Feminism isn’t a threat; it’s a need! Feminism doesn’t mean women being more equal; it represents true equality! Because of many such powerful, thoughtful women, now women can vote and are able to fight to prove their existence. ‘Equality and respect’ is the agenda.
The concept of surname/last name suggests we all are part of patriarchal societies, and in certain cultures, it’s still a struggle for a girl child to enjoy life. And in certain others, it’s a struggle for a female foetus to push her way out of a mother’s womb. It’s also strange that many support female prosperity and empowerment within their families, but not as societies! Me too is just another example of the same global scenario.
I should also remind fellow women to be bold and confident as they are! We don’t need plastic surgeries to be endowed or put makeup on to please others. Every human being looks beautiful with a smile on their face and empathy and love for others.
Anyway, I met a good friend after a gap. She looked brave and beautiful after a double mastectomy in early Jan. Not sure why three out of five I meet in the US have had or been diagnosed with cancer. Thanks to advanced medical research and technology, lives are saved. I’m even prouder of the women who are part of science, technology, self-defense, et al., and role models of exemplary nurture-building progressive societies. Such strong women are an inspiration. We want women to be bold mentally and strong physically. Happy women’s day!
A mother/amma is the one who has warmth and cares for anyone who needs it; needless to say, we all do, don’t we? One need not deliver an offspring to be called a Mother. Not everyone who does can be a caring mother. To all those wonderful beings who nurture anyone in need with care and love – Happy Mother’s Day!
It will take me another forty years to describe my mum, Sarada, her warmth, and nurture. Born in an affluent family, being raised with utmost love, she molded herself to the needs of the family she is married into. My dad hailed from a lower middle class and always was quenched in his thirst for knowledge, but he had the responsibilities of his siblings-older and younger. At a very young age of 21, he joined as a lecturer and continued his quest to learn deeper and more by doing Ph.D. But alongside, my mum was the one who had a lot of compromises and sacrifices to make to let everything run smoothly.
Over time, with my dad, Dr. Ayalasomayajula Gopalarao garu, becoming a well-respected and busier literary personality, she resigned from her job as a teacher at a school where my sister and I studied, and continued her studies online and earned her master’s degree. But, none of us had to do any compromises that may have had her duties lessened. My mum, who never cooked until she got married, believed the same in raising us. She always believed women should be financially independent and thus always did what she had to, to make us totally believe that we were in the ‘student phase’- only studying and having the fun a child deserves, and encouraging us to make great friendships- nothing else was thrust upon us! At that point, me and my sister were the only ones from our neighbourhood who went to an English medium private school that was then the top most rated in the town! My dad took every cue my mum gave him with regards to our raising. To date, she has this fascination of speaking fluently in English- that I am sure, we, as her daughters fulfilled.
My dad growing up with financial restraints and unable to study at University as a full-time student, always had a special place for students with similar struggles. So, he continued the tradition of ‘varalabbay’– feeding students on 2-3 specified days of the week at home. He couldn’t have done these without my mum’s support as she has to cook fresh for all of us on those days, and not an easy task! Those students considered my parents as theirs.
One of the best memories from childhood usually are the birthday parties. Until now without needing any reminders, friends and relatives wish me on my birthday only because of how my mum used to host the parties. Dad is also all up for celebrations too. Mum is an excellent cook and used to bake egg-less cakes in a pressure cooker on the sand in place of water. Those were the days sans internet- WOW! The other regular birthday dish was ‘saimya pulao‘. The whole neighbourhood buzzed with her hospitality. I have had so much fun celebrating birthdays with friends as a kid and a young adult, now I make it a point that I celebrate it not by partying but by giving it to those in need. Here, I have to thank my husband, who cares and shares this joy of giving.
My mum is a softhearted person with self-respect and due respect for others. I am sort of short-tempered, and all she tells me is to hold on to my emotions and reminds me not to let them loose; however others may behave, I shouldn’t change my core principles but be my caring self; I shouldn’t do anything that makes me regret of my deeds in years to come. A tough ask, but I am trying my best. At this juncture, I must mention my maternal grandparents, who were as soft and enamored with this culture of spreading love and warmth.
Mathru devo bhawa, Pitru bevo bhawa acharya devo bhawa Athidhi devo bhava –Respects to Mother, Father, Guru, and Guest. They are all forms of God. This is the culture that nurtured me and alike.
We, women, don’t need any lost sandals leading cues for princes to rescue. We don’t want any extended periods of sleep that could be broken only by a kiss; we don’t need any stardom to kill us with paparazzi; we don’t need any sympathy to be recognised as women. We don’t need any domestic violence that presses us to put the heavy makeup on; we don’t need any benevolence to look after our interests, needs, and rights. Maybe we don’t need any change of identity. Change of surname (last name), including the first name, is still prevalent across many cultures. Pets in some countries lead a better life than women in certain parts. Aren’t we one equal?
“Me too”- how is it going to change the fate of a woman? That was my original thought. But lately, it dawned on me, to speak up itself is a giant leap, and the exploitation happening in Hollywood is just the tip of the iceberg. A baby boy’s struggle inside the womb of a mother, also a woman, gives immense strength for him to dominate the “more equal” game once he is out! Is it the right of every “man” to dominate the world the way he desires? For women, it’s an everyday struggle right from fighting for the right to vote to equal pay act to possessing a driver’s license; studying to attend basic needs is still a dream for many. It’s not a pertinent problem limited to just the underdeveloped or the developing countries. It’s the fight even in the developed countries by women, for women, to women– to be safer at least in the future. Physical abuse, body shaming, and luring have been happening everywhere. Power to suppress comes with money, and women themselves are also part of that ‘powerful group.’ That’s sickening!
It’s shocking to find ‘numbers to call to talk in private’ about domestic violence in women’s restrooms in certain developed countries’ maternity wards! It’s also depressing to see a man draws more salary than a woman for the same job.
It’s a shame that ‘every’ Indian reacted, showed empathy, sympathy towards Hollywood’s ‘me too’ campaign. But when it comes to cleaning their backyard, everyone is ‘naive.’ As rightly pointed out by one lady activist on an Indian discussion channel, can any Indian movies be made without attempting rapes or abusing the vulnerable on the name of the casting couch? Now, for that matter, can any movie be made without the dirty acts? Let’s weave strong communities /neighbourhoods that are safer for girl children and imbibe just and equal thoughts in the minds of everyone. Can women join hand in hand and give the vulnerable a supporting hand? In many religions, goddesses in idol form are prayed every day for wealth and prosperity by men. But women in real life accept and succumb to the harsh brutalities. Humanism should be on the agenda.
Let’s welcome millions of to-be-men being born this second across the globe who could be deciding the fate of women across. Let’s hope these boys of the future generations rise with equality in their thoughts and deeds. We ought to raise a toast to those men who celebrate the women in their lives at this juncture.
My two cents would be that every child, especially girls, must get trained in some form of martial arts and must carry a physically strong too outlook! Maybe more boys in ballet and more girls in kick-boxing :)!