12 Apr The Modern Day Woman of Today
Love is hard. It always has been so. Life, not so much.
Why then do we make things complicated and take love to be the easy bit while making our own lives difficult through our actions and decisions? What makes us not take the challenges that life throws at us seriously enough and instead add more of our own.
I recently caught up with a friend of mine, who was visiting Delhi for a couple of days. We had met a few months ago and hit it off instantly. This was the second time we were meeting and although we were no school time besties, it didn’t take long for us to open up to each other and share our thoughts uninhibitedly.
An uninterrupted two hours over food and non-alcoholic beverages (I specify non-alcoholic lest someone attribute our emotional talks to the effects of alcohol) brought us even closer than before.
Sitting in the plush comfy environs, emboldened by the dark ambiance of the pub, we poured our hearts out to each other. We chatted about stories of our painful pasts, single status woes, fears of loneliness and dreams of the future.
As I heard her out, I was at a loss of words. Her story was similar to mine in a lot of ways; yet different. Her wounds were fresher (For me, it’s been more than 5 years. The wounds have healed but the scars remain) and I listened more than I talked. I couldn’t offer any sympathies because that would have been no help at all. I couldn’t offer any advice because I didn’t want to be that person either – doling out meaningless advice, without really understanding the problem. I am often jokingly told that I should have been a counselor and yet, I didn’t know what to say. Was it because this was a story too close to home? Was it because this was a story of every woman out there?
It surprised, no stunned me to realize how similar our stories were: falling in love with the wrong person, giving up our all for him, going out of our way to make it work, fighting with parents in favour of him, only for it all to end badly and at the end of it all, being blamed for it. The guy walks away with the sympathies while the blame falls squarely on our shoulders. All the name-calling, slut-shaming, blame games are reserved for the girl. This story isn’t just mine, or hers. It is of other women too.
Is it because we, women, are the emotional fools? I would like to believe not, because men can be emotional too. Is it more to do with the Indian society, that places the man on a godly pedestal and the woman at his feet, to serve and please him? I certainly think this is true.
I also find more inclined towards believing in this logic, as it gives me solace and comfort for the other woman out in the world. At least they are not subjected to such treatment as us Indian women, I re-assure myself.
We pride ourselves on being these ‘modern, progressive thinking’ women of today. We look down upon those who cling to age-old schools of thought like a woman should look after the kids and the kitchen. We refuse to marry men who want a ‘homely’ wife. And yet, here we are, defining ourselves from the identities of the men in our lives and deriving our happiness from theirs.
Today’s modern day woman may happily be in favour of stylish skirts and trendy tops (that’s what I was wearing!) as a symbol of renouncing age-old traditions that promote husband-worship like the practice of draping the pallu over our heads or touching the husband’s feet.
But are we really who we believe ourselves to be? Are we any different from the pallu draped women in the saas-bahu serials we so detest and love to rip apart? We roll our eyes and lament our regressive society when a sari-clad woman agonizes all day over her husband’s poor opinion of her or in an attempt to please him goes out of her way, however unreasonable his demands or expectations may be.
We take pride in being called ‘feminists’ because we are the modern day women.
She can’t just sit at home and prepare meals or look after kids. She is informed and aware. She is more worldly wise than her male counterparts and can hold her own in a living room discussion on world politics. She may be a highly qualified academician, an amazing cook or a dress designer, or even a popular television actress like Partyusha Bannerjee. She may be up to date with the latest fashion trends like my friend or a self-proclaimed ‘budding author’ like me.
And yet, we all allow ourselves to be defined by the men in our lives. Our single-lady status is what puts us on the back foot and we describe ourselves as ‘complete’ only when there is a man beside us.
Why do we depend on a man to complete us? Why do we crave love and attention from someone else? Why so much focus on marriage, and having a man to take care of us? Is this what society has done to us, or is it something that we have inflicted on ourselves?
Needless to say, I was there for my friend exactly as I should be – a comforting hand, a supportive ear but beyond that, I can do nothing. Her pain was real and I wish I could solve her problems for her. But I can’t. No one can.
This is a journey of ‘realization of self-worth’ that each woman needs to undertake, on her own and sooner its done, the better.
That’s when we will truly be the free-thinking modern women of today.
Pingback:Modern Woman | Blogger's World!Posted at 16:22h, 12 April
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sassandsaucePosted at 16:53h, 12 April
Yes I absolutely agree.. sometimes break ups are good.. because they show us that we can survive ( and actually thrive) without a guy.. when we are in a relationship we tend to forget that we are functional entities.. instead we need to be balanced.. dream our own dream, cultivate our own interests, make our own friends.. we need to have our own life outside our relationship.. I hope we all succeed..
Wandering SoulPosted at 17:10h, 12 April
Very well said. We need to have a identity outside of our relationships. Thanks for adding that. 🙂
xaranaharaPosted at 23:02h, 19 May
mandibelle16Posted at 18:08h, 12 April
Excellent article. I share similar feelings with you although Canada isn’t India so I would say the pressure to please a man you want to marry or are going marry etc above all, is not an issue most of the time. However, my Mother and Grandma both tell me stories of my one Grandpa and Dad being tight-fisted with money when they were younger. These women chose to stay home and raise their kids because they believed it was the better thing to do with the kids. But a woman still has needs for toiletries, makeup, clothing, and a bit of money to spend freely. Men don’t think about this always and do not realize women cost more then men do.
