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Women Empowerment 

In our quest for women empowerment, in our efforts at gender equality,  in our attempts to promote the girl child, are we somwhere forgetting to bring up good considerate human beings. 

Recently saw an advt on television where the protagonist girl changes the password of her husband’s laptop and refuses to share it till he replaces one electric bulb, apparently,  one which she wanted him to, for a couple of days. The poor guy replaces the bulb and she obliges (?) . The ad. ends with the man again seeking the pwd which she had again changed and she responds by putting her leg on his lap and handing him a bottle of nail paint – “paint my toe nails if you want the pwd. ” 

  1. Whoever wrote the copy for the ad maybe saw this as women empowerment but the real power to the girls would have been in freeing them of stereotyped thinking that only a man can change bulbs. 
  2. On one hand we want to promote our girls as boys,  hand over the reins of business to them and proudly proclaim XYZ &  Daughters as the future. And on the other we still believe that some jobs are to be done by men only. Why this dichotomy. 
  3. This lopsided attempt at empowerment  has only resulted in making our children rude and arrogant which is unacceptable behaviour for boys and girls alike. 

The other day at the hospital I came across a father with his about 18 years old girl.  The girl was in shorts.  This is a country in the gulf where the local residents are fully covered and the girls/ women use hijab when in public. 

  1. If this country is giving you the freedom to wear what you want, we should not stretch it to the limits of roaming in short revealing clothes in public places. 
  2. The girl here is less to blame. We as parents are lacking in our duties to sensitize our children to their surroundings. We just accept whatever our children want without going into the correctness of it. 
  3. Or maybe it is the fashionable trend of treating your girls as boys. Allow them to wear whatever they want. But for sure an 18 year old boy in shorts would not have garnered as many eyeballs. 

Recently a family friends sent their daughter to an out station trip with her friends. It was a mixed group.  From the many holiday photos on the social media, one could see the girl in skimpy shorts,  noodle strap tee shirts, a beer mug in her hands and a boy’s arm around her waist. All seemed to be having fun. But if something untoward were to happen,  the whole blame would go only to the boy.

The funny thing was that other girls in the group were dressed more conservative though in holiday mode only. I know the parents give in to all demands of their girl. 

  1. Is it not for us to keep some checks on our children. 
  2. We need to give our girls freedom but at the same time teach them the importance of  restraint. 
  3. We need to give our girls rights but also tell them that those rights go hand in hand with duties. 
  4. Let us not empower our girls just for the sake of empowering but for giving them equal opportunities, the opportunity of being better  human beings. 

The dreaded D

Recently I came across a blog about a celebrity, model and cook book author, the beautiful young lady’s struggle with post partum depression.  Thats when it just hit home –  something which I knew but was trying to close my eyes to, something which my Doctor had told me some time ago but which I did not want to accept. 

No…. Its not post partum.. My son is fourteen, by the grace of God, but it definitely is… Depression. 

About 5 months ago, as I chirpily resumed office after my annual vacation, I was informed that I no longer had a job.  I was given half an hour to collect my things from there. That too under the beady eyes of the boss’relative who had been hired in my place.  I still do not know what had happened but I do know that the way it happened was not good. 

So,  suddenly I was without a job.  The first thoughts looming  large were…. how will I  sustain myself, how will I take care of my son and my mother… 

Initially I did not say anything at home and started my search for a job. I am in a different country and my stay here depends upon a work permit. Unfortunately, market is in a slump and there are not many hirers. My struggles for a job are still on. 

In these last 5 months,  without realising, my eyes would well up at the smallest instance. In the washroom, I would bawl my heart out, while talking to others, I would start crying at the thought of my lot. 

The perpetual fear at the back of the mind was how will I manage, how will I take care of my child. 

I stopped going out, unless it was for some interview or job related meeting. 

Slowly, taking bath also became a chore.  I cooked only because I had a child and elderly mother to look after. There was no wish to eat myself. 

I would cry myself to sleep and start crying first thing in the morning. My whole body was full of aches and pains, my back, my hands, I could not make a fist because of the pain.  I would wake up in the night and lie awake for hours. 

I would avoid telling anyone about my physical condition as it appeared to be complaining all the time. 

I went through numerous tests. Unable to identify anything, the doctor then mentioned the D word and recommended anti depressants. 

