Womanhood in 2018

A few days back I had started a photo-series where women spoke about what it is to be a woman in today’s day and age. Is it inconvenient as many would say? Is it empowering? Is it tiring? Is it confusing? Well, womanhood cannot be boxed into any definition because the expressions of womanhood are infinite. Through this photo-series I aim to tap into those infinite expressions and discover how a woman in 2018 perceives the idea of being a woman and womanhood as a whole.

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Part II

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Nandana James, 21.

It’s a rather strange time to be a woman. While feminist discussions and assertions are abound, instances of sexism are just as rife. Seems like the wrath of patriarchy is going to linger around, but fortunately, people are willing these days to engage in pertinent discussions.

dsc_001511388637.jpgNandana is a journalism student.

 

Shubhita Chawla, 22.

I’ve come to the realization that being a woman comes with its own set of responsibilities- To help other women grow, to be a good human first, to have the strength to follow your dreams through to name a few. There are so many facets to our being. Mothers, sisters, wives, caregivers, goddess, we can choose to be one, or choose to be all of them. But our biggest responsibility is towards ourselves. To love our flaws and overlook our insecurities. To embrace our vulnerabilities and to flaunt our scars with pride.

 Shubhita is an aspiring media professional.

 

The perception of ‘womanhood’ in today’s day and age can be different to different women. In the upcoming blogs I will bring out more such descriptions about how the woman of 2018 perceives womanhood.

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What It Means To Be A Woman

On the 8th of March we celebrated International Women’s Day, like we do every year. In college, me and all the other girls in my class were given a packet of chilli power with a message that said, “Spice up the eyes of all those words dare harass you.” Looking at that packet one couldn’t help but think that we live in a society where we actually might have to use this on someone one day or another. We live in a world where some women are still not allowed to venture outside without a male companion by their side. A world that sometimes looks down on you for taking certain decisions or living a certain way of you are a woman. But on other hand, we now live in a world where women are CEOs of muti-nationals and Vice Chancellors of countries. The same world that thought women were incompetent to drive (Read UAE), now thinks we deserve the right to drive if we choose to.

Being a woman in today’s world is a complicated affair. We are constantly processing threats and looking at infinite opportunities all at the same time. It’s not all great for us out in the world, but it’s not all that bad either.

So what exactly does it mean to be a woman in 2018?

I asked a few women and this is what they had to say.

And I’d like to present it to you in a three part photo-series.

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PART I

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Zoya Mateen, 22.

For me, womanhood is simply the art of becoming. It’s an inward journey rather than an outward one. I choose to give very little, or perhaps no importance to what someone might choose to identify me as. Sometimes a Muslim, sometimes a woman, the daunting expectations that come when you combine the two. Add a dash of modernity and a spoonful of arbitrary judgements on what I wear what I eat say or think and I already feel like I’m going crazy!
So no. I refuse to listen to them. I refuse to let them choose for me. My battle is within me.

I’m proud of who I am. my gender, faith or thinking have very little role to play individually in making me feel like that. Womanhood for me is this act of faith in yourself. For whoever I am and whatever I can be. I have the strength to accept myself and in the process learn, learn and keep learning

dsc_0061228821267.jpg Zoya is an artist.

Prashasti Awasthi, 21.

Being a woman is a tiring job especially when you advocate feminism. One is always misunderstood.
Having said that I can’t trade being a woman with anything else. It is the most powerful and amazing feeling. We are endowed with the quality of a nurturer and an empath. I cherish it as much as I cherish my physical growth.
I feel fortunate to be chosen to be a woman.

dsc_0047714435329.jpg Prashasti is a war journalist in the making.

 

 

Well, one thing we can agree on is that ‘womanhood’ cannot be defined. It can be perhaps be perceived in different ways by different people. In the upcoming days I will be showcasing more such women sharing their perceptions on womanhood, and what it is to be a woman in 2018. Stay tuned!

 

Story Of An Overthinker In Love

What goes on in the mind of an over-thinker in love

I live my life inside my head. I often want to tell you everything that goes on in it, but can’t seem to find the right words. And even if I did, I won’t possibly know where to begin!

Sometimes I wonder if you’d even understand if I told you. I wonder what you’d think of me. Would you like me more? Would you hate me for it? Would you think of me as strange? See….now I’m overthinking! This is what happens most of the time. I want to tell you one thing, and my mind spirals into something else all-together.

I get distracted very easily. I like to look at the skies while walking. I would almost ALWAYS stop to admire a little puppy or a cat on the road. I would sometimes talk to the old beggar or the kid playing on the footpath. I would look at the vendors in the market and wonder what they do once they return home at night. Oh, and it’s a different ballgame altogether when I’m by the sea.

