Have you see how a butterfly flaps his wings with a renewed vigour when it comes out of its cocoon?
Have you observed how the queen bee with her team of male bees works flawlessly as a team in constructing the honey comb?
Have you noticed how the stray mongrel wags his tail on seeing you as you pass by him everyday on your walk?
There is a strong chance that many of us overlook these beautiful creations of God because we are busy fighting. We are busy pulling each other down! We are busy trying to show the world that we are worthy, rather worthier than many. We are busy talking about the over hyped and less understood term – gender equality!
Grossly, I would say.
I usually shy away from debates on gender equality and feminism. Ironically a decade back, I was waiting to jump at every opportunity to argue with someone and, prove my point on these topics. No wonder, I was labelled the best debater in school. And, I thought it was a good thing then. However it was a good thing. Only then. Now, the debates are more about shaming the opposite gender and, doing ridiculous things in the name of feminism. One cannot prove a point when people around do not want to listen. Perhaps, ‘the thirties’ have calmed me down. So, I don’t like to entertain debates and arguments of any kind. However of late, the articles that are being put on blogs regarding women are cheesing me off! And, I have come to believe that feminism is either grossly misunderstood or, the definition has changed for worse. Why I chose to write about this topic? A lot that has happened in the past few months forced me to pen down my thoughts.
Apparently, I have been stumbling on and off over this annoying ‘taking selfie while breastfeeding’ mania. Understandably, the message about breastfeeding is genuine and if you aren’t aware, DD has been voicing it subtly, loudly and in many other ways since the nineties! But now, the trend of ‘being noticed’ is the real deal om social networking as I saw countless pictures f women posting their selfies while breastfeeding their babies, floating on various forums! And you know how it is. Unless you post on FB your opinions on how, why and what, the world is condemned to be think and judge otherwise! Or, is it some sort of fame? I am not sure.
I am a mother too and, my son is five now. I have breast fed my child for two complete years. And considering I had been traveling a lot back then, I have breastfed my son in many public places like railway station, trains, cafes, temples and all. I vividly remember the initial discomfort that tagged along the first time. And then, my mother told me something that totally crushed my squeamishness. She said, “Narayani! Have you ever seen those laborers at the construction site? They do not have the luxury of travelling in cars or, having a good clothing or even, sending their kids to school. They are deprived of basic privileges at many levels that we take for granted. But the best part about them is they don’t care much for what the world thinks about them. For them, the priority is feeding their family for the day. And, breast feeding their babies is a natural thing to them. When such a natural thing is so unnoticed by us despite us being aware of it, why are we being in a better place so squeamish about it, or touch the other extremes – rave about it? Child birth is natural. Breast feeding is natural. What is the big deal?”
Which is precisely why both of us were amused when we came across these pics under the banner on why breastfeeding in public shouldn’t be looked down upon. And, there was a whole forum advocating women to put selfies of breastfeeding. Seriously? Who told these ladies that it was looked down upon? Who on earth told these ladies that it wasn’t fine? See, I totally get the genuine idea of propagating the importance of breastfeeding. I advocate it too! In fact, if my health was good enough then, I would have breast fed my child for a couple of years more! Even DD has been advocating the importance of breast feeding for years (Who watches DD these days, anyways?) What I don’t get is breastfeeding and taking a selfie while doing it! Seriously? Is that selfie thing that necessary? Duh!
The Reprehensible FemiNazi!
A few months earlier, there was a big hoopla over women not being allowed inside the Shani temple. I have never been to this temple. Rather, I have not been to many temples and yet, I am a believer. That said, I come from a spiritual and, a God loving family (NOT a God fearing one!) wherein I have been taught that God is a friend and so, I can remember HIM and pray to HIM anytime of the day. To put it simply, I have been raised with the words – Your Work is your God and Mind is your temple! Hence, I don’t get the misguided rage of this woman versus man thing when it comes to visiting temples! I would probably pray to Lord Shani in my humble home rather than fighting a deluded crowd of fanatics, and then get into the temple and then pray to HIM with the intent of proving some sort of contorted context on gender equality! After all, weren’t we all taught – God is omnipresent! I believe in it still! For instance, a naughty baby monkey hanging upside down from the branch of a jamun tree in my garden or, a mother langur guarding her baby and cuddling it, hugging it in its warmth and, planting kisses on its little forehead overwhelms me with love of God! What I am implying here is, if you love God, you will find Him in the million minuscule happenings around you rather than seeking HIM in that one big idol inside the temple. But that would need a great deal of courage to believe in the fact that, God is as much present in you as much as you intend seeking HIM in the saligramam of the temple. And, I am not even touching the topic of religion because it reminds me of the one line from the movie OMG! – “dharam – woh insan ko bebas banata hai ya phir aatankwadi!” I would leave it at that!
