Thursday, March 08, 2007

RED AMBER GREEN


Today she got scolded again. Not because she broke anything but because she was chewing tobacco, her replacement for ice-cream that she loves so much. She doesn’t know that a certain day exists when she should feel overjoyed at being a girl. She looks at me with certain questions in her eyes. One of them being whether at least for today her father will not beat her mother and the other being that can she get some loose change for a chuski. I can answer the latter in affirmative but not the former. The newspapers are literally screaming with fervour reminiscent of a church choir. Joy to the world, joy to the woman-kind. At least that is what all the newspapers are trying to preach. But wait there are certain statistics sprinkled around just to let one know that female foeticide still exists. Girls still hold on to their position on the list of things to be bought and sold. And dowry deaths are a dark secret for many families. But then that shouldn’t stop us from celebrating the Women’s Day. That should not in any way prevent us from eulogizing the lives of Indira Nooyi, Shabana Azmi and all the voices that make the discourse on feminism music to the ears.

After all the hype generated, thanks to new-age journalism and multinationals selling wonderful merchandise at discounted rates “only for today”, I am left with an amalgamation of feelings that range from angst, despair, helplessness and rage. This day does nothing to my self esteem and I am probably voicing the opinion of many all around the world. But then its for sure that such statements are going to be countered by scathing remarks relating to my upbringing in an upper-middle class environ and my utter disregard for those who actually believe that a day is enough to recognize the efforts of fellow crusaders in different parts of the world. In no way do I want to denounce the good work but my, rather large, bone of contention being with the specification of a day. Why do we stop at a date and not go beyond it. Why not celebrate a different story everyday. Why not fight everyday against the injustice meted out to many in the public domain. Why not make everybody aware and not reduce it to a ritual of a series of stories of successes that appear on the T.V screen and the newspapers. Why not pursue issues that concern women from time to time and not be reminded of it on an annual basis -- Why not stop obsessing over the different leagues of feminism and just concentrate on making our voice heard.

Well some were doing just that outside my office on the road. Women dressed in all hues marching ahead with a belief in their hearts and on their lips to get the reservation bill passed. I would have been happier if this sight and sound was not thrust upon me because of a certain date. And somebody else who would have been happier must be the little girl in a white frilly frock who skipped in the sun while her mother shouted the need for equality in the parliament, must have been a great holiday for her.

(Remnants of idealism ... creations of PP)