I'm a Bad Girl!
How would I look with a dupatta around my head or a bindi adorning my fore head? Beautiful, right? I would be the shy ideal Indian to-be-bride girl. I would be safe from harassment, molestation and rape. But, No. I don’t need a dupatta or bindi. I want you want me. I take it an insult that you are not excited by my looks, expressions or clothes. I am inviting you, because I’m a bad girl.
I am a mother who makes breakfast for my family before leaving for work. I return home early to prepare dinner and sleep late after completing all the chores. But, No. I am neglecting my children and my partner. My career has more priority than my family, because I’m a bad girl.
I am an ardent believer in always saying ‘Yes’ to my boss. Extra hours – Yes. Night Shifts – Yes. Friday parties – Yes. His room – Yes. But, No. I never learnt to compromise on my principles. I am going to wear my man pants and make my own rules in this testosterone driven industry, because I’m a bad girl.
Bhakti Sharma, the youngest woman to swim the Antarctic has set a world record by swimming 1.4 miles in 52 minutes in one degree temperature.
Suzette Jordan, the survivor of the Park Street rape incident who did not keep her identity secret did not go gently into the night. She raged and raged against the dying light.
The unsung hero Neerja Bhanot, the youngest Indian to win an Ashok Chakra sacrificed her life to save innocent people on the hijacked US bound PANAM flight at Karachi Airport on September 6, 1986.
Last month, the Indian Women’s Hockey team won the FIH Hockey World League Round 2 and this month both Saina Nehwal and Sania Mirza have set their own records in their sport!
I am strong, courageous, brave, caring, patient and a relentless individual. Yes, individual. Why? Because I have been trying my entire life to ignore this, but each day slams this very hard truth in my face – that I am a woman. Beautiful, soft, weak and meek Woman. So, I am going to dare. Dare become a human being, be it the bad girl way!
I was the second daughter born in a middle class family who wanted a son. My grandparents cried with me as I, a girl came into this world. Thankfully, my parents were of a progressive mindset and did not succumb to the way things were supposed to be for a girl child. They raised me like a son. My individuality was celebrated, but it was during my student days at an engineering college that I started getting aware of the fact that I have a different body. It went to the extent that I was told how I should wear my dupatta. The fact that I wore my watch on the right hand, instead of the left, became an issue. I went on to become good friends with many individuals of the other sex and I was immediately labeled as someone who is sleeping around. In a culture where the ideal path for women is to get education, prepare them for marriage, to tend a house and raise a family; anything that you do out of track gives rise to numerous insinuations. Ours is definitely a patriarchal society, but here too you will mostly find women against women than men.
Growing up a liberal household isn’t enough. It is only when I grew up that I realized that the world outside is so different. I had been a tom boy in my teens, and in some sorts I still am but the very perception has changed – not only with others, but also me. I am constantly trying to defend myself and my attitude. For example, I got my hair colored when I turned 24 last year. Since then, I have been trying to avoid the piercing eyes of men and women who instantly assume me to be someone with a loose character. Therein begins the internal conflict between what is right and what is supposed to be wrong in this conformist society. I have to think twice before wearing my favorite pair of shorts for a casual evening walk lest I be molested. I even have to wear appropriately covered clothes in my flat because there are guys staying next door and it would be considered an alleged invitation of some sort.
What wrong have I done? Is it only because I am a girl, born in a man’s world? ‘Man’kind, hu’man’ity, wo’man’. Man, Man, Man. Do you think that I have a chance of making it here? Or do I even deserve one? Draupadi certainly didn’t. She garland only Arjun but was married off to the five Pandavas, one of whom bet her in a game of dice. She indeed paid a price; of being a woman with a vice. Had she protested sooner and claimed what was her right; maybe history could’ve avoided a significant fight.
But I am not her. I am the bad girl I said I was and will continue being so. I will also be the voice that will turn your mothers, sisters, girlfriends and wives to bad girls. I am not the damsel in distress waiting to be saved by my price charming. I will fight you and I will defeat you. I will not hear how I should wear my dupatta or what job I should choose. I will pay my own bills and open doors for myself, thank you. I will destroy the glorified projection of a woman who sacrifices her needs, the image of a woman as a submissive, all-giving nurturer who is a victim of this society. I am the woman who embraces her needs, an individual who is unabashed in accepting her desires.
At the end of the day, the bad girl too wants to be alive, to live, laugh and love.
I don’t want to settle for anything less than I deserve.
I want to curate my own dreams and find my own way
Dear man, will you let me at least have a say?
Will you stop judging me, pitying me and calling me crazy
And for once, stand up for me?
Not for a woman but another human being.
I don’t want to be you, but I am tired of being just a ‘SHE’.
I want to be frank, fragile and free. Oh world, just let me be me!
P.S.- Inspired by Kalki Koechlin
Image credits: tumblr.com