“Look there” Pranshu nudges me as we wait in line at the mall.
I look at his thin, index finger pointed towards a table towards the end. It is, of course, a girl he is pointing to.
Wow, that is the first thought that enters my mind. Her head sits perfectly on her shoulders, her neck long and graceful but not more so than her waist-length hair, flowing along her back and shoulders.
I behold her dark skin and black almond eyes that seem to spring to a life of their own when she smiles, her pointed nose giving that perfect symmetry to her face. She laughs at a joke, her head thrown back and her right hand automatically going to her face.
I see her much better as she comes closer, a perfect physique, wide shoulders that somehow exude a certain delicacy, full breasts, a straight back, and a lightness to her tread that almost seems like she’s gliding.
I find myself admiring this woman. She takes a menu card and walks back and I see almost all of the men beside me look at her with varying degrees of wonder on their faces.
“What I would not give for a piece of that!” says Pranshu, as he observes her while she walks back.
“What do you see when you look at her?” I ask.
He frowns and looks at me.
“Well,” he begins, “I see her figure, her height, and the way she walks man. So sexy. I also like the way she smiles. And of course…”
I shake my head and he stops.
“I see what you’ve just described,” I say, “But you know what else I see?”
I pause, as he shakes his head.
“Possibilities,” I say and he frowns.
“That’s right,” I say, “Possibilities. Who is she? What food does she like? Does she like coffee or does she hate it? Does she like books? What sort of books would she like? What sort of jokes would she like? How would she react if I cracked a joke at her?
Would she hit me playfully or just smile like she’s smiling right now? What would it feel like to sit with her on the beachside? How would it feel like to dance with her? What would she do if I went up to her and tried to flirt with her? What kind of boyfriend would she have?
Would she even have a boyfriend? Would she even like men? Yes, I do see what you saw, but that won’t be the only thing.”
Pranshu stares at me.
“You don’t get it, do you?” I ask, smiling.
He says nothing.
“There are no barriers, no walls, or limits to what a woman can be and to what extent she can be. If I look at her and say she’ll make a good wife or it’ll be fun to have sex with her; that’s when I plunge into the chasm of idiocy.
The moment you limit her to what she should be or whatever the hell she ought to be; that’s when you lose.“
He nods and looks at the girl.
“So what do you think of her?” he says, “I look at her and see a dancer.”
He pauses, his face thoughtful, and then continues with a smile.
“But that’s not all she can be. It’s not all she should be, although that’s her decision to make, and I can be pretty sure it’s not all she will be.”
The two of us high five as our food arrives.
I am an atheist, since I don’t know when, but most people I know aren’t. They believe in God. Most of them. And I feel amazed that so many of them ignore the fact that the power to give life, attributed to Him, is something only women can do. I don’t claim to believe in God. But if you do, you should consider this.
All of us deserve to be treated as equals and we deserve to be able to do whatever we wish to without any problems whatsoever. Women, like all other genders, deserve the same respect. But more than that, what they do not deserve, as I mentioned before, is to be confined.
I have seen girls taken out from their jobs to get married and get settled, dashing their dreams to the ground. I’ve seen my mother face the challenges of being in a senior position at her workplace and even my sister facing the brunt for being a strong, independent, and outspoken woman.
Why do these women face challenges?
Because in our minds, we still restrict them. And no, I do not mean just men. There are so many women who restrict themselves out of fear of how society would react and if not them, we do their work for them by using just three words. Three words that should fill them with pride and yet, for so many women, mean something entirely opposite.
“You’re a woman.”
Women have risen above these challenges, but why are these challenges there to begin with? Why are there so many who believe that there are only so many things a woman can do? Why must every woman struggle to achieve success and finally be called the “first woman” to do something?
And why, above all, are women, our mothers and sisters and friends and daughters, subject to the horrible atrocities that we read about every day?
But, today is the day we celebrate women. But why is this celebration limited to one day? We spend so much of our time laughing at jokes on them. These mostly joke that highlights negative stereotypes about them and couldn’t be more wrong.
But why do we conveniently forget the positive stereotypes? (I use the word stereotype because no sentence or phrase or word can encapsulate an entire gender). Why and how does it become convenient to forget how loving women can be?
Or, how caring and nurturing women are? How beautiful they are? How strong, fierce, and independent they can be? How easy it is to love them? The list goes on and on.
Do you know why said list seems inexhaustible?
Let’s pledge to celebrate every day as Women’s Day. Sounds cliché, I know. But if there was ever a time when a cliché was not so cliché, this is it. In this day and age, more than ever, we must not forget to treasure all that women represent. Go and treat your mother or grandmother to a meal cooked by you.
Have a day out with your sister. Make your girlfriend feel special and loved. Gift your teacher something. Tell your manager in your office to go home early while you handle everything else. Treat your female best friend to dinner in a fancy restaurant followed by a Netflix marathon. Spend the day with your daughter.
And after you’re done doing all that, make a note in your mind.
Do it every day.