Winter/Summer breaks in schools vividly take me back to my vacations spent at my mom’s ancestral home, which is a 2-hr road journey away from our hometown. My Nani (maternal grand-mom) is a typical 1950’s movie beauty, with thick long black hair, sharp nose, beautifully crafted thin lips, and a flawless skin adding to her list of compliments. Over composed with love & affection, an extremely compassionate nature, amiable comport filled with 100% originality has earned her a gentle milieu comprising every rank of the populace, each considering her the most reverent of all. Now in her 80s, she still maintains being a no-onion-no-garlic type vegetarian, and her worthy to mention extracurricular accomplishments include being a proficient vocalist & a movie buff, an expert in the game of cards, and exceptionality in cooking veggie delights of all sorts which are indisputably competitive enough with the many scrumptious non-veg counterparts.
However, like most women, she has been forgiving ‘life’ all through her life, for not being perfect, mostly; a life which has beleaguered her relentlessly. Married at a very young age, she had borne the burden of endless household chores which were back then technologically less forward, the so-called ‘relative’ population visibly active in small towns, & multiple disorders due to her fragile health, both physical & mental. An intrepid heart, serene and uncomplaining composure, she has always borne, smilingly, this burden of life.
What makes me recall her life so far is my current state of mind which is stuck on how a woman is a Venus-ian. I have landed up hooking myself to the feminism concept, which I realized, is universally interrelated to the pity of womankind, ubiquitous gender inequality, appalling sexual harassment & rape culture, inflexible glass ceilings etc. While many noble souls strive to leave no stone unturned for empowering the distressed in semi-urban & rural areas, the majority of feminists around only converse on the privileged, urban, educated women jammed in traditional roles while having modern mindsets. But before thinking about women of the entire world, have we really thought of cajoling the ones inside our homes, for whom ‘empowerment’ is still unsounded? These women are lingering on, to their ongoing state, fearing the renegade explosion & its repercussions thereafter. Civil-rights-era journalist, Evelyn Cunningham’s quote, ‘Women are the only oppressed group in our society that lives in intimate association with their oppressors’, holds apt here.
I recently happen to watch the much debated & talked about ‘solely’ feministic motion picture #LipstickUnderMyBurkha and I must admit that this one totally justifies its title. Story revolves around four women belonging to narrow and shallow gullies of a sub-metro, landing themselves in countless awkward betrayal-bound circumstances during their brave journey of chasing their dreams; betrayal, by the near-and-dear ones, leading to their ultimate emotional collapse. The bottom line of the movie is that the world out there is just anti-feminist, the tribe, of both gender’s lot, never losing a chance to suppress & oppress the unfortunate female. Movie stanchly portrays the state of the senile lot being unable to justify themselves beyond the much imposed & expected puja rituals, the juveniles who are bound by family impositions; the aspirations of a wife crushed by her self-obsessed man and so are of a dreaming-to-fly girl by several men in her life, wanting to carry weight of her body but not of her ambitious soul. However, the movie missed on the real issues pertaining to the molding of careers, independence and everyday safety of women and consequently, in the end, left me pained with the twists brought to the stories eventually. Still, it has managed to reserve a place in every feminist’s heart.
So what it takes to be a Venusian woman. While the dictionary says that Venus is the Italian Goddess of beauty and love, but I wonder whether a woman is narrowed just to beauty and love today. A part of our world has already been vocal about, witnessed & bowed to a female soul’s proficiency which is undoubtedly much beyond only the beautiful word love. Apart from justifying the dictionary version of Venus, there have been few daredevils from our small town world breaking all odds to exhibit their valor, dreams and aptitude to the coldblooded bigheaded man-world (mostly, not always though), which is on a never-losing prospect of looking down to a women, if not jealous from the one, forced to be looked up to; like an egoistic group of men reporting to an ambitious ‘female’ boss. But unlike the ‘self-determining’ women lot, have we considered of less intrepid, sprawling number of the feeble & concealed souls around us, who are incapable of even envisaging their solo existence, their lives being fastened to only the welfare of their off-springs, and life partners? With limited access to the outside world, her family is her entire world, and as a repercussion of loss of identity, she conceals herself within her caregiver. What suppression of thoughts means now to her, doesn’t even matter, as striving for existence becomes the sole purpose of life.
However, defying all odds, with an undying spirit and sanguine demeanor, clothed in strength & dignity, this Venusian, trampled to zilch prolongs to attest herself to be a real Venus by now infusing into her children the morals & ideals of not only ‘love’, but self-esteem, poise, audaciousness and reverence, especially for women (I definitely would not address them as weaker section). She dreams of her girl child to be brave in dealing with the world and her son to be an ideal husband, brother, companion & human being. She teaches her son, while he is young, to be a gentlemen throughout his life. When he finds his soul mate, the mother earns the credit for raising the finest man in this woman’s life. Our Venusian, who is now living each moment through her offsprings, gets the real flavor of her new life and love, especially when her grandchildren seek her companionship, fondness & warmth. She rejoices on making her yesteryear’s twinge and hardship a history, which had although left her beautiful skin, wrinkled, & soul, strained. This woman justifies the statement, I thought about quitting, but then I noticed who was watching. She says, that I am my favorite superpower.