One year ago, I had the great pleasure to acknowledge a new friend of mine, a young artist from the beautiful but yet unknown region of Konkan located in Maharashtra. I never heard about that region before I acknowledged her, and as I am of curious nature, I discovered a small comment about that region, on which I may do more researches in a separate post, as it’s really worth to discover about it. Here is meanwhile what the post said: “A little-developed shoreline running south from Mumbai all the way to Goa, this picturesque strip of coast is peppered with postcard beaches, fishing villages and magnificent ruined forts. Travelling through this tropical backwater can be sheer bliss. However, remember that accommodation is scant and transport limited and a little unreliable. The best option, if you’ve the funds, is to rent a car in Mumbai and drift slowly down the coast to Goa. What you’ll get in return is an experience that money can’t buy.”
Until I provide you more details about that beautiful region, I would like, in that post, to talk about that bold, beautiful and brave friend of mine. Contrasting with the exotic shape of her native Konkan, the image of hers that she showed me really touched my heart and provoked some anger and rebellion within my heart as a woman. She gave me another proof on how parents’ love and support are important for any child. Her case is very specific also because unfortunately, her parents discriminate her from her elder brother, because she is a girl!!! Here was the whole conversation I had with her and which I am re-posting there, in reply to the post I wrote a couple of days ago regarding my miseducation:
“I have been faced somehow same like this…you know what sis, my parents sent my brother in private English medium school and I have completed my studies with government public school. .. just because I was female child. I was among toppers of my class yet I didn’t achieve a lot what my fellows achieved who were hardly passed…you know I’m in last year graduation but whatever I’m doing I do not have a little interest in it…I took first class marks every year but it is just that I study to get marks no personal interest in the subjects I’m studying on… I always did whatever my family decides for me…even though I started earning when I was just 12 years old…from that day I didn’t even ask pocket money to my parents. .. and till now I’m fulfilling all my expenses on my own. Yet my Dad isn’t happy with me..just because I’m not typical like them.. I was someone who wasn’t fear to dream…my younger brother told me dreams are not for us… Despite all I started hoping support from someone like every youngster hope to get…but after all my sacrifices surrenders I failed in my both loves…I was so depressed and alone..then started doing sketch art…I was starting doing better and better…And it was great support for me….but here also my family doesn’t want me to draw…they hate my artworks. ..I started with this identity to hide my real identity, just to stay connected with my art.” Then in reply to my “Confessions of a miseducated girl”, she replied: “I feel proud of you at least you have courage to tell this to the world …And thanks for build up courage on me… I really appreciate your honesty.”
I noticed, before my friend related me her story, that it’s a phenomenon that I have noticed especially in Indian families, where women don’t have their own rights to decide and this is very sad for a country which considers itself “modern”. They pretend that they are in favor of womanhood but in reality they are not, including in your family background. When you see out of your family background, you realize that even in the huge Bollywood industry, actresses are no more considered and even almost forgotten when they get married and have children. You merely now hear about some of them, like Lara Dutta, Shilpa Shetty, Raveena Tandon, Twinkle Khanna, who were solid references among the biggest actresses in the Indian cinema, but who are no more considered like before since they married and had children, apart appearing in a couple of movies only and in some publicity. But things are starting to change slowly but surely now in the cinema industry, since some bold and brave actresses like Vidhya Balan, Kareena Kapoor and Kalki Koechin, despite being married actresses, had the chance of having supportive husbands who encouraged them into continuing cinema. Even Madhuri Dixit, when her children grew older, left away her housewife gloves and stepped again into the Bollywood hall of fame… even daring to accept to shoot some bold scenes!
