By Samarpita Mukherjee Sharma
Today is International Women’s Day.
I woke up this morning to have my mobile flooded with SMS(s) about how great a woman is and how lucky I am to be born as one. Well, I don’t need anyone telling me that…. But would Sahiba agree?
Sahiba and her misfortune were pushed to the farthest corner of my mind; until I sat down to write this. She was a 20-something Bangladeshi refugee I had met about 5 years ago. Here’s her story –
“Can I get some money in advance, please?” Sahiba, who worked in my aunt’s cottage in Mython, asked her. Her husband had got a job in Oman and while he would be earning well, his company had refused to pay for his flight.
My aunt gave her the money, which Sahiba promised to pay back in a month’s time.
Sahiba was excited. “He will earn three times of what he earns now,” she told me happily. I re-visited Mythion a few months ago and I found Sahiba to be a mere shadow of her former self. Her face looked pale and her eyes, bloodshot red, had deep hollows around them and her appetite had waned considerably.
I found her crying uncontrollably one day and when I asked her what the matter was, I learned that she and her husband had been legally wedded ten years ago by virtue of a Nikkah, but since her husband was completing his studies, and Sahiba was only twelve years old at the time, both families decided to delay the rukhsati. Ten years later, Fatima is working as a housemaid, a period during which her husband not only completed his studies, but had also found a job in Dhaka and then a better one in Dubai.
He had met someone else in Dhaka and married her. Now, very unceremoniously, he informed her that he cannot “maintain” her expenditure and the best way out would be divorce.
Once her utility was back to zilch, Sabiha’s husband dropped her like a hot potato and was never heard from again.
I wonder if Sabiha, back in Mython, even knows what today’s significance is? Does she know that the world is celebrating her existence? Would it matter to her, or scores of other women who are raped, beaten, left to die, not allowed to be educated…??
The whole world gets together this one day to celebrate woman and her existence, her sacrifices and her sufferings.
So, a question? Why does a woman need to justify herself. Why are the women the loudest in this day, screachin (yes, screaching) to any one who would like to wait and listen,
“If I have curves, I’m fat.. If I wear makeup, I’m fake.. If I dress up, I’m a Show off.. If I say what I think, I’m a bitch. If i say nothing i hv ‘attitude problem’, If I cry sometimes, I’m a drama queen.. If I have guy friends, I’m Fast. If I stand up for myself, I’m mouthy. Its like you can’t do anything nowadays without being labeled. So what? I give a damn!”
- We need to wax every 15 days.
- We have been and shall endure the horrors and pain of child birth, and we want to or not, we would still need to accept, “Child birth completes a woman”.
- We would still be the weaker sex, physically.
- We would still be beaten up, raped, mutilated and left to die.
- Women would still be referred to with derogatory words and judged about everything they do….or don’t!
- An outspoken and broadminded woman in a Corporate is regarded, subtly branded approachable right away.
- Actresses, be it Television or Cinema, Personal Secretaries, Models, Air-Hostesses, Housekeeping staff, Hotel Management industry people, those working under many of the verticals that are a subset of mediaindustry and a lot more fields where the glamour plays a predominant role, the women are mostly Character Assassinated (CAed) by default and retrospectively classified.
- Divorcees, spinsters and widows come under another larger section of women who are talked withandtalked about on such similar coveted lines.
- Women drivers, however accomplished, would still be made fun of!
Yes, the woman of 2011 has come a long way from where was restricted to, in say, 1911. But is it really commendable, when we still need a day to stand on building tops and yell about how great we are? Is it worth to be treated like a queen on one day of the year and be pushed and kicked around the rest of the days? Is it really a victory for a woman who has a successful career, but gets tortured at home, for money? Do the wins over poker at kitty parties make up for having to sleep with your husband’s friends, in return for office tenders?
Let aside all tortures inflicted by men on women, is it justified when educated, apparently modern women refuse to see their daughter’s face … just because she is a daughter?
With Aruna Shanbagh and her misfortune so fresh in everyone’s memory, ever wondered – what today means to her? A 20-year-old, raped and abandoned by family and fiancée, who was choked with a leash and
raped after the oxygen supply was cut-off to her brain – how liberated does she feel today?
Disclaimer: The above mentioned is my opinion documented randomly and any resemblance to something you have seen or heard of, is purely intentional!!!