I like to take in as much of it as I can. The smell of fish, the feel of salt on my skin, the noise of waves crashing, the sticky breeze flowing through my hair, all of it stimulates my being. I can spend hours just being there, feeling it drip in, bit by bit.

But you know what? That’s me even otherwise. I’m hardly a passive bystander in life. I’m actively processing everything that’s going on around me. It might come as a surprise to you, considering how lost I look, but inside me- I’m alive with imagination.

That’s why I like to take my time while I’m outdoors. Actually wait, not just the outdoors. I hate to rush anything. Be it eating a meal, reading a book, talking to you or simply strolling in the park by myself. I like to take things slow. Relishing each and every moment. It’s as though my mind is constantly imprinting each and every detail, trying to make sense out of it all. Continuously weaving a story.

Amidst all this, I’m contemplating life. Sometimes death. In the middle of the night I have dark thoughts of losing people I love in some freak accident. It gets my heart thumping, I wake up all sweaty, trying to catch my breath. Other times, I imagine what would happen if I died. Would it matter to people at all? Would it make you cry for days? I wonder if I have had any impact on the lives of people I’ve met in my lifetime. I wonder if they remember me fondly. Are any of them thinking about me right now? Do they recollect their time spent with me with a smile on their faces? Do I have any haters? I bet I do. All those arguments on Facebook and Whatsapp groups ought to have made me some enemies.

Well I can’t really help it. I have opinions and I feel strongly about them. It’s either yes or a no, there’s no “maybe” in my dictionary. I can be completely detached and not even blink about things or people I don’t care about. I can be distant and cold hearted. I can be cruelly unemotional at times. But mostly I’m brimming with emotions. I’m raging with anger every morning when I read of corrupt politicians, I’m filled with empathy when I find old people shivering in the cold- begging for a meal, I’m amazed to see the stars shine bright through the polluted skies on a tiring monday evening, my eyes tear up when I listen to a song that I like, my heart skips a beat when I think of you.

Talking of you; I think of you every other minute. At times I feel so happy that you exist that I start sobbing. I imagine ways in which I can show you how much I love you. I want to call you right at that moment and tell you that you’re the best thing that’s happened to me. But I know I would be dumbstruck. That’s why I write to you. It helps me align my emotions with my mind. I often picture you smiling at me, or looking at your phone with your eyebrows furrowed as you read a mail from work. Sometimes I picture you gobbling down food or staring into space as your cigarette burns itself out. Other times I imagine you gently caressing my hair as we kiss. I imagine your warm body curled up against mine. I wonder what goes on in your mind when you look at me? I wish I could get inside your head and understand what is it that you love about me. What is it that you hate. What is it that you wish you could change about me. I wonder if you look at me and think about the same things. But sometimes I have this gripping fear of losing all this happiness somehow. What if I disappointed you? What if something terrible happens to you, or me? What if you contract amnesia and forget that I ever existed! Oh God, so many things that could go wrong! Do you know what do I do when that happens? I pray.

Surprised? Well, it’s because now I have so much at hand that I might lose! I pray that I always find my way to you, and you to me. I pray that we rise above our differences and remember what we love about each other when times get tough. I pray that we strive to understand each other. I pray that you’re always happy. I pray that you’re always surrounded by family and loved ones who genuinely care about you. But mostly, I ask the universe/God to help us grow with each other every day. I have only you to thank for all this praying and talking to the universe!

You’d say I worry too much. I’d say, yes, “I worry, I worry”, but that’s just how I am! But it’s not all that bad always. It’s just that my mind just works overtime. Imagining the infinite possibilities of life. Perpetually finding my space in each moment. Finding my purpose in the universal story. Collecting moments & memories from my everyday life in my head. And as an over-thinker I pride myself for it. For if not an over-thinker, I can’t possibly imagine what else I’d be. Or, can I?

Mumbai Diaries: The Most Interesting Cabbie In Town!

“It was destiny that brought me here.” Says Mahesh, a 37 year old cabbie I met just a couple days back. Unlike other cabbies who usually dropped me to my workplace every morning, Mahesh seemed very upbeat and chatty.

But what was very appealing about him was his voice. Deep and husky, like the ones you hear in those sexy deodorant ads.

We got talking right from the minute I took the passenger seat next to him. From demonetization to current movies, to animal behavior in the African deserts, Mahesh had a say on everything. And with that beautiful voice of his, I couldn’t help but gleefully join in the conversation.

Jumping from one topic to the other I asked him how he landed up being a cab driver, because it was very surprising to see a person as well read and aware as him to be riding a cab for a living. He grinned at me and said that he recently lost his job. He told me about his college and how he had a diploma in mechanical engineering which held no value now. How he spent 5 months jumping down media agency to another in a chance to get one break into the voice over, radio industry. How his friends left him one by one when his financial condition deteriorated.

