Imagine consulting a therapist. For a second, assume that you are undergoing a major psychological disorder and have been prescribed therapy. Close your eyes and picture. A couch which seats you comfortably, dim lighting, silence, lightly shaded walls. And the therapist. A woman across the room? A feminine lady who, with a perfect blend of professionalism and amiableness makes you open your heart out to her. Close to that visual inside your head?
Imagine seeking training. Assuming you are an aspiring cricketer, you are being trained for the game by your coach. Now close your eyes and picture. A big ground/field, a well made pitch, appropriate equipment, comfortable uniform. And the coach. A man beside you? A strongly built man, who exemplifies masculinity and strength that makes you work harder to emulate him? Close to what you had imagined?
Now try switching places. A female coach and a male therapist. A little broadening of perspectives would help draw that picture in your minds. But it would still lack something. Or it would look wrong, the feeling that ‘something isn’t quite right’. A little miss here or there would cause a glitch in sketching the picture. And yet, we call ourselves educated. A sensitive history is the least that India’s past can be termed as. The nation has witnessed decades of tyranny, oppression, discrimination and even longer to cope up and come out of these. As a matter of fact, we are struggling till date to cover the loops that all these hurdles have caused. Then how can it be unaware and insensitive of the complications and consequences it brings?
When a girl yearns to be a part of the Indian Football team and a boy has dreams of becoming a nurse, what is so baffling about it? Who you become is not only limited to who you want to be. It extends up to the stigmas attached of what you SHOULD do and who you SHOULD become. What I cannot fathom is how this stance and this viewpoint isn’t discriminatory. What fails my understanding is how this is reflective of the path of enlightenment and evolution and maturing that the country stepped upon on the night of 15th August 1947. What surpasses my comprehension is how the country continues to believe that it is headed towards growth and progress with such unresolved issues as major as freedom. What acts as a knife to bruise my ego is how such curtailments and such cutbacks do not belittle the ego of the people across the country.
What rules your mind when you hand over that barbie to your one year-old daughter and a GI-Joe to your son? What parameters do you work on when you condition that boy not to cry and that girl to be fragile? Why does a girl feel like she needs protection and the same reduces the boy’s maleness? Why is behaving like a boy, an elevation for the girl as she is termed a “tomboy” or “cool” and effeminate gestures deteriorating if evident in a boy’s behaviour? What is it that develops into such strong notions that govern not just thoughts and actions but even legalities and constitutional norms, like the 183 year old criminalization of homosexuality in the country? How do you defend and justify such atrocious and ruthless ideologies against variations in a restricting binary gender divide? Be a man or a woman. Masculine or feminine respectively. To mix up the categorizations and the limits of each, is to do something unimaginable and inhumane for most. What is it about the roots and the origins of such establishments that make deviations so punishable and despised? What is it about mainstream that makes off-the-track such a conscious, calculated attempt? What is it about the founding principles that make the institutions so unforgiving?
Or are my thoughts too far fetched here? Am I going beyond my limits? Is this not my place as a student? If I told you I was a girl would it cloud your judgement of this voicing out of my opinion? Would you term it as another outburst of an emotional, weak female who has been subject to discriminatory acts and discard my questions? Now what if I were the daughter of a billionaire who was born with silver spoon in her mouth and fed off of golden platters all her life? Does the fact that I have been brought up in a protected environment shielded from all evils around, as a spoilt brat instigate you to change your inclinations? Do these identities conflict you? Is the fact that I am a person not enough?
I am a person. I am an individual. I was born with nothing but the fundamental right to speak, think and act according to my own wish as long as my intentions were pure. Something that each one of us is born with. And with the power vested in me, I wish to claim and act upon the rights constituted to me by the laws of the country, by the virtue of their existence and by the nature of my being.