I am writing to you sitting amongst strangers in an old age home. I think my time has come to meet you. Sitting in an empty corner the memories of my life come flooding. I want to share those memories with you. They say speaking out ones heart, helps us to relieve pain and hope it is true.
Life without you has been tough. It has been forty years since breast cancer took you away from me. Our children were too young to understand what had happened to you and why you were gone all of a sudden. I invested every minute of my life taking care of our children. I made sure that they never felt your absence.
Taking care of our children has been a rollercoaster of a journey. Sometimes I felt my hands were too full. Managing work, taking care of the house and looking after our children, I do not know how I managed it all. Every time I faced a problem, I would think to myself, what would Sunita do? Your strong will and confidence had forever inspired me to be the same. Managing everything by myself was difficult at first but eventually I got a hang of it. Days turned into months, and months into years, and in no time, our children became graduates. Sandeep topped his Engineering, Rekha has a degree in Economics and Maya, the naughty one has a distinction in Psychology! All of them secured good jobs; it was a proud moment for me. The hard work, blood and sweat were all worth it!
One by one, each of them got married. After this milestone was touched, I relaxed a little. All of a sudden, our home was quiet and alone. The weekends were the best part of the week. I would spend the day with our children and hear their stories. After spending close to a year alone, Sandeep was adamant that I move in to his place. I accepted the offer and enjoyed my time at his place. His wife is a sweetheart who took care of me as if I was her own father. Sandeep and I would talk about everything under the sun. Our bond grew stronger over the years. Meanwhile our daughters were doing well too. I visited them regularly and helped them in times of need.
Things were going smooth until Sandeep passed away in a car accident. I cannot describe the emotions I went through when I found out about his death. My body and mind were numb. I could not process the information. How could God be so unfair? First you, then him. I was in denial for the loss for too much to fathom. If it was tough was me, it was tougher for his wife, Rita. His three-year-old daughter did not know what was happening, just like Sandeep, when he lost you. I guess history repeats itself in the most cruel and inhuman ways. I did not want to be a burden on their already stressful lives. I decided to leave and live on my own. Rita insisted I stay but I convinced her that I would be fine by myself.
I had a lot of time at hand as I had retired from my job. It felt weird to have free time for the first time. I made ample use of the time, I met my old friends, cooked food, watched cricket and napped in the afternoons!
I did not live alone for long, as Rekha convinced me to stay with her family. I was delighted to spend time with her and my grandchildren. As both their parents were busy with work, I took care of them. I looked after their every need and enjoyed every minute with my two naughty angels. As the years went by, the same grandchildren who would not eat without me, found me irritating. I couldn’t blame them as it was typical teenage behaviour. Old age has gotten to me and I am unable to carry out things with the zest I used to do before.
Sunita, I did not realize I had become a burden on my family, until Rekha and Maya approached me with a strange question. They asked me if I would like to live in an old age home. I decided to make another sacrifice, may be the last one this lifetime. They admitted me in a luxurious old age home, complete with all sorts of amenities. My pension was used to pay for the old age home. I feel lost here. My body is giving up on me. The physical and emotional pain is too much to bear.
Having recollected all these memories I think to myself, is it my fault that my children are unable to empathize? How have they become so indifferent? Are there no feeling and emotions that run in their body, no speck of gratitude? They are wealthy and rich, but my daughters failed at being decent human beings. I wish they learn the value of relationships and learn not be blind to unsaid emotions. I wish and hope that something better is waiting for me at the end of this spectrum
After spending three days at the old age home, Raghav suffered a cardiac arrest and passed away in the midst of his lonely room. His daughters were called to clear up the space and take the body home. Maya discovered the letter when she was collecting her father’s belonging. After reading the letter, a feeling of regret takes over the daughters. Sitting in the same room where their father breathed his last, they wonder if their children will treat them the same.
Feminism, is an ideology that has been misunderstood, stereotyped and misinterpreted across ages. When I asked people about their opinion on feminists, I got mixed responses. “Feminists are modern working women who hate men” was one of the response I got from a 20-year-old living in a metropolitan city. Radical, man-haters, lesbians, uptight and angry are responses I got from my sample. Unfortunately, there are only few people who understand feminism and feminists in the right sense.
According to a 2013 YouGov poll, and a 2006 study published in Psychology of Women Quarterly found that “many people think that feminists are ugly, uptight, angry, aggressive, harsh, strident, demanding, dogmatic, man-hating lesbians,” (Weiss, 2005).
