Random Stranger: Hey Hi, where is your Son studying ?
Me: He goes to a school in Vellayambalam.
Random Stranger; Oh ok. Which class is he in?
Me: **Unassumingly** He is 2 yrs old.
Random Stranger: **Rolls Eyes* *Shrugs shoulders** **disappointed** **gives me yuck look** **surprised** **all indigetion emotions rolled into one, and then exclaims in a constipated voice, how could you leave a 2yr old in daycare? how bad of you.
Me: *just smiles* (like how i always do when i have nothing nice to say, and all wrong things are waiting to hop out of my mouth).
But wait, its not just after i became a mother, but i guess i was born to be judged because I was a girl.
- Why do you shout so much, talk softly, cause you are a girl.
- Why do you play in the ground, you will get darker (a disease for an already dark girl) and hard to get married, cause you are a girl.
- Why are you still wearing skirts? you have attained the ultimate purity to cover up.
- Why are you having a boys cut?
- Why are you sratching your head?
- why are you wearing shoes without socks?
- why are you laughing so loudly?
- This classic one is to my Dad: why are you educating her so much. Anyway she is going to slog in someone elses kitchen?
And the list is endless….
Now coming back to the conversation, instead of a smile, i actually wanted to ask that Random Stranger,
- If he will take care of Baby Ved while i slog it out in office. No wait. Why would i leave my Precious Ved with him, not the last thing i would do.
- If he will pay my bills. No wait. why should he pay my bills? and make me dependent on him for a living.
- If he will repay my loan. No not again. Why would i want him to repay my loan that i took to fulfill MY Dream.
- If he will payback my Appa all the money he spent on my education. But again you see, Appa did not pay in terms of Money, he paid out of love, which can never be measured or repayed. Priceless.
Now, I wonder at the audacity a stranger has to ask us and judge us.
If only they walked in our shoes and dreamt our dreams;
If only they gave birth to tiny miracles;
If only they knew what it meant to struggle and eat the fruit of labour.
If only their family had great women who were brutally hardworking and men who were extemely supportive.
And the If only’s are again endless.
Ii think, this fear of being judged and questioned and stripped naked of any dignity has killed more dreams than anything else.
Those fresh faces, I recruited from college, suddenly disappear after few years. Those promising colleagues who could have made intelligent managers have become extinct.
Probably because someone questioned them and challenged them on what they can;t do, and they gave in to pressure for there was no other option.
Oh Women, Oh Mother, if you must, if your calling is to work, if its your dream to make a space for yourself and a career, please step out and do so.
It’s now or never.
Preying eyes and judgemental minds dont die in a day.
You can only kill them with success and a whole lot of smile.
A little boy’s amma.