But why? Why can't women support each other and move ahead together?  Men all over world move together ahead with a spirit of brotherhood and comradeship. Why can't women? We are so busy in pulling each other down, that we fail to see that together we can be invincible. Together we can work wonders. Together we can create happier homes and societies. Together we can make workplaces more creative and positive. Together we can build a happier, safer and better world.

We talk about gender equality. So many people, groups, communities, forums and organizations are working towards gender parity and equality. But World Economic Forum predicts that the gender gap would not close entirely till the year 2186. That's almost 170 years from now. I believe that if women start working together, this gap can be bridged much faster.

Let's pledge to empower womanhood by empowering each other. Let's mentor younger women. Let's support each other in pain and suffering and uplift one another. Let's lead as well as enable other women to lead. Let's help each other by being truthful and honest in our opinions and advice. Let's give our daughter, sister, daughter-in-law, sister-in-law, younger colleagues what we didn't had or get. Let's be each others' strength and inspiration. Let's march ahead together, hand-in-hand, leaving no woman behind.

Cheers to universal sisterhood!

P.S.--The skeleton of this post had been sitting in my "Drafts" for two years. And finally it sees the light of day! Happy International Women's Day.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Make or Break

How do you feel in the aftermath of a fight or a tiff off with your spouse/partner? Are you able to go about your life as if nothing happened? Personally I feel as if something heavy is placed on my heart and the sun is not shining upon me anymore. May be you feel the same way too. Then how do you go on when the one thing you do consistently in your love life is fight?

When we are not at peace or happy in our personal relationships, we cannot do anything right. We cannot concentrate on any tasks at hand or carry out our duties/responsibilities properly. When our relationships are gloomy, everything around us become gloomy. And it applies to both partners, irrespective of their gender. 

Your partner is not a perfect person. But again nobody is perfect. So neither are you. But together you two can be perfect. When you accept a person in your life, you need to do that with all his/her imperfections and misgivings. 

We all commit mistakes in our lives. But we cannot hold grudges against each other for things we said or did in the past. Forgive and move on, that's the mantra. Else, you will only destroy yourselves and the people around you. It is hard to forgive, but it's much more harder to admit when we are wrong ourselves. But it is only wise to apologize and move on. Like love, forgiveness is also a two-way street. And open communication is the path. 
They say a woman can either make a home or break one. Yes, it is true. But step one is that a woman can either make her man or break him. Being a woman is not easy. And when it comes to being the woman in your man's life, it ​is not a piece of cake. Girlfriends and wives widely have the reputation of being naggers and destroyers of peace in their man's life, someone who enjoys wasting their man's hard earned money. We are the butt of all popular jokes in the market. Laugh they all may, but we play a life-changing role in our man's life.
Men may be strong physically; but emotionally, they are weak. And that's where we come in. We are the backbone o​f our man's life. Even though most of them will never admit it. They say that behind every successful man, there is a woman. True again. But other than professional, financial or social success, that success can very well be in the form of happiness, peace of mind and emotional stability as well. And when a man is emotionally stable, happy and at peace, he is all set to achieve anything he wants. 

I feel that being an woman is a process of continuous evolution. Becoming a wife from a girlfriend is the ultimate commitment. You become the better half of your man. And to truly become the better half, you have to first become a better person yourself.

Ladies, you have a much bigger role to play in the circle of life than you can ever imagine. It is you who has the true power to mold and nurture the family. You are the beginning of change because you set examples for the youngest generation. You can set the course of your personal life as well as the family at large in the direction you want. Mrs. Portokalos in the movie "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" rightly says that if the husband is called the head of the family, then the wife is the neck, and the head cannot move without the neck's cooperation!

A healthy marital partnership starts with being the solid shoulder of your husband in all spheres of life. You have to pick him up when he falls, correct him when he errs, be his honest critic and his north star. You are the one who can bring out the best as well the worst in him. You can be the rock which either  anchors him or shatters him. So, you will have to decide, whether you want to make your man or break him.

In the modern world of "feminism", I might be sounding like old school! I am not asking to you take shit. But we do not have the right to give shit either. After all, true feminism is about equality, isn't it? And no matter in which age we might live in, the ingredients of a healthy relationship are very much still the same.

More on nurturing a healthy relationship in "The Thing Called Love" .

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

The Bridal Camaraderie

A couple of months back, both SloMo and GB got married. It was a joint wedding and the whole month of October passed by in a hectic daze. GB moved away with Mom and Dad to pursue a career opportunity and his wife is likely to join him soon there. Mrs. SloMo moved in with us, maintaining our full house status. And I got a double promotion and became the eldest daughter-in-law among three.

Mrs. SloMo is kind of between jobs now and is mostly home. She spends her time doing her own personal tasks as well as the tedious household chores. She cooks a variety of dishes for all of us and keeps the laundry basket empty. She cleans things and coaxes the maid to clean hard-to-reach corners. Recently, she got some seasonal plants for the balcony. She tries to keep the house in order. Sigh, my heart goes out to her. She is acting exactly the same way I did when I moved into the house after I getting married. Yeah, been there, done that. But she does not know what I know, that one day she will tire out of putting in extra efforts and do only what is necessary. With so many people in the house, it is just next to impossible to have it the way you want.

Seeing my sister-in-law, I see myself four years back. As the newly appointed warden of the madhouse, I was determined to tame the characteristic males to help around the house. I determined to keep the house tidy an organized as I have seen my mother and grandmother doing. With plants, I wanted a bit of home with me. With her around the house, I get really nostalgic. I feel as if I have started to share a bit of camaraderie  with her. I share house management tips with her, my experiences and show her pictures of the flowers that bloomed in the same balcony. I understand the things that she must be going through I did as a new entrant in the house.

And  it suddenly struck me. There is a pattern to how every newly wedded girl behaves. We try to add positive enhancements to the place we live in. We want to bring in all the good things we have known and seen in running the house. We want to be appreciated for our efforts. We feel disconnected yet connected. We want be accepted. We look for our husbands' support all the time. We want to be praised. We want to be paid attention. We want to have our own corner. We want to have everything in order. We want to build an ideal home.We think we can be a superwoman!

Yeah, new brides do share a camaraderie.

By the way, Mrs. SloMo is not SloMo at all.