My Mom started working part-time when we were in elementary school and later full time when I was finishing up Junior High. She is proud and happy to have her own money to spend. She paid for a lot of extra things like driving lessons, private school etc but she also now had her own spending money. My Dad is a great deal better with sharing his pay-cheque too.
My Grandma ended up having to tell my Grandpa she needed to have money for necessities and a few treats. When he passed on, she was happy to shop where she wanted etc. As a modern women, it is my goal to have my own income and to have my own place. I’d like to meet the right guy but I don’t want to have to depend on him financially all the time.
Thanks for sharing, sorry for the long comment 🙂 It must be your writing that inspires me to write such long comments/pieces 🙂
xaranaharaPosted at 22:23h, 19 May
I can understand this comment. I feel that way, too, although I actually need to be more frugal.
Infinite LivingPosted at 20:41h, 12 April
Very well said! I think it doesn’t matter whether you wear a saree or a skirt, whether you come across as traditional or modern because of that … it is how you value yourself as part of the relation, how much you contribute to the relation willingly while expecting the same in return.
Megha AgrawalPosted at 02:07h, 13 April
I’m lost of words here, want to so much but thinking of words.
First of all Piyusha you are a strong lady, it takes courage to share part of your life here. Since I got to know you I found you so inspiring. Coming up with new and interesting things on blog.
What’s done is done is done it cannot be undone. Look forward you have a great life ahead. You are intelligent, beautiful and hardworking and you deserve better things in life than worrying about things that don’t deserve your attention.
Feelings and FreedomPosted at 05:33h, 13 April
Life is full of choices Piyusha. And every human mind has capabilities of his own and it manipulates the situation as per his own understanding and benefit. I firmly believe that each good or bad event in our life teaches us something for a stronger tomorrow. But everyone travels his journey in his own way. Be it a man or woman, surrendering to situation or people is never a good choice. Also, we should learn to ignore things or people that bother us. You are a strong person and your journey will be beautiful. Believe me !! Just trust Him 🙂
Wandering SoulPosted at 06:40h, 13 April
Thank you, Vandana! Sincerely appreciate your kind words. Feel blessed to have such people as you around me. 🙂
MindandLifeMattersPosted at 11:21h, 13 April
I agree with you on this although I believe that to an extent we woman let ourselves think that we are not complete without a man and then make ourselves believe that it’s not our belief but the society’s! The day we start to believe that we are complete in ourselves without a care for what the society thinks of us, that will be the day that we are truly free!
Wandering SoulPosted at 14:50h, 13 April
True, Rashmi. Very well put. I am still to experience that freedom. 🙂
Sejal VashiPosted at 18:04h, 13 April
So nicely written . Can understand the agony you hv portrayed in the write up. But I would like to add another dimension if I may. This feeling of being lost without a partner exists for men too. I hv seen many of my male friends going through the pain of not hvng found a partner while their friends are already fathers is as bad as it is for women. Men and women are yin and yang . One compliments the other. To some extent one completes the other. But only wen u find the right person. Till then u can learn to be yin and yang both. 🙂
Wandering SoulPosted at 18:10h, 13 April
Aah! Your reply helps understand this issue better and answers some questions. Thank you. 🙂
Kay MitchellPosted at 06:17h, 14 April
I think these are traditions set by men, especially on your side of the world. They make the rules and force women to play by them. But, times are changing. Women do not HAVE to be defined by a male counter part. It’s like the saying goes, “it’s not the name that you are called, but the one you answer to.” I can say that I have seen both sides of this. I have a strong mother who has, mostly, independently taken care of my siblings and I, not solely depending on a man to get things done. She worked hard, bought us clothes and shoes, made sure we got most of what we wanted for Christmas, etc. On the other hand, my oldest sister is more dependent on her husband (despite the many reasons he gives for her to leave him). He is the bread winner and ultimately the boss and she accepts that. I don’t judge or take favor of either situation. It’s all about choices, I guess. Now, what about you Kay, you may be thinking. I chose to be with women! lol So my personal experience is a bit limited but I shared what I have seen. Good luck to you! Just always remember your worth!
Sonali MukherjeePosted at 12:02h, 16 April
Very true, feminism and modern day women are recent as compared to previous beliefs. To combat years of being suppressed or treated differently, a couple of years fall short. However, the fact that we question such behaviour is testament to how far we have come from the stereotypes of women set by Indian society.
timelesswheelPosted at 03:08h, 21 April
Excellent post. I completely relate to it. The journey of self worth and awareness is what it all comes down to I guess.
xaranaharaPosted at 22:26h, 19 May
I am in no way a traditional woman, so I can relate to this post. I, too, have been hurt by men, but I definitely do not give up on them. My fiancé is great, and he and I work well, despite us being chaotic sometimes. I believe that everyone has the right to be himself/herself, whether traditional or “modern.”