Today, on Republic Day all women army personnel lead military contingents’ parade at India Gate. It symbolizes a great step forward. A couple of days back, Haryana (State, India) celebrated ‘Beti Padao, Beti Badao’ (Educate the girl child to let her prosper). The signs of an evolving bourgeoisie society are commendable.
I was born to a middle class family with girls in equal number as boys. However, the preferential treatment on some counts- ghee is more for a boy; boys had more freedom to venture out in neighborhood to make friends and play. This was in 1980s. Education till schooling was open but the quality of school if ever constrained economically, the girl child made the sacrifice to settle for a cheaper option.
As a school student, I had known many girls who were free, more frank and outgoing compared to others. Some of them did not hesitate to talk to boys and share laughter at reserved-only-for-boys-type jokes. A lot changed for them and for the other more shy-types as they graduated to higher classes. Most of them were enlightened by their mothers with puberty approaching them. Almost all of them turned to be more reserved and preferred to stay away from a group of boys-only as if they were untouchables.
With each passing year the girl child, it seemed to me, evolved as a submissive adult who looked upon men either as ‘Brothers- Protectors’ or ‘Strangers- To be avoided’. Very few could dare to date men and were almost prepared to get married on or before turning 25.
Today, when I get to re-connect with very few of them via Facebook, I am delighted to hear how their life has evolved. They are all married to great men, have lovely kids, supportive in-laws and luxuries to exploit. However, they had one complaint – Had they been a little more confident of their dreams-to-achieve they would have transformed their existing lives even better. Today, they may count upon innumerable self-sacrifices made to settle with a man they got married to or her new like-parents but this not without a regret of missing out on so many better things.
Men unlike for other men are known for holding doors for women in quite a theatrical manner. Women today, need to come forward and stand with men. Their presence should be to blur any gender difference that a man’s mind may fathom. Till, however, its you who signals otherwise.