Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Mumbai Mirror(ed)

This post was published in the Times of India on 20th April 2013 for the Mumbai for Women campaign in association for Indiblogger.

Article in TOI

If the known devil is better than an unknown angel, you must be in Mumbai. At the outset, this is the city of dreams. But, delve a little bit closer and you realize, the product is nothing like the advertisement. Bulging at its seams, the island city has many despicable secrets hidden in its dark alleys. The streets don’t always lead to a safe haven and the railway tracks have witnessed many sordid tales. The illuminated skyline seems to be fighting a losing battle, all the while, pretending to be a city that never sleeps.
In spite of this, the backdrop of this city provides a canvas to a million dreams, nationwide. Everyone wants to lay claim to this enigma. Here, opportunities are based on competence and independence and freedom are two very different avenues. It is here that ordinary lives make extraordinary stories. The metro shines like a star, while the rest of the country views her through their imitation rose tinted glasses.
To this city, I belong. As a child, I have travelled its corners trying to grasp the stories within my secured cocoon. As a teen, I made my way through crowded buses, trains and streets, holding a safety pin for added security. As an adult, I’ve been cautious about who, what, why, where and when. The city that encouraged me to fly also clipped my wings from time to time. I protested, cried, flinched, fought and at times, surrendered. I was broken but I learnt to pick up the pieces. I learnt it was okay. That was where I was wrong.

‘Okay’ is an interim. It is not a resolution. It is not okay to be seen like a commodity. It is not okay to be treated unequally. It is not okay to put yourself last. It is not okay not to be in charge of your own life. Mumbai, I realized, was everything but impartial. No woman was free, completely. No matter the age, the community, the locality or the social strata. Shackles came in all shapes and sizes. Sadly, sometimes, they were passed from one woman to another.

Before we up the battle for gender equality, let’s make women on par with women. Let no mother have to tell her daughter to bear the insolence, lest the family be shamed. Instead, let her accompany her daughter to lodge a police complaint. Let no mother-in-law harass a daughter-in-law for dowry. Instead, let her urge her son to be a better husband and father. Let no neighbours question the integrity of a single mother. Let them, instead, help her get on with another day. Let no girl have to trade her childhood for the dangers lurking around. Let her have the security, instead, of having you watch her back. Treat every woman just the way you would treat yourself. And for that, you need to give yourself a fighting chance. I know, I did.

Men, you cannot be compared to women. We both have two very different horizons. However, this city is mine just as much as it is yours. There’s room for all and I refuse to be bullied into a corner. If I see something wrong, I will question. If I think you are being inappropriate I will warn you. If I think you still have not understood, don’t blame me for teaching you a lesson.  My assets don't fancy a conversation, lest alone being trespassed. And the sooner you learn that, the better we will get along. 

Women, stand up and raise your voice. Be informed and be aware. Be in control of your finances. Get your health check-up done, periodically. Live, love and laugh to the fullest. Be yourself, there is none like you. Teach your sons well and educate your daughters better. Mirror the change, one day at a time. And, we will surely be one step closer to a Mumbai for Women.

Written for the Times of India Mumbai for Women Initiative in collaboration with Indiblogger.

41 comments:

Anonymous said...

This is a piece that should /mut have a wide readership cause its so sensitively written ......thanks .Jacinta Rao

Ruchira said...

Okay is unacceptable ! Unless we begin by making changes nothing will happen. Even a small step is enough, but the step should be there.

vasu said...

Brilliant !

Corinne Rodrigues said...

Truly a clarion call to the citizens of Mumbai. May we all live in harmony as equals!

Nelton D'Souza said...

When this contest was announced I knew the person who would win it and I'm not going to wrong. I would have published it even if there was no competition.

Bhavana Shankar Rao said...

uau! that's the spirit lady.
Impressed the way you have put it.
Stand up to oneself should be the mantra of Indian women in particular, until then the situation will not change. We might lose some 'friends'. But who wants such friends who do not live or let live or accept the way we are? :-)
Self confidence is very important. I hope parents atleast in our generation will groom a strong woman instead of one who wants to be looked after.

Kajal Kapur said...

Great write up....guess the contra goes way beyond.

