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Ruchira does some serious soul searching on International Women’s Day. She asks women to rise above petty issues to empower each other. A Different Truths exclusive.
Women are possibly the most egoistic and self-centred creatures under the sun. None to match. Coming from a woman, sounds crazy, doesn’t it? Having seen fifty winters and more, I cash on my personal experiences. The natural bonhomie (call it bromance if you will) that surfaces between even strange men are not so palpable among women. Treat them with love, pamper them, cater to all their whimsies and they will probably make you feel that they are the sweetest little creatures upon this earth. But, annoy them even the slightest, and Heaven help you! ‘Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned,’ goes the adage.
The days when females were doormats…are passé.
The days when females were doormats – docile, obsequious creatures giving their all, accepting their fate stoically, expecting nothing in return – are passé. Naturally, the basic attributes, hitherto dormant, emerge even more powerful.
In the most ordinary of homes, if there are two sisters or more, you will find jealousy &/or rivalry (subtle or surfeit) at every step: who is taller, prettier, fairer, more intelligent, gifted with a luxuriant mane and so forth. They also vie for parents’ affection and attention all the time. Such ego-related matters permeate adult lives: educational qualifications, jobs, income, status, the list is endless!
When it comes to love life (read men), members of the fair sex can easily swing into combat mode.
When it comes to love life (read men), members of the fair sex can easily swing into combat mode. There are innumerable instances where younger sisters end up marrying the lovers of their older siblings, leaving the latter to rue their fate – remember Ritwik Ghatak’s Meghe Dhaka Tara! Or, having conceived a passion for the brother-in-law, some merrily carry on with an extramarital liaison, lifelong, with no compunction for the married sister.
Again, the picture changes with the arrival of kids. No matter how close they may be, each sister wants her children to get maximum attention from maternal grandparents. An invisible war breaks out. I recall how on one occasion, my aunt was cuddling the infant of her daughter A. Daughter B looked on, jealousy writ large on her face; my aunt noticed it, and forthwith she folded both the kids into a loving embrace. The crisis was over. That is a good example as any.
Nothing else can inflate the female ego the way jewellery does.
Another sensitive area is jewellery, particularly in the Indian milieu. Women who are not too keen to load themselves with jewellery are hard to find. Nothing else can inflate the female ego the way jewellery does. For women it is commonplace to show off their jewellery at workplaces, weddings, parties and festivals. The soft targets are sisters, brothers’ wives, husbands’ siblings and sisters-in-law. Often mothers, aunts and mothers-in-law get dragged into the melee!
Post family-weddings and deaths of aged relatives there often ensues fierce rivalry over who got what from the departed souls. Indeed it would be hard to keep a record of jealousies, bad blood, snide comments and even hatred which these pieces of metal and gemstones create!
I conclude with a classic example of how ambitious women and go-getters make conquests in terms of relationships. A distant relative of mine was into, well, not-so-blissful matrimony, as father of two young boys, when he accosted this modern superwoman. She was an issueless divorcee. It appears there was instant chemistry between the two of them. Two years later, he walked out on the boys and their mother and entered a brave new domain. That was two decades ago. The dramatic duo is reportedly having a whale of a time (the family grapevine says) with many children of their own. While the aggrieved woman has made her sons the pivot point of her life!
I am not here to nitpick or find fault with my gender. Instead, I appeal to each one of us to search our souls, accept our mistakes, rectify them and move on.
Wish ordinary, faceless women, like you and me, sank all their differences and celebrated sisterhood.
Wish ordinary, faceless women, like you and me, sank all their differences and celebrated sisterhood. Hope we understand the diabolical ploy of the patriarchal system that enslaves us to petty issues.
We, the women, must fight many demons, give both the sexes their due to empowering themselves and many others. Perhaps that’s what the theme of this year’s International Women’s Day, “Better the balance, better the world” seeks to achieve.
Come, Sisters, surge forward and walk tall!
Let’s celebrate #BalanceForBetter and #IWD2019 in its true spirit.
©Ruchira Adhikari Ghosh
Photos from the Internet