Though i kind of knew and understood I was under stress and depression but refused to believe that the kind of physical pain I was going through could only be because  of my mental state. I was in denial and did not take the prescribed medication. 

I knew I had to step out but my walks and yoga had stopped because of the continuous body pains and the permanent feverish feelng. It was a vicious circle. 

It was then that I stumbled across that bog and realised that Chrissy Teigen is talking about me.  Her tears, her aches, her pains, her lack of apetite, her aversion to even a bath, all were mirrored in me. 

If a young healthy lady can have such physical manifestation of the dreaded depression, then certainly I need to open my mind to the possibility and take action.  Stop looking at it as a stigma.  It is a phase and soon the situation would correct. 

I am still going through the stress, the pains and still the search for a job is on,  but I know that this is a transient spell,  that my Lord God is with me and I only have to trust him completely for He is my eternal rock. 

Utopia

    While turning the pages of Readers’Digest, I recently came across a small anecdote in which someone had narrated how their father readied the four siblings for the world.  Believing in the Darwinian principle of ‘survival of the fittest ‘ their father would keep 3 rolls at the breakfast table for 4 kids.  As a result the fastest or the strongest kid would wolf down his share and grab another one therby leaving the weakest or slowest kid without any. 

    The story set me thinking. Many would probably agree to the thought and believe the father to be right in making his kids ready to face the world. But I still feel where does it leave the feelings of sharing,  of caring, of picking up the fallen, of helping the needy.  Are we not teaching our children to be greedy,  selfish,  self centred. If the father can instil such feelings amongst siblings then I shudder to think what these kids would do to others on growing up. 

    My thoughts took me to an evening at the park with my four year old. While playing with other kids his age,  he dashed against  a small girl and she started crying. Before I could reach out to comfort her,  her mother screamed at her to stop crying and to go hit my son. Aghast at her response I could only ask, ‘ what are you teaching your child.  The kids were only  playing ‘. At this the lady retorted’ that is the way I will bring up my child’. With difficulty i curbed the voice in my head which wanted me to tell my boy to give back to the girl if she even touches him. I did not want to continue the insanity. But that evening has stayed with ms.  If we as parents are not supporting or advocating harmonious and healthy relations amongst our kids,  then are we not responsible to some extent for the kind of war ravaged world we are living in. 

    Am also reminded of an open letter Mr Amitabh Bachhan (a well respected superstar of Hindi films)  wrote to his grand daughter. The girl, like many her age enjoys partying and fancies wearing short and revealing dresses. Mr B in that open letter told the girl to wear what she wants, to do what she wants,  to not allow anyone to affect her thinking and to not bother about anyone. 

    Coming from a  well known public personality,  the letter throws open many thoughts: 

    • Is it not our parental duty to tell our kids what is right and wrong. 
    • Is it not our responsibility to see our kids learn the values of our culture and traditions. 
    • 90% girls in our country do not enjoy the kind of security Mr B ‘s grand daughter enjoys. But they have access to the wear  what you want theory of Mr B. And I am being practical in saying this. 
    • Who stops another father telling his son to do whatever he wants and behave as he wishes.

    What are we advocating –  a dog eat dog world, the survival of the fittest, a sorld where its only I, Me &  Mine. 

    No… I do not support this.  I still believe  in thinking about others. I still believe  in  sharing and caring.  I still teach my son that he has to consider others too and help wherever possible. I still look for a society where we think about the society at large and not only about us. A Utopian thought…  maybe… but not unachievable. 

    The Power of Prayer

    I really admire the practice of praying for others that Christianity follows.

    The first time I was a part of such a prayer group,I was very surprised to be praying for distant lands and for people not known to anyone in the group. Felt a little odd too.

    But as I thought more about it, I realised that if we are moved by pictures of war ravaged towns , the plight of small children in such places and the like, then is it not our duty to do something about it – in kind, cash,thoughts and definately prayers.

    I have grown up praying individually, for me, my family and my loved ones. Seeking His blessings on my loved ones.

    That is why it was refreshing to gather and pray together for our Global Family.

    I am not saying that such group prayers do not happen in other religions. But does it happen in such a regular, continuous and concerted manner.

    Intercessory prayers reflect His love and  mercy . He wants us to think like him. Praying for others helps us to think beyond ourselves and to grow in compassion for others. And this compassion is the need of the hour.

    Faith can move mountains. The belief of “good for all  “can change your life. And as we know, if we believe in something, we must live it.