Labels are attached to bottles and jars
No one dares to label the twinkling stars
Labelling makes one incomplete and short
One should live life to the fullest, with all effort
Women are vulnerable, to this society and men
But they’ve immense potential, beauty and brain
Break free those boxes you’re put in, my dears
Embrace your AND, discarding hesitation and fears.
Women are often stereotyped in our society. I was no exception to that. In my childhood, I loved to play outdoor games like football, cricket and badminton. I was not a good player but just liked the excitement that were attached to a sixer ( the rule was that if the ball went beyond a particular tree, it was SIX ) or the ‘goal’, ‘goal’ shout which was the essence of football. But this inclination for outdoor games, which I played most of the times with boys, earned me many criticisms like,”It’s not good that being a girl she is playing with boys” or, “Why play outside? You’ll suffer in the future when your fair complexion get tanned.” There was a litany of complaints! Surprisingly, those comments used to come not from my parents, but friends and relatives.
The society tried to put labels even in my activities. But I was equally comfortable with dolls AND cricket bats. I indulged myself in indoor as well as outdoor games.
Drawing and dancing were my favourite pastime. Maa admitted me to a Drawing School. A teacher was also appointed to teach me Bharatnatyam. After a few peaceful years, when I was in my tenth standard, again my well-wishers started saying that it would be a mammoth task to manage painting, dancing and study, simultaneously. They even opined that I won’t be able to score high in the board exam with all those things going along, and, I should either concentrate on studies OR on those activities. How I hated those options! Why OR? I can be a good student AND an aspiring dancer AND a moderately good artist at the same time. Why should be one-dimensional?
This labelling of society is more prone towards women. Even when I grew up, I faced such criticisms. “You can either be a good mother OR a businesswoman”. Let me ask, why can’t I be both? AND I’ve proved that I can. I can run a business in the stock-market AND I can be a regular contributor to a popular monthly Bengali magazine. I can be a good daughter AND a loving wife AND a responsible mom AND an occasional dancer AND painter AND a teacher ( I love to teach students and I do it on a weekly basis, presently, I’ve four students) AND I love to cook.
I love to add ‘ANDS’ in my life. My blog represents my spirit too. Here, on ‘Scattered Thoughts’, I write poems AND fictions AND haiku AND reviews. I post photographs AND participate in contests AND do share my views on social issues.
All said so far is not a bloviation but just to make the society aware of the fact that each and every woman is multifaceted. It’s not justified to put a label on them. They should be given a chance to show their potential. Let them come out of their confinement. Inspire them and say #UseYourAnd.
Acknowledging Ranju’s tag