You Enable Her

Google Image

To young fathers,
I see the delight when you look into your daughter’s eyes
I know the way your heart beats for her
I know you would jump into the sky to get her the stars
I know you’ll fight for the world to be her oyster

To older mothers,
I know you don’t see your children differently when they are that young
But as she starts to grow, you teach her to accept based on your experience
You have passed on some of your dreams, and some you have lived through her
But during crucial times, you pass on your belief of adherence

To older fathers,
She is your joy that eases your day
You hold her gentle like a flower
You always want to give her everything
And fear the day when her wellness is not within your power

To young mothers,
You know the fight she has to fight
You know you have to run and pass the baton
You let her dream, you let her fly
Hoping not everything she’ll ask for will still be Latin

Know that you are the ones who decide how she lives
Know that those without daughters may not know the women of the times
You are the ones that have to take a stance and make her able
You are the ones that have to think and act betimes

You teach and enable her when mothers also keep and pass their name
You teach and enable her when you show you are equals in this game
You teach and enable her when you reflect on where to place the blame
You teach and enable her when you stand with her without shame

A Growing Voice

“What do you want to be when you grow older?”, she was asked
“A pilot”, “a teacher”, “a doctor”, the five year old said
“You can do whatever you set your mind to”, she was told
This opened up for her, every possibility ahead

With time, her dreams grew wings and they were let to fly
Allowed were they, during the times into which she was hurled
Her kind were out, learning, working and leading
After all, they only had one extra ability, than the rest of the world

Power comes with knowledge and independence
Something that was held for a long time from this gender
With the ability to stand for what she believed in
She didn’t have to care for any offender or defender

What she did not know, was that her times were only half ready for her
They said she could dream, but not be misled
“Who will raise the children?”, “who will tidy the home?”, they asked
“How can we be led by those, who until now, only bred and fed?”

She reasoned that the domestic and social responsibilities were shared
Efforts and skills determined capability, and from their masculine ego, she be spared
They turned to religion and traditions, “you forget your role”, they opined
“We may have advanced in other ways, but in these interpretations, we will remain ancient”, they determined

She knows her sentiments resonate with many
But to the systemic arguments against her, she must hold her own
She may be alone in fighting now, but there are many like her
You better prepare fully for her, the seeds of change have been sown

Don’t take her compassion for granted, it comes from great care
Don’t take her silence for meekness, it comes from great strength
You do not comprehend her fierceness, she is the energy that sustains you
You do not comprehend her power, she is the fire that can keep you warm or burn you.

Time and Women

Peculiar Bengali homes, rustic wooden furniture, tea, lush village settings, men in their cotton kurtas and dhotis. I have always enjoyed Rabindranath Tagore’s short stories. What defines them singularly though are his women. Their elaborate white and red sarees, beautiful big red bindis, Victorian style blouses and traditional ornaments. As colorfully as he painted them on canvas, the real beauty is in how he captured their emotions in hues and shades that are a perceptive rarity.

We humans, have lived for thousands of years now. We have advanced in phases over time. We learned to put down our roots, we established societies, we defined some borders that nevertheless we have been fighting about since, we developed faith out of fear and we explored philosophy in the midst of darkness. We are at the height of our scientific achievements. Yet, we have gone on for so long ignoring fundamental basics and enduring such injustices. While we aim to balance our own lives with our careers, relationships and saving money for our future, there are still fellow humans struggling for safety, security, warmth and food. There are people who are more deserving with fewer opportunities. There are people who are still oppressed and forced, let alone out in the big bad world, but in their homes by their own people. When I think of women and all the rules of the societies they have played by all these years, I ponder if it is really a slighter issue than say basic health care or savaging wars.

I have come to feel that society and the world at large is a bigger being, just like each one of us, going through its own imbalances, disappointments, hurt, joys, pleasures and triumphs. Everything is connected. And everything goes up and down in its own time. When I see our world with this view, I get to an understanding, not of a tired acceptance, but a curious, passionate, patient wonder of our existence. It is true that each race, gender, society and species have their legitimate complaints and rightfully so. It is the ones that have cut through their own waves, withstood their opposing tides that know what it took to cross. But there is a piercing beauty in perceiving the battles of others. In realizing the strength behind someone’s patience, in reading someone’s silence and in seeing the joy in someone’s eyes. In knowing someone’s small pleasures and the little gestures that could make all the difference in the world.

At the peak of the independence movement struggle in India, Tagore observed the beauty and struggle of women of his times. He was able to empathize with women’s desires, restrictions and individuality. Let alone then, these are somethings that most still strive for today. The houses, attire, and lush surroundings have changed. We have modernized and opened our minds, yet women struggle to satisfy the same desires, break free of the same restrictions and demand recognition of their individuality. In what sense have we advanced then? We are so blinded by habit and insecure of change, that we are unable to welcome new things even if they may be better.

The resistance is always from those who aren’t directly impacted or rather those who benefit from it. The change is always from those it affects the most. They do not rise from courage but from necessity, they demand change not to ruffle feathers but for peace. There is so much to learn and be aware of, we all just pick up a few pieces, and so much of what we have learned gets left behind. And that’s why history repeats itself. But there is always hope too. That we will do better. We may wonder, how difficult it is to be and let be. I guess that nature feels most comfortable at the equilibrium of harmony and chaos. But even if that may be, chaos could be so much more meaningful. Chaos is the sound of all the birds chirping away together, chaos is all the trees shedding their leaves in fall and chaos is kids at play. And so we hope. Hope that we can fight together instead of each other, hope that we can love more fiercely than expect of someone, and make new mistakes and find new problems to solve.