That was why I insisted with my little Konkan friend that she should never give up her dreams, and should rather take all what she is doing as a challenge. As she faces parents who are unable to understand her, I esteem that it’s time for her to spread her wings and fly! It’s the only solution to give her parents a good slap so that they stop making of her a pauper! According to me, as long as she will keep on bothering about what her parents think about her, she will always be sad and miserable. My Konkan friend has her beauty,personality and capacities, so is that always necessary for her to share all your stuffs with her parents and her brother ? Concerning her brother, why does he follow his parents’ dreams ? It’s because he knows that he is a boy and because he knows that he has more power on his shoulders as, even after marriage, he will keep on carrying the name of the family upon the shoulder, and maybe become the only heir of the family. I also begged her to let her brother being so if he wants, and prove to her parents that she has her right to be different and that they should stop always conducting her like they did before! I also found it a shame that they keep on discriminating her all the time because she is a girl! It was as if they wanted to tell you that it was HER fault if she were born a girl! NO IT’S NOT HER FAULT AS WELL AS IT’S NOT THEIR FAULT, IT’S GOD WHO DECIDED THAT SHE WOULD TAKE BIRTH AS A GIRL, did I yell to her! But the reality is that they always misjudge her, not because she is a looser, but because they have a problem with their own ego! I admit I have been rude by talking badly about her parents, but it’s incredible how such elder and experimented people like could misjudge and underestimate her values! Even once they marry my Konkan friend with someone of their choice, they don’t realize they will make her life sad and miserable and that she could end up depressed and maybe committing suicide!
Here was the conclusion I then insisted about with her, I quote: “As from now, STOP DEPENDING ON YOUR PARENTS’ OPINION AND FIGHT FOR YOURSELF BECAUSE YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO EXIST AS A WOMAN! We are all here to help you being a bold and brave woman dear. I am sorry but unfortunately your parents really deserve a big slap because they must understand who you REALLY are and that you are NOT A PAUPER. They must start respecting you as well as you always respected and followed their decision as an intelligent and obedient girl. You followed their dreams and sacrificed your own dreams, and your parents abused of your silence and of your passivity. I have also been passing through that, though my parents put me in a high school and this only because they wanted to use me as a cobaye to get relieved from their frustrations, exactly like your parents are doing with you. They are using you only to get relieved of all THEIR PERSONAL FRUSTRATIONS, AND IT SHOULD STOP NOW ONCE FOR ALL! If you don’t react, your parents will keep on abusing on you and your life will turn hell! I am not saying all that because I want you to disrespect your parents. I never mentioned about that, let’s make things clear. It’s just that your parents need to be taught a very strong life lesson from you and that they should change their attitude towards you. It’s necessary, and that will help both you and your family feeding a much better and stronger relationship. Your parents should think of what could happen to you tomorrow. Imagine that you marry someone of their choice, you are mistreated, beaten, abused… They will keep on ignoring you ? Imagine that you get killed, or suffer from a very severe disease ? Does it mean they will let you dying and let you down ? NO! THEY DON’T HAVE THE RIGHT TO DO THIS BECAUSE, HOWEVER THEY WANT IT OR NOT, YOU ARE THE FRUIT OF THEIR LOVE, EVEN BEING A GIRL! So sad though that they are so cheap minded and only are obsessed by the fact that you were born a girl and not a boy, which makes them blind about your good health, the good results you obtained at school though being in a government school, your talents, your capacities, your rebel soul and above all yourself. You can still make that change, Through your failures, you can be extremely successful. Myself I wish that contrary to me who failed in my relationship with my parents, you succeed into conquering their hearts, you succeed into bringing a change in their stubbornness and that you succeed into rebuilding correctly the foundation of your relationship with your parents. I can feel there is still hope for you, and we are ready to help you. I was furious when I read what you wrote… frankly speaking i want to slap your parents and your brother. sorry for my frankness but it’s true : stupid, cheap minded people!!! here is how I would consider your parents and sorry to tell you this, they don’t even deserve my respect, because true parents never discriminate their children, especially if they have one son and one daughter. they should be treated equally, despite being different.”
My Konkan friend, though, was generous through her answer, stipulating that it wasn’t her parents’ mistake, because their society is developed in the way, where there mindset made up in the worst way. Whole society mindset should be criticized. But I insisted on the fact that, even though society is developed like that, it still remains THEIR FAULT, because they could react and bring a change if they wanted so it’s because they have no will to change that they are like that with her. the fact that the society is like that is just an excuse they have in mind for not wanting to change. My Konkan friend agreed with me, but whatever they did with her, she doesn’t want them to be opposed or criticized. She then told me those words, which, by reading them today while proofreading that text, made me reflecting deeper about her strategy to fight against her parents’ stubbornness and disagreement: “It is just that I wanna find my own ways without giving any family excuses, and after all they are my parents, It is my duty to respect them. And I succeed in finding my ways like they didn’t bring me in English medium school but I learn English on my own, and now I’m doing social service on public school for teaching English to girls like me. They oppose my art I find this way to stay connected with my today my most favorite person Rehahn Hoian commented on my drawing. And soon I will show them what art can do. In my view life is full of hurdles ..despite criticizing or finding excuse we should find our own ways.”