Nevertheless, let's make our world safer for everyone!

Wealthymatters said...

Its the first time I'm reading your work and in my opinion if you stick it out, you'll probably be be published and actually do quite well.Best of Luck!

sharmila k said...

Mirror never lies.You showed it and how !!We may deny but it is a fact that the change has to come from within us to begin with. Excellent read there BG!

Blogwati Gee said...

Thanks A. Jacinta, coming from you those words are no less than a trophy :)

Blogwati Gee said...

Absolutely Ruchira. To change the mindset, we need to make up our minds first.

Blogwati Gee said...

You are way too kind, as usual.

Blogwati Gee said...

Amen to that Corinne. Someday!

Blogwati Gee said...

Wow, Nelton, that is such a generous compliment. I feel like a millionaire already. Thank you for the vote of confidence.

Blogwati Gee said...

Bhavana, this I promise you, my daughter will never have to bear the blame for being a girl. She can take on the world and I'll be there to see her do it.

Blogwati Gee said...

Kajal, true that. Change begins with me.

Blogwati Gee said...

Thanks for the compliment though I found your post to be way informative. My money is on you.

Blogwati Gee said...

Thanks Sharmila. Mirror never lies but not all have eyes can see. That is the story of our nation, sadly.

Nandini Deka said...

Very nicely written ...wish there are more women like you...its not always men but many times even women can make another women's life hell too, ur post subtly highlights that as well.

The Wicked Writer said...

Wow, well written, well said and well done.

Farida Rizwan said...

I agree that women need to stand up for women... Until then change will be just a dream. Hard hitting words. Hope they make an impact.

Blogwati Gee said...

Thanks so much TWW.

Blogwati Gee said...

Nandini, the devil, more often than not resides within. Not that the men are not to be held responsible for the heinous crimes. But all men were boys at some time. That is where the grounding ought to start!

Blogwati Gee said...

Farida, we can only hope and try and make a difference.

prateek mathur said...

I sincerely wish that this initiative grows and becomes "India for Women" soon!
Very well articulated post!

prateek mathur said...

Btw, naming a post "Mumbai Mirror (ed)" for a TOI initiative, EPIC! :D

Blogwati Gee said...

I'd say Ah!Men to that Prateek :)

Blogwati Gee said...

Chalo, kissi ne notice toh kiya.......*Adjusts the halo*

prateek mathur said...

Satire unnoticed nai jane deta Gee :)!
*Adjusts Collar* :D

Blogwati Gee said...

So glad we are friends :D

KayEm said...

A wonderful post, BG. I laughed about the safety pin for added security but mostly, I couldn’t help cheering. From silly obeisance to equality and friendship is my fervent hope and you are right, it cannot happen unless women decide they'll appreciate individuals for who they are rather than for their gender.

Blogwati Gee said...

Amen to that KayEm. To be the change, I need to acknowledge myself first. Only when I make it count can I rope it the numbers. Thanks for dropping by.

venusjohn said...

what a wonderful article,so well written..
thanks,
venus john
vasai
9158996459

Blogwati Gee said...

Thanks Venus. You'd like to keep your number off the comments list?

Fashionopolis said...

Congrats my lovely. A very well written piece. Read it this morning and was super proud of you. FYI only you could have named a TOI article Mumbai Mirror(ed) ;-P
Love,
Amena.
Fashionopolis
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Vishal Kataria said...

Awesome article, Vinita. Congrats!

Just keep doing your bit to keep this message alive...

Blogwati Gee said...

Lol, Amena...I guess the title did the trick :) And equally proud of you too. chalo saath main party kartein hain :D

Blogwati Gee said...

Thanks VK. Nice seeing you here after a looooooooooooooooooong time :)

Fuadh said...

It is said that a writer writes because he has something to say, not because he WANTS to say something, and in your case BG, this certainly holds true! You write because you HAVE something to say! Great that you mentioned the point about so many women themselves being responsible for the injustice dished out to other women! So so true!

Blogwati Gee said...

Thanks Fuadh. That aspect cannot be negated at all. In fact, if we had a united front out there, men would not be so difficult to deal with.

Fuadh said...

Yes, most certainly!

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