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Women @ Work

Here Be Dragons

March, 2020

Dear girls,

On this woman’s day I  have been thinking about what message I want to send out to all of you? Do I want to warn you of the relentless and corrosive comments you will continue getting, with someone invariably wanting to box you and label you into a commoditized version of what girls should be like? By telling you how you cannot do something and how you should do something else, how you cannot be whatever you wish to be, but should mould yourself into a pre-set form because after all that’s what girls are meant to do?

Or should I warn you of the sleazy boss who invites you for a drink to discuss work after hours when he has not spent a single moment discussing it within hours? Or the aunt who pretends to worry about your unmarried, bechari status? Or the BF who has emotionally so entangled you in his web of expectations that you needy-ly seek his approval for the way you dress, talk and laugh?

But its March 2020 and I am supremely confident and optimistic that you have been able to slay these dragons all by yourself. I am sure you have already given one tight slap to the sleazy boss, and told the aunt that you have frozen your eggs and are not worried about the biological clock any longer, and ditched the control freak of a boyfriend long ago! You are flying high and carefully choosing the perches you settle on, by making choices only you control.

Although wait  a minute … What about the dragons inside you? Those treacherous beasts of insecurity and meekness which force you back to the ‘adjust kar lena, ladki ho’ behaviour pattern ordained for you by society? Have they disappeared forever because they have no business being attached to a smart, successful woman such as you? Or are they lying dormant in some inner recesses of your heart and mind? Only to raise their head unexpectedly and distressingly, when an alpha mail talks rudely to you on the 5th day of your new job? Or you meet your much older cousin, who you were in such awe of as a kid, and she looks at your carefully coiffured hair and asks you why you have such messy hair for the wedding? Or when the principal blames your working-mother status for the fact that your kid has not done too well in her examinations?

Then from the periphery of your meticulously crafted poised identity, from within the folds of the self-confidence that you have draped around you;  do these demons raise their ugly heads? The little green vipers and the insidious voices reminding you of the little girl who was too plain  the teenager who was so timid that she allowed classmates to bully her and the young new mother who was constantly guilt ridden because she left her baby at day – care to go back to work ?

Those are the dragons you must slay my dear girls. Not the ones outside, but the ones inside you. They are clever and crafty creatures so beware of them; and they will eat away at your self-esteem if you allow them to flourish.

It is March 2020 and you need to become bold and brave now. You were always wise and wonderful but you now need a dose of courage and a measure of pluck. So that’s what I wish for you on this day.

Set out to conquer and vanquish your inner demons and internal uncertainties, because a life lived in fear is an enfeebled life. And that life is not for you my braveheart!

A very happy Woman’s Day to you!