Seeing all the amulets and spiritual “jewelry” on him I asked him what kept him going through all of the tough times? Was it god? “My family is my God. It was my wife and children who made me smile on my worst days. They never made me feel like a failure. They never let me down or made false promises like the world or the so called God did.” “I’ve stopped socializing much, whatever free time I have I spend with my family”.

Behind the tough looking face and buttery deep voice if there was something that shone through was his positivity. Mahesh’s story wasn’t really inspiring or one of a kind. We meet so many others like him. People trying to make it big in the city or dreams Bombay! Of those who fail miserably and end up doing things just to survive this rat race. Dreams and hopes forgotten. Succumbing to the pressures of the city life.

But what was refreshing was his attitude towards everything. He still believes that everything that’s happened has happened for the best. He knows that his dreams of becoming a voice over artist seem bleak but that doesn’t stop him from dreaming about it regardless! His thirst for life and the will to do anything for his loved ones is what made his story better than most of ours. I couldn’t help but ask one last question, ” Can I write about you?” He put on his best smile and told me, “Sure Madam! Would you need a picture too?” As if  to say, this wasn’t the first time someone had asked him to do so 🙂

I Promise To Stay.

To the day your words will complete my thoughts.

The day your thoughts will become OUR dream.

To the day, our hearts would beat together.

To the day your promises would become a reality.

To the day our our skins will melt into each other’s and our days turn to nights endlessly.

To the day your silences speak louder than words.

To the day I discover the pain behind that smile of yours.

To the day your lips spell my happiness.

To the day your demons lose control finally.

To the day you find yourself again with me.

To the day your story becomes mine.

I will be by your side. I will wait patiently. To that day. I promise.

20 and Lost ! 

There are always two types of people . The first lot is of those people who know it all . The ones who are aware of their origin , who know what they’re doing and where they’re going . They’ve identified their destiny and will give anything it takes to fulfill their destiny .
Then there is the other Lot (which includes people like me ! ) . Those who are not really sure about anything . They’re lost in the present , unsure about the past and have no clue about what their future looks like ! They don’t know where they’re headed and even if they do , they have no clue how to get there .
Well , most of those in college will identify with this Lot 🙂

It’s not that we  don’t care about our future and , we definitely don’t like being stuck in the confused state that we’re in .
According to me , we are the late bloomers !

We have just not found our story yet . Most of us are stuck in the wrong storyline playing all the wrong parts .

Many things might’ve bought us to the place we are in , like society , parents , friends or sheer ignorance . And we do realise that something doesn’t quite feel right , but we can never figure out what’s that one piece of puzzle that doesn’t fit !

But you know what ? I feel that not knowing what we want to do actually works as an advantage because we live life one day at a time . Since we don’t know where we’re going next , we end up taking it all as one big adventure ! Although it might seem stupid and terribly naive and unambitious in today’s competitive world , we walk the rope blindly and hope for the best .
Until one day we finally stumble upon our destiny , and find that one thing we want to do in life .

And trust me , when that day comes we value that realisation more than the first Lot . Why ? Because , we strived to get to that realisation . We might’ve taken a thousand wrong turns to finally take the right one , the one that will lead us to the sole purpose of our lives .
So if you’re lost , don’t lose hope yet 🙂
If you’re lost , it’s okay !

Maybe not today but someday soon , you will find your way , and that day you will be grateful that you were Lost in the first place !

Death of a dream .

Bright as the morning sunshine

Blissfully as can be

She was hopeful and determined

She was full of awe and curiosity

But the world was a dangerous, dangerous  place

It was no land for this ignorantly happy girl !

They prowled and snared just for a chance .

The moment she’d look away

On her ,they’d let All hell unfurl !

Naive and still oblivious ,

The girl thought the world was hers to take ,

With all her might she set out on a journey ,

Not knowing what was at stake …

She skipped about gleefully,

She was optimistic and strong

She assumed she was almost there and that’s where things started to go wrong ….

And alas on that fateful day ,

As she was onward on her journey The world finally got hold of her

It all came thundering down ..before she could even understand the cacophony !

She was tortured and annihilated

Stripped of her spirit

She was denied that fundamental purpose

To stand up for herself ..

To travel and adventure ..to reach out and fulfil her destiny

Beyond any redemption now

She was Murdered in cold blood

She was punished for not having  obeyed

She wouldn’t have suffered if she had just stayed

But since she decided to listen to herself

The girl called Dreams lied mutilated and slayed .

How many of us really follow our dreams ? How many of us really have the courage to do so ? It is a scary question , isn’t it ?

Most of us just give up under the pressure , try and follow norms set by the society .

And dreams ? Well , they are just smothered …and left for dead .