There is something about the design!
If you take a close look at Nature, you would understand that gender disparity is not exactly human’s topic of discussion. Take a closer look at animals. They have been designed differently by the virtue of their position in the eco-chain! For instance, Lions have a patriarchal setup. A lion at any point of time may court two to three lionesses who breed the cubs for him. Besides in the lion king’s world, it is the females that go hunting. Not because, the lion king is lazy. Perhaps, the design is such that in case, the lionesses fail, it is only then, the king of the jungle steps in. However, in their arch rivals – the hyenas, it is an absolute matriarchal setup! The queen of the pack decides everything, right from training the babies to shaping them into adults with impeccable hunting skills, portioning the meals for the entire pack and, even deciding the next queen in line! A queen bee works as a team with her male counterparts and, handles her crown with elegance because her team of male bees obey her well. Whereas, if you observe cobras, they are mystic creatures with a cannibalistic side. A male cobra if is unable to mate with the female it chose and, should it by any chance discover that the female is already carrying, he attacks her violently and kills her and even at times, tries to swallow her up! However, a human was destined to bring a difference in the world. Because, a man and a woman are like the two halves of God’s creation that need each other to complete the circle of life! One needs the other at some time or the other in the lifetime not for the sole reason of creating a life, but for also living it together with a purpose. Which is why, discussing gender equality by bashing men or women for that matter, is futile! I say – A man and a woman are meant to be a team. Both can achieve heightened success individually too. However, as a team, they would be a revelation.
Calling a woman superior to a man or saying, a man is stronger than a woman is downright ridiculous.
Get the ‘Feminism’ right!
Now, let’s talk about Feminism. For me, it is bringing out the passion within a woman and, flaring that passion into something beautiful, creative and inspiring and importantly, without bashing the opposite gender. In my growing years, I always thought that gender bashing was the real deal. There have been countless instances wherein I have fought with the boys of my class in school and, trying to prove that the female brigade was superior. And over the years of crossing from the confusing teens to the complex twenties and then, making it to the mellowing thirties, I have realized how childish and immature that sounds now. I am blessed with a husband who tells me everyday – “Narayani! You are doing a fantastic job! If the day is hard on you, it is fine…Take a time out!.” I have a son who despite being scolded and reprimanded countless times in a day by me, still comes over to me and plants kisses on my cheek at unexpectedly random times in a day! It is then I realized how naive I have been in those years and how, misconstrued the feminist brigade is, in the current times! Even during my terrible teens, when I had fights with my mother over her not allowing me to party, my father used to gently remind me of how much my mother cared for me and, how she wanted me to be independent in life despite his disagreement with her on the same topic. At the same, when I used to have loud arguments with my father over my addiction towards shopping, my mother used to sit with me and, gently explain the importance of saving money and why, my father was right in admonishing me then, despite her own arguments with him over the shopping thing. In later years, my mother told me- “Narayani! It is very important that a child understands the struggles of a father too even as a child basks in the warmth and expressive love of the mother. A mother always holds a warm place in a child’s heart. But a father holds the child in his heart without even knowing how to express it! A father’s affection goes a long long way, unnoticed!” Which is why, my parents are my best friends! They have taught me the most important lesson in life – Respect is a two way street for both a man and a woman. It is not something that is demanded. It is commanded without demanding it, for both a man and a woman!
When I look at my parents, I look at a team that has had their lion’s share of arguments, and differences in opinions. But for them, those were trivial as compared to the camaraderie they have shared for more than 4o years of togetherness! God bless them with many more of happiness, success and prosperity!
A beautiful friendship between a man and a woman comes with its rumble strips. But it also comes with a great deal of mutual respect! They are a testimony to the fact!
Mutual respect between a man and a woman, is an important word that has been lost in the cacophony of the war between the misguided feminists and, men who are deluded into believing that women are mere doormats! However, If the respect find its place, the world will be exactly where it should be. Otherwise, it will be heading towards a place where it should not. Apparently, it has already taken the wrong turn. Let’s bring the balance of the yin and the yang by helping the current generation understand the importance of both a man and a woman in this world. Hope the good sense prevails!