Feminist believe in the simple ideology of equality, where men and women stand on equal groundings. Feminists do not vouch for a single identity for women but accept every woman and embrace every aspect of her. They do not believe in a binary opposition where men are the self (superior) and women the other (inferior).
A major misconception that people have is that they assume that all feminists are women. The pages of history show us that right from the ninetieth century, we have had male and female feminist writers like Virginia Woolf, John Stuart Mill, Simone De Beauvoir, Betty Friedan, Rabindranath Tagore, and Kamala Das who have written powerful texts to drive home the point of social, economic and political equality. People assume that all feminists are homosexuals. ‘To be a feminist is to be a lesbian’, is the general understanding that people have. Some feminists are homosexual but there are many heterosexual men and women who believe in feminism. To be a feminist is to believe in the ideology of equality, it has nothing to do with one’s gender or sexuality. It is not an ideology that is imbibed only by the elites in a society.
Our society has perpetuated these stereotypes through the different forms of media like television shows, movies and advertisements. Opinion makers have reinforced these stereotypes time and again.
Pat Robertson, former Southern Baptist minister, media mogul and televangelist, described feminism as “a socialist, anti-family, political movement that encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism, and become lesbians” (Wikiquote).
The word ‘feminist’ continues to be connoted as a negative term. Because of this negative connotation attached to it, individuals are scared to call themselves feminist as they will be judged as people who are aggressive, harsh and demanding.
The current Indian female population is 48.8 %, feminism is an ideology that effects every member of this population. It changes the way we look at gender and helps construct a healthy, growing and developed nation where men and women have equal opportunities and enjoy an equal status in all realms of life.
It is a joy to see famous YouTubers like East India Comedy and All India Bakchod clear out the stereotypes attached to feminism. We need to sensitize people about the actual meaning of feminism. Even though it a mammoth of a task, we should do our bit to raise awareness and erase these stereotypes. Instead of blindly giving into these stereotypes we should be do our bit of research and establish truth values before we form opinions that are invalid and irrelevant. We ought to be conscious and aware individuals as feminists give us new perspectives that change the way we look at gender.
Weiss, Suzanna. (2015, December 30). 6 Reasons People Believe Stereotypes About Feminists (Even Though They’re Not True). Retrieved from https://www.bustle.com/articles/132468-6-reasons-people-believe-stereotypes-about-feminists-even-though-theyre-not-true.
Pat Robertson. (2016, December 15). Wikiquote. Retrieved from https://en.wikiquote.org/w/index.php?title=Pat_Robertson&oldid=2202888.
Wrinkles on her cheeks
She sits in her lonely corner, all day long.
She lives in a big house, with lots of people,
But no one makes her feel at home.
She has no one to talk to,
She just has the cold frosty air surrounding her.
She brought her sons up with at most care and love,
She prayed day and night for them to be successful at work.
Her prayers did work, successful and proud they were,
But no one thanked her for her selfless efforts.
The only interaction she has with the world is through a phone call,
She speaks each word with effort, conscious of every letter she mumbles.
It is as though she has forgotten how to talk.
In her own house, she is abandoned,
She doesn’t complain about anything.
She bears all the hurt and the pain,
She sits there and prays for a better day.
She has but a few years left, will she be remembered?
Will she ever make it into a nostalgic conversation?
Only time will tell.
I think about this and wonder.
You give up everything for your children, you take on a selfless existence
You shower them with heartfelt prayers, gifts and unconditional love,
Only to be treated like an invisible entity when you need them the most
Isn’t old age supposed to be a blissful time?
A time when your sons and daughters show gratitude, give back the love and care?
They swore to be together forever
Dreamed a life time together
They had just begun to know each other
And had started to understand each others behavior
Oh! The fur ball was her biggest stress buster,
His eyes were dreamy and his fur was comforting
She began to understand his different meows
The purr was her absolute favorite
The little one loved her in all ways possible
Would welcome her with his dreamy eyes everyday
And ask for food in the cutest of ways
Sunday was their favorite day, both of them would sun bathe !
Fate played the role of the devil
Too soon it was all over
Teddy was reduced to a tiny star
Void followed after
PS: My cat passed away a few months ago and I miss him dearly. He was like the little brother I never had! Teddy, I hope you are happy where ever you are .
I love you. Immensely