Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Why do we celebrate festivals?

In India, religious or not, we all celebrate a few, if not all, festivals. Festivals give a vibrant feel and the energy seem endless. Somehow, during festivals we manage to wake up at 5 am, do some extra cleaning, and load ourselves with work and some more work. Once we are finished and satisfied with our work, we dress up, wear saris or salwar suits, heavy jewelry and flaunt the never-there beauty in front of camera to upload some selfies on Facebook. We buy gifts, sweets and by the end of the celebration, we stand on a weighing machine calculating how many more kilos were contributed by the extra ghee added by our beloved mothers. Extra few kilos or not, there is definitely an extra sense of happiness and joy in our hearts before, during and after the festival period. 

These are few of my realizations as to why we should celebrate festivals -

1. Break from the routine: After college, you probably, start realizing that life revolves between 8 am and 5 pm. It becomes all about sleeping early, waking up early, work pressure, yet-to-be fulfilled commitments and never reachable dreams. Amid all the strange calculations of saving money, building a house, festivals bring a freshness even if it comes every year. It allows us to forget all the "future plannings" and focus our time and energy in decorating the house, preparing delicacies, eating good food and spending quality time with family. Festivals allow us to break free for one day and live a day filled with laughter, joy and love

2. Make the tummy happy: Indians are foodies and as much as we love our family, we love eating yummy food. In India, for every festival there is a special cuisine associated and it is specially cooked during these festivals. In my home town, "moode", "kadbu", "kai holige" etc are prepared during certain festivals (I am drooling now!!!) and eating becomes a celebration by itself. 

3. Meet friends and relatives: In this no-time-for-myself era giving sufficient time for family and friends gets harder with each year. Initially it's about the new job, then about the new wife/husband, then the newborn, then their schools and exams and hell lot of crazy things associated with them. Festivals give us that "day" where we can peacefully meet and greet people we love and do things we love. Take a box filled with sweets and knock your friend's door and say, "Happy Diwali" - don't forget to look at the smiles on their faces. 

4. Go shopping: Women don't need reasons to go shopping. But shopping for special occasions is something we love the most. So, Diwali ho ya Holi, shopping toh karni hai yaar!!! In India, there are a few festivals where we are supposed to wear new clothes (yey!!!), and we buy gold during some festivals which is considered auspicious (how amazing!!!). These festivals give us a reason to go out there and shop to our hearts content and nope, our husbands can't deny.

5. Treat for eyes: Who doesn't like bright colors, lights, decorations??? No matter how many "slum crammed area" pictures you see on google of India, the moment you type the name of festivals you will instantly fall in love with this culturally rich country. No matter how much we litter all through the year, during festivals we clean up and decorate our country so beautifully that India looks like a beautiful bride. I love to see the vibrant colors and joyful faces of people (who normally sulk!!!).

This is why I love the festivals and festival season in India..

What are your reasons????

*** All the above images are downloaded from different sources via google!!!

Friday, November 6, 2015

I am a feminist!!! Are you???

I am not a feminist because I support women, I am not a feminist because I talk about injustice towards women. I am a feminist because I believe men and women are equal. Having said that, I also believe, women can do all the things what men can do; not referring to flashing chests in public (that's what at least bollywood taught us so far). A feminist believes in equal work opportunities, equal rights, equal pay then I wonder why there is an extra dose of politeness and sensitivity towards women? Why can't men and women be treated equal in all regards? Why is it that a man proposes first? Why is it that a man holds the door for a woman? Why is it considered "good manners"? Is it because in the past we termed it "good manners" just to make women feel comfortable in a male dominated society? Is it because men think women are weak and need helping hands at every step? Or is it because men truly believe women are fragile and require a special treatment? Is it because men believe women are sensitive and hence, superior? Why? Why are women treated differently and not like any other guy? Is there a low expectation or a very high one?

Recently, my husband called me a "Super woman" because I was trying to manage certain things on my own, which for whatever reasons my darling husband thought I won't be able to. I felt happy, proud and after two minutes, I felt sad. This is the true image which most men carry about women. They think we are physically weak and need support and the fact is we take advantage of this.

Being polite is so intricately woven in to the system, that men feel the urge to open the door for women, pull the chair, pay hotel bills and the list goes on. Deep inside my heart, I hear a loud scream, "stop this nonsense". I don't need a man to hold my hand to cross the road. I can pull my chair, open my door and I don't mind saying "let's go dutch tonight". Whenever me and my husband go shopping, I feel equally responsible for the goods and I help him unload it and make it a point to lend my hand at every step. This is what feminism truly is.

If you see a man sitting in the bus, the first thought that hits our mind is, "How rude!!! Can't he get up and offer seat to the woman standing next to him?". But, so far we have never thought that the man sitting might be physically weak and tired compared to the woman. The whole agenda of feminism is about equality, right. If we are equal, why can't we stand? Are we implying that we are physically weak?

In the beginning, it was about how men and women were not equal and how men overpowered women. Then came a phase of equality but I don't know when women started acting superior to men. If we are truly feminist then the idea is about equality. Nobody is superior. You (my dear ladies) don't need extra pair of hands for everything. We don't want "the princess" treatment. We asked for equality and we should be extremely happy if it stops at that.

"Madam ko darwaza kholo"

"Madam ko pehle chadne do"

"Arrey madam ji, aap kyo? hum luggage utha lenge"

"Darling, when I am there why do you need to take this trouble?"

"You are the princess of my heart. I will treat you like a delicate flower" (faint!!!)

I don't want men to be polite with me or treat me like a delicate flower!!! I am a strong, independent and level headed woman, who asks nothing more than respect and equal treatment in all domains. As much as I want my husband to help me in the kitchen, I want to help him when he is fixing IKEA furniture.

I have no qualms if a man opens the car door for a woman but all that I am saying is, let her do the same for him without making it an "eye popping out of the socket" scenario for others. Let us feel equal in every regard, let us be equal, because we are!!!

All the images are downloaded from google via different sources.