Sunday, March 8, 2009

Womans' Day

"Happy Womans' Day", said a couple of SMSes, all of which I ignored.
"Happy Womans' Day", wished a friend when we bumped into each other at the ATM. "And the same to you," I said, "for whatever it is worth."

There are several reasons why I don't get excited about Womens' Day.
For one, special days are celebrated only for the marginalised- and I definitely do not qualify. The only child of doting parents, there was nothing I lacked, and the only thing that was, perhaps, denied me because of my gender was cricket coaching, and even that I would have been provided had I asked for it. Few men in the country have grown up with as many opportunities as I have, so I definitely do not deserve a 'day' to draw attention to my plight.

For another, by celebrating one day as 'Woman' Day', is anything going to change for anyone?
Will the woman who wakes up at 5 am to prepare breakfast and lunch for her family before rushing off to a mindless job which pays for school tuition get the chance to lie-in even one day a week because of Womans' Day?
Will Womans' Day give the grandmother who has been blackmailed into caring for her grandchild so the mother can go off to work the strength to stand up and tell her children that she has earned a peaceful retirement?
Will Womans' Day provide solutions to any of the professionally qualified women who are forced to become full-time mothers because few employers are willing to look at people who do not commit their entire life to a job?
Do my maidservant, the fruit vendor, the lady begging outside a temple, the mother cooking and serving meals on the pavement, any of the women I see but do not see every day even know today is their day?

And hence, I would rather not celebrate Womans' Day.

Rather, I would want to celebrate everyday the spirit of womanhood that keeps all my sisters going even when there seems nothing to look forward to.

And nothing epitomises that spirit better than this picture of a lady who has taken such pains to dress up for something as mundane as vegetable shopping.
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