I knew it was a special day. First, there was a clear day break. You don’t know what it is to wake up to perpetually weeping skies and suddenly spot a splash of red on the eastern horizon. Plus, there was a perfectly sliced moon still hanging around and spring birds were out in numbers.
I felt like Popeye on spinach overdose (they’re adding something to the coffee these days, I tell you). I edited and dashed off a bunch of writings to competitions. The sun was proper golden by now, pouring in through all the windows, revealing all the places we don’t bother to dust. Then, just as I was done slurping the coffee, the carpenter called to say he’s sending his boy to finish a pending work…a work I’d envisaged following up till 2040 at least, going by past experiences of other tradesmen. This was surely some sort of cosmic intervention—
I checked my Whatsapp – all my favourite men had wished me. What? What? I thought. Did I win a lottery? Ooh is someone casting me in the movies? I fumbled for my specs. Oh…it is International Women’s Day. All my favourite women had wished me too. Always the one to reciprocate, I jumped into the thick of things and poked my phone to send out best wishes to every man and woman. With Whatsapp wrapped up, I next jumped into Facebook. FB goes berserk on these gender-based days. Paisa vasool entertainment. The platitudes can make you choke on your granola…holy crap I did not know I was so special! My favourite jeweller has come out with designs specially for Women’s Day. “Magnify the woman in you” their FB post read. Well, I’m already over-magnified, thank you very much. Then, there were all the messages in colourful backgrounds thanking me for being a Strong Woman and working tirelessly on doing the dishes, laundry, cleaning, making the bed, taking out the trash and all that. Thanking me for behaving like an adult? Sure, whatever.
Then I jumped to Times of India. You can always count on ToI to burst your bubble because of the balance they offer to readers. Like, you could read about women in technology. Or a piece on “Do we really need to celebrate Women’s Day.” Right next to “Kim teases fans with topless photo”.
I know in the larger scheme of things this tokenism is grating. Many of us find it meaningless. But we must view everything in a wider time frame to get a perspective of the progress we’ve made. Women have faced crippling obstructions in all spheres – religious, social, political, cultural, sexual – from the beginning of history. And despite those blockades, we’ve reached here today. We’ve not lost our voice. There is still a long way; very long way to go. We’re getting there. We’ve vocalised many issues which were never spoken about just a decade earlier. And we’ve had this progress because there was always that one single woman who bravely wore the crown of thorns to spearhead change. It could be something as huge as the Suffragette led by Emmeline Pankhurst, or something as humbling and gritty as being India’s only woman truck mechanic – Shanti Devi. Or what about the years of stress borne by Rupan Deol Bajaj with such brave dignity – without her struggle, we would not have had any sexual harassment code of conduct in India. I do celebrate International Women’s Day in the name of these countless women who have made our lives better today directly or indirectly. It is good to have a day to remember these women and to introspect on the journeys – past, present and future.
I leave you with a confession - I don’t feel particularly offended by discounts on Tupperware for Women’s Day. I know this is as serious as treason for some. That’s not all…I’m not even ashamed of this domesticity. Maybe because I know my preference to stacked airtight dabbas has not diminished my capabilities in quantitative statistical analysis. Just like how Shanti Devi can make phulkas as well as figure out wheel alignment. Do celebrate this multi-facet so uniquely wired in women 😉 (I celebrated properly with bendekayi huLi and sabbakki sandige).
Happy International Women's Day <3 nbsp="" span="">3>
© Sumana Khan 2018