Further to the traumatic experience I had with my own parents, I used some rude words regarding my Konkan friend’s parents. I respect the fact that she respects her parents above all despite the injustices she needs to face everyday because of them. But personally, if they were my parents, I wouldn’t have any respect for such parents like hers! I mention my words again:
1) It’s not because the SOCIETY is built in such a way that PARENTS should passively follow the rules of the family traditions of whole India. If they WANT, they can bring a CHANGE for making people reacting in children’s education!
2) Such parents react like that because they always consider women as the “weak sex”. They forget that it’s the woman who gives birth to the human race for 9 long months and how they suffer and bleed a lot while delivering their baby.
3) I am pretty sure that deep inside them, my Konkan friend’s parents are like that because they are conscious that my Konkan friend is capable and intelligent, but they are jealous of her success and are doing everything to make of her a pauper. I passed through that too with my parents, but I rebelled and fought a lot, and though I don’t have any more relationship with my parents, I don’t care at all because with time and space, I came to understand that the problem was not with me, but with THEM, because of their STUBBORNNESS and STUPIDITY. But personally I hope and wish that my Konkan friend, if she doesn’t give up what she is already doing, will conquer the heart of her parents and of her brother and that their relationship will improve a lot.
4) Through my Konkan friend’s example, I came to understand why women were not respected in Indian society in the daily routine: it’s because they do the same thing with their daughters, mothers, spouses and sisters even at home! If in their own house they are irrespective towards women, it means also that they will also be irrespective in society! I still remember when a compatriot of mine was travelling in the train from Mumbai to Pune, and when he met a woman with her little girl… The woman was forced to stand up and no men didn’t even dare to let her sitting comfortably to better enjoy her long trip. My compatriot, who was sitting also, saw the woman in difficulties, and he let his place in the train to the lady and sat on the floor, enjoying a good playing time with the little girl. And even though the floor was uncomfortable for sitting, my compatriot didn’t complain at all, and the lady befriended him through some snacks she shared with him 🙂 Isn’t that lovely? And I am sure that the other men who were staring at my compatriot were all disappointed and felt ashamed because of that simple gesture my compatriot did. What is the need then to be big bosses, whereas your education starts at home? And if my compatriot through a simple gesture did a great action, it’s thanks to the good education and support given by his parents since childhood.
I seize the opportunity to share with you another story, which directly happened in my in-laws. My husband has been growing up with most of his cousins being boys, but only one girl in the family and whom I really adore and admire. When my sister-in-law was born, as per what she related to me, all the family rejected her because she was a girl. She was very brilliant at school and always brought very good results, but she was always criticized and rejected because she was a girl. Due to all that pressure, my sister-in-law didn’t very brilliantly succeed her High School Certificate and had very average results. My husband was the only one who truly supported her and gave her courage to rise again, whereas the other family members didn’t even care about her and kept on criticizing her as a piece of shit because of her average exam results at school! My husband even invited her in Madagascar and encouraged her to follow a little course in Computer Science in the company where he was working, as she always wanted to study Electronics and Computer Science, and he even paid her for the course of his own pocket, because the course wasn’t an official one and the company wouldn’t remunerate her in such conditions. My sister-in-law was very thankful to my husband for his gesture, and myself I am very proud of my husband for his generosity towards her. But in addition to the critics, among her haters, my sister-in-law had one of her uncles who always criticized her because of her failure. But another uncle of hers told her the sentence which would help her rising again from her ashes “To be able to rise again, you must know the pain of falling down”. This sentence said it all. Since that, my sister-in-law started taking great care of her health and beauty, brilliantly succeeded her tertiary studies and accumulated several diplomas and professional experiences. Her ascension never stopped, and all the family members who criticized her all the time bent on their knees in front of her success. And the uncle who criticized her received a big slap from God, as his son retrieved himself unemployed for months and turned depressed since the company where he was working suddenly shut its doors!
You should never criticize nor underestimate the power of a common woman! Like late Sheikh Zayed, who was the founder of the United Arab Emirates once mentioned, “Educated women of today will become the mothers of tomorrow”. And this is what I truly hope for my Konkan friend and for every woman in our family and out of our family.