Happy Women’s Day! (?)

It was 9 in the morning and I was deep in sleep when a barrage of messages popped up on my phone, one after the other, all of them wishing me a happy Women’s Day. And, all I could think was “Oh, joy.”

Now, don’t get me wrong, being a woman is not bad. But I honestly don’t think there is anything in my life worth celebrating. And I wanted to text back to those people who woke me up this morning with their pointless messages, “What is so great about being a woman that you want me to be happy about it?”

Which brings me to the question – Am I happy being a woman in India?

The answer, of course, is no. It is a huge understatement to say that equality has not been achieved in my country. This is true because of various reasons, not the least of which is the fact that gender roles in India are steeped so deeply in cultural and religious views. When it comes to women, India has always had more rigid parameters than the Western countries. I mean, the obviously evil practices of sati and child marriage weren’t abolished until after the British decided to colonize India. Western influence has been good for us in a way.

So, women are considered equals in the Western countries, right? From a very young age, my generation of Indian youngsters have been raised to believe that the men and women of Western countries are shameless, wild people, running around fucking anything that comes in their way. Granted, they do have a very laid back attitude to sex. But in our eyes, they are promiscuous, perpetually horny people with no modesty or family values. Whereas in India, we pride ourselves on our modesty. Virginity is considered sanctimonious and holy especially when it comes to girls. But in western countries, women are not judged based on whether or not they’re virgins. They are not expected to give up their careers when they get married. So, they have achieved equality, right? I don’t think so. Sometimes I find it hard to believe the amount of hatred shown by these “Western” men towards women on the Internet. Some of their opinions make them sound like they came right from cave men times.

But let’s go back to talking about equality in India. In India, women are still expected to cook and clean and wash clothes even though we get the same education as men, the same wages as men and work at the office for the same hours everyday as men.

When I was fourteen, we had guests over at our house one day. When it was time for lunch to be served, my mother called me up and asked me to set the table. I had been watching something on the computer with my brother. I remember whining about why my brother got to keep watching the movie, but I had to do chores. My mother always asked me to do these household chores like folding clothes, serving food to people and washing dishes. It always bugged me when she didn’t ask my brother to do anything. These may seem like harmless examples, but they matter. Equality begins at home. It begins with what we teach our sons and daughters.

Women were once full-time housewives. It made sense for them to take care of all household chores. But now, most of us have jobs, but still we are expected to slave away at home. I know for a fact that many of my lady co-workers wake up several hours before their husbands do, just so they could serve coffee and breakfast to him in the morning. When will men stop feeling so entitled?

And speaking of entitled men, I have never seen my father do one household chore in my entire life. Lunch  or dinner? Someone has to serve him food. Even if it is just reheating food in the microwave, he has someone else do it for him. And after the meal, he doesn’t even pick up his dirty dishes from the table, let alone wash them. Someone else has to do it for him. But the worst part is that my mother cleans up after my father with no complaints. It doesn’t occur to her that it is not normal to act this way. My father drops his dirty clothes on the floor and my mother picks them up and washes them. He litters the floor with trash and my mother cleans it up. My mother is like a servant in our house. Is this what I’m supposed to celebrate on Women’s Day?

Forget about the countless rape cases happening across India. What about treating women with respect and dignity at home? Stop looking at women as second-class citizens and the rapes and sexual assaults will definitely take a downturn.

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Girl With Daddy Issues

I came across a quiz today about the relationship between a girl and her father. This got me thinking about my relationship with my father.

I’ve already said this a million times in my previous posts, but I’ll say it again – I don’t trust people easily, especially men, and the reason for this is my father. I used to be pretty close to him until I was ten, eleven years old. As I became more mature, my relationship with my father also began to morph.

My father has never been a particularly affectionate person. Even when I was close to him, I was scared of him. He is like a ticking timebomb – no one can predict when he might explode. Yeah, he is short-tempered, but he is also unreasonable and paranoid, which is a very bad combination. He is also dominant, loud and obnoxious. He also used to hit me and my brother when he was angry. On top of that, he has what you might call a male sense of entitlement and pride that all Indian men seem to have. This sense of entitlement makes him treat my mother like a servant – as if her sole purpose in life is to cook for and clean after her husband and kids. He trusts no one but himself, not even his wife and kids. He is also, I’m starting to think, slightly delusional as he thinks God sends him messages, instructing him how to lead his life. He has delusions of grandeur because of which he believes that he is better/more special than everyone else.

Growing up, I didn’t get from him the kind of love and affection you’re supposed to get from a father. Therefore, I’m much more closer to my mother, which is something my father resents.

My father prides himself on his command over the English language. When I told him I wanted to be a writer, he told me I was not good enough. When I showed him what I had written, he told me I was still not good enough and asked me to give up on my dream. On another occasion, he told me that I was nothing special, that I was never going to be a writer and that I should do something more useful with my life. My mother is the exact opposite. To borrow a quote from “Juno”, no matter what, she still thinks the sun shines out my ass.

Slowly over the years, I have started to hate my father. I know for a fact my mother hates him. And my brother also doesn’t seem to like him very much, I think (Like me, my brother also doesn’t wear his heart on his sleeve, so I can’t be sure). So, yeah, no one likes my father, not even his own family. I just hope one day he can see how much he has lost because of his actions, but knowing him, that’s unlikely.

So, coming back to the quiz, here‘s a link to it. It has only ten questions, so it won’t take up too much of your time. Anyway, according to the quiz, my role in my relationship with my father is that of a “disappointed daughter”. How true. This is what the quiz has to say about me:

Your father might as well be a stranger you met in the street. It’s a chilly relationship between the pair of you, and you are quite aware of this. You are distanced from each other and there is no strong tie. You probably need to grieve for the father you can’t have and get on with finding the real you. You were, at least, given a certain amount of independence when you were growing up, and you have been able to get on with life despite the father-shaped gap. Yet this has also made you slightly distant with other people, especially men, who you always fear will disappoint you. You feel persistent regret at the fact that you have missed the chance to get to know your father. You started off with a negative image of him (perhaps encouraged by what your mother has said) but ended up blaming yourself, coming to the conclusion that you weren’t worth his love. You think to yourself: if my own father’s not even interested in me, what do I expect other men to see in me? Inside there is a little girl who doesn’t understand where it all went wrong. Your father has failed to do his job and he doesn’t know how to show his feelings towards you. Try and talk to him. Better late than never — it’s still possible to form a bond. If you have already tried to contact him and have had no response try to build your self-esteem and remind yourself that not all men are like him. Plenty of them would relish the chance to get to know you… and love you too.

Here‘s another interesting article I read about daddy issues. I can relate to many of the points highlighted in the article like “only dating older men” (I feel attracted towards older men), “confused expectations” (I send men mixed signals – the article nailed this point), “extremely mistrustful” (needs no elaboration), “sexual aggression” (I can be a little promiscuous i.e. I am a slutty virgin) and “Constantly questioning him about his feelings for you” (I kinda obsess about what guys think of me).

So, yeah. I am planning to read more about how to overcome my daddy issues. Let’s see how that goes.