“Good reasons to be optimistic” – 27 March 2013

To each woman her own! So, to celebrity author Shobha De, too, her own choice how she feels about being a woman. These are not pleasant times to be a woman, she said. She may have her own reasons to feel so, which others may not agree with. For, after all, times are not so bad for women to feel pessimistic. On the contrary, many pleasant things, too, have been happening to women for the past several decades. Ask my Mother and women of that generation and they will tell you how lucky we are! A brief overview may even us the reasons to be optimistic.

Of course, to be a woman is mighty tougher than being a man. The woman has to be a multi-tasker, which man need not be. He is welcome to be a multi-tasker, but can afford not to be. But, for the woman, there is no escape. So, she toils at work, and toils at home. On many occasions, she is at the receiving end of the social muck, which the man never experiences. The male-dominated society of ours is quite harsh with women, to say the least. The society also has a terribly loose way to judge a woman of “loose” character. And a good number of families in our society just do not entertain the idea of allowing the women of the house — wives, mothers, daughters, sisters — much freedom to do things of their choice. Naturally, these things may make some women feel under-privileged. But on the flip side, there are more things that come under “pleasant” category.

There is that Chhavi Rajawat, the Sarpanch of a Rajasthan village. She is a fine combination of beauty and brains. She is a former alumnus of the Indian Institute of Management (IIM). As her village’s elected leader, Chhavi handles the responsibility quite capably. Not only does she mingles with the villagers — men and women — with ease, but also shines at international meets putting forward an authentic point of view of a woman.

Shobha De, by the way, too is another woman icon whom countless thousands of women might want to emulate. She is beautiful and competent in every field she touched. She may have had her unpleasant moments, but she also has enjoyed the glory which could be the envy of even men. Just until yesterday, a woman was President of India, and there also is a short woman with a tall personality in the name of Kiran Bedi whose capabilities at a cop outsmarted those of men. There also are many women as corporate bosses, heads of banks, chief ministers, ministers, cultural icons, sports idols, adventurers, academicians, artists, engineers, medical doctors, scientists…. How can the times be unpleasant for being a woman, then?

Of course, the recent spate of rapes is one reason that would not want anybody to be a woman, some may say. But, let us also admit that ‘rape’ stories are getting prominence only after the Delhi gangrape case. But those stories and the incidents of rape do not make me feel pessimistic about being a woman. For, I have ample reasons to feel optimistic, positive about being one of my gender. Yes, say a hundred years ago, the woman was not as privileged as she is today. Then, she did not go to school or college. Then, she also did not go out climbing mountains and playing sports. She also had no control over her body as pregnancies were forced on her every year. Then, she was more of a dependent on men of the house rather than a person with an independent identity. She had only a marginal freedom, so to say, then.

Today, it is difficult even for women to paint that picture fully. For, all of us — women as well as men – – have forgotten its memory. Today, the picture is far more bright, far more pleasant, far more enjoyable, let alone unpleasant. Of course, to each woman her own. So, to me and many like me, our own — choice to make, life to live, joy to feel, and bliss to experience, despite many bad moments, unpleasant happenings. As women, we may have problems; but as women, we also have our own prowess to take care of the problems. That is the foundation I, a woman, would like to build a glory of my own!

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