Women are blessed with myriad qualities. They are told to take care of others but no one tells them how to take care of their own selves. How does one not take of oneself? The answer is simple: by not taking care of one’s health, by ignoring one’s mental peace, by working like a machine and not taking out time to relax. Women work 24X7 solving the complex issues of people in their lives, especially the men. I have seen my grandmother doing it, I have seen my mother doing it, and I have seen all the women around me doing it. They take charge of the lives of others but forget their own. We are groomed to take care of others, but who will take care of us?
How many husbands bring a glass of water to their wives after a tiring and hectic day? How many husbands help with the household chores? Sometimes we just need a little smile instead of that frown. Sometimes we just need people to pat us on our backs after all the sacrifices we have made. But we are engineered in such a way as to believe that we have to do all these things. A little appreciation works like a miracle. Sometimes all you need to do to save a home from falling apart is saying kind words.
How often do we get asked by others to take care of our health? How often do people in our family realise that we too were small dolls once and now have to manage everything like a one-man army. Very few people realise it and fewer do anything about it. We accept it as a reality and keep moving on without any complaints or demands.
Last year, I happened to visit the women’s police station in Rambagh to meet some officials. There I heard the sad and ugly tales of women who were being badly beaten at home but had nowhere to go, even after ten years of marriage. How inhuman can humans be? I left the place with unanswered questions.
Elif Shafaq in her book ‘Black Milk’ beautifully makes comparisons between male and female writers and how they are perceived differently by society. Women are treated as women first, writers next, whereas no such comparisons are drawn for male writers. She also writes that had the sister of Shakespeare been immensely talented, would she have achieved the same fame as her brother did? Would she have received the same amount of trust and cooperation of her family members as Shakespeare did? The answer is known to us all. How often do men sacrifice their dreams just to support the dreams of their wives? How often do women follow their passion instead of taking to the kitchen? Suppose you get a great opportunity to work abroad and make a successful living, how many men will support this decision and take care of kids and family while you are away? None, I repeat, none. They may be all sugar and candy but once they feel their comfort is at stake, they won’t give a damn. This is how it is and this is how our minds have been conditioned for generations. I leave you with one simple question: who will take care of us while we take care of everyone around us?
The writer is currently working on a project with NCW Delhi and Central University of Kashmir, Ganderbal