Friday, 15 February 2019

What it Means to be Free

Source: bigstockphoto

"But we don't need to listen to others. Only you girls need to."
He joked when I asked him to get up. Except that it wasn't really a joke.
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Dear old patriarchy,
You've probably existed since the beginning of time.
You've helped countless men to reach great heights.
You've tricked the world into keeping you close
Rather than keeping up with these 'equal rights'.


He was right. I was a college student just like him and as much an adult as he was. And yet when important meetings went longer than usual, I had to leave midway while he didn't. When the music club performed their concerts till late night, I had to miss out on it but he didn't. When the campus study room was opened for extra hours, I could not access it but he could. And when we got late from the city because of bad traffic, I had to face an angry warden but he didn't.

Because you see, I'm a girl. Good girls go back indoors before it gets dark, don't they? And the curfew makes sure that our goodness is retained.

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Dear submissiveness,
And you've nicely settled in most of our minds,
Glued to us women with involuntary might. 
The ones who dare to challenge you just
Are way too 'demanding' to be on the right.


I wonder, weren't we all taught to obey our elders as kids? How come the naughty, disobedient little boys grow up to become free souls, while the obedient and righteous girls grow up to be chained indoors?

They make rules for the girls, we follow and it stays. They make rules for the boys, they don't follow and it dies. If it was that simple, could disobedience be the solution? But here was the problem. We were too submissive, and we're submissive still. Somehow we remain afraid of all the judgments, the consequences of being a rebel, and of being that ill-famed 'demanding' girl.

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Dear society,
Why do your norms not advance with time?
Do you have to pose as such a negative term?
Because you, so it seems, are pulling the strings,
The one stopping us from standing firm.


I've heard it too many times. "I don't mind it personally, but then the society is such..."
Yep, they don't think it's bad for us to wear shorts, but the society...
They don't mind if we go out with a guy friend, but then the society...
They don't think girls shouldn't party at night, but you know this society...

Surely, if it weren't for the society, we'd be all living a life free of restrictions. Because the society consists only of the narrow-minded, after all. Not all these people who're open and accepting of our ways.
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Dear darkness,
We were afraid of you as little kids,
Of the monsters behind the curtains and under the bed.
Growing up, we're afraid of you still.
Because the monster is no more just in our head.


That was the whole point of the restrictions, wasn't it? We called it discrimination, they called it 'safety'. But what of the monsters that lurk around in broad daylight? Who will save us from them? How long will they monitor us around in the name of safety?

If the men were old enough to take care of themselves, why couldn't we be trusted with ourselves to do the same? Yes, we're aware of the monsters. Yes, we know when it is safe and when it isn't. But what if we don't need you to give us orders for our safety? What if we tell you we're old enough to take our own responsibility?

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Dear Freedom,
I wonder what you taste like.
Some day you and I will meet.
I will embrace you like a long lost child,
And I will finally stand on my own feet. 

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