That I am a woman . I am conflicted whether I should feel happy about it or sad about it .
Incidentally , my growing up years were bereft of such ambiguities regarding my sex . I was completely oblivious to such banalities . Now I realize that was all thanks to my parents who consciously chose to not impose on me the traditional roles that society expects of one sans “the dick” . They let me blossom in a very natural way , as a boy would in any other household , giving wings to my ambitions , facilitating my growth as a person . And how I took it for granted .
The realization that I am a woman& therefore my life has to be vastly different , dawned on me only in the last couple of years of my life . My ignorance in Cooking , refusal to playing second fiddle to everyone in the house , rejection of my in law’s shoddy treatment was a testament to my parents poor parenting skills . And that reflects the sorry state of affairs in the so-called Upper Middle Class , fairly well educated , well read , widely travelled household that I married into. That my parents had raised a successful , independent ,confident individual , capable of holding her own in the world was simply a banality that was to be banished in the face of my abject failures stated above . That my interests were in books & not cosmetics , that I liked to participate & contribute to conversations ranging on politics , travel ,with zero interest in gossiping with maids , sleuthing on what’s going on in my society , I was considered unladylike . That I didn’t need to be provided for and didn’t need to consult my husband on planning my spends & that I took pride in this was nothing short of blasphemy .
The simple expectation was that my focus should be on the “house”, HR skills to be limited to managing maids , my brilliance to be limited to culinary delights …Education here clearly had failed to break through the traditional , parochial stereotype that a woman had been cast into . These families or their patriarchs are caught in a time warp , unable to strike balance between the clashing shibboleths of archaic ,shackling traditions & modern ,progressive aspirations . The singular hope for our women who find themselves inextricably tangled in this web , is to hope for more parents like mine who dared to defy “the stereotype” and give a unisexual upbringing to their kids both sons and daughters . For sons to shun their sense of entitlement & for daughters and daughters –in-law to ask for more . It promises to be an arduous road to this end .There cannot be a single template of equity . This is unique to every single individual & the process of reaching the tipping point , smoothening the rough edges , the detailing entails a great deal of courage and pain and of course many disappointments .
I am very thankful to my parents who gave me such a greatly enabling environment with solid belief in me . I was too naïve in my thinking then to believe that education is the fulcrum of upliftment . For Tangible, material upliftment yes , but the cultural shift even after 3 generations is still inchoate . This is not the legacy that I want to bequeath to my son . Everyday I endeavour to ensure that my son does not grow up believing that a certain aspect of his anatomy entitles him to be waited upon . And I hope that there are more mothers out there that are doing the same .
The semblance of equity is a long way off for our Society as a whole . The rigid dichotomy will continue to exist as long as we women continue to accept the Second class Status and Men believe that it is their right to be waited upon.