It was the day of my first party as a teen girl at sweet 17. But it did not go the way I had planned. It all started with my party wear dress, I was not allowed to wear the dress of my choice, instead I was asked to wear the dress in which I will not be the choice of guys. I was bound to a time limit to spend for the party. Another nightmare was the places I was allowed to go. But my elder brother did enjoy things his own way without any restriction on cloths, timing and places etc. So that was the saturation point, I asked the reason for making such restrictions only to me, the answer from my parents was “Because you are a girl”. So that is when I realized the type of freedom women could enjoy in this so called independent nation. What they feared for is true and it is well portrayed in the society with increasing crime rates against women.
And then this day came, when I was ready to say good-bye to school and step into the fantasy world of teens “the college”. Here again I was denied permission to select the course and the college on my own. I did have dreams of pursuing fashion designing, but according to parents it was yet not a certified safe course. Then I was forced to take arts that too in a college located within the city premises. There the reason I was told was they were worried on my safety in colleges in other cities and the culture there. It was again proved to be natural and acceptable as television and media kept on delivering news on ragging of girl students even causing to death in certain cases.
Finally the graduation day came and I did graduate with good percentage. The university acknowledged me with a gold medal. But I dint realize the fact that my hard work and studies did worth only that and not a good job for myself. I was not allowed to work. I was made to take tuition classes for children from the neighborhood. My gold medal remained in dust and rust as did my ambitions to achieve something in life. It was during this time, a girl from my next door who worked in a corporate office was harassed by her colleague and committed suicide for the same. This time I did not ask my parents the reason for not sending me to work, but I did understand it myself and felt shame on this society.
Few months later, I was informed that my best friend from school has passed away, who got married very recently. She was the one person who had traveled with me since my childhood. I was shocked on how this could have happened; she was physically very fine even the last time we met in market. On inquiring her parents the cause for her death, I was revealed the great horror that, she has been put to death by her husband and his family because of the only reason that she was not able to give the dowry money his family had asked for. I felt great shiver run through my spine and just headed back home. I was very terribly shocked not just on hearing what happened to her, but for the reason that I was about to get married in a month and my parents are in search of sources to arrange the dowry money the groom had asked for.
It is just not these places where women are ill-treated, we face harassment and teasing wherever we go like travelling in bus or train at night times we get raped and killed and wait for justice for years, in movie theaters, any private institution, in the hospitals where doctors harass the female patients, on top ranking is the places of worship where the so claimed to be saints and disciples of God involve in ill-treating women. But in all these actions the primary blame the society leaves would be on the victim for her dressing, hair style, perfume, behavior and attitude and so on. Those who blame women as reason for all the crimes against them, fail to realize that crimes occur not because of how women are but because of how men are.
Is this what the kind of freedom and respect this nation has given to women? Are we giving women the freedom to fly or the freedom to remain inside the cage? Women are special because they play many roles in each men’s life as a mother, sister, wife, especially a friend etc. and support them in each and every point of their life. But do we women gain the same respect and support in return from men at home, at work, at school, at college, at least anywhere on this earth, literally a NO. Women are just treated as play toys for men’s pleasure and maids for their pain. Even government jobs offer just 1/10 opportunities for women candidates which are extremely unfair. Women are not recognized based on their talent and skills rather they are just recognized by the birth gender. I conclude with a positive note that instead warning your daughters on how to dress and where to go, advice your sons on how to treat women with respect.