TOO HIGH

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 14 Mar 2018 10:45:11


 

By biraj dixit,


 

 

 

 

 

Euphoria is that cloud under the cover of which one can rarely see the Sun of reason. Hence, one should always let those showers and drizzles die down before one can even start to feel or think, says the wisdom of the yore. And so I have never allowed myself to get drenched in the elation of those very euphoric Women’s Day celebrations. I do adhere to the norms – I exchange greetings, shower compliments, fill up other’s precious data with rhetorical messages and pictures and hail the triumph of women to show my solidarity with the social rituals. But do I ever get drenched in the euphoria? Oh, no, no, never!


I have seen many Diwalis or more appropriately many Women’s Days to entertain much enthusiasm on that count. Like fresh morning flowers that wilt even before the day signs off, so are Women’s Day celebrations. They don’t last even a day. And then back to the ways of the world! Why should anybody take them seriously?


But while they last, celebrations are fun, I tell you. How-so-ever little in substance, they do make you feel really good. “Woman – the creator of the Universe; Woman – the maintainer of civilisation; Woman – the destroyer of all evil…” It’s really fantastic how high they fling imaginations to deify woman. “Woman, who keeps giving and never expecting anything in return!” (I have, since, told my family never to take thoughts of such selflessness seriously. They might think I am an exception, rather a deception to the rule). Oh, the similes, the metaphors, the hyperbole, the euphemisms! These are called figures of speech only because everything they convey is so figurative. And yet one cannot but feel elated. It is so wonderful to be so verbosely admired before wilting into oblivion.


But now that the euphoria seems to be dying and the occasional drizzles too have calmed down, it is truly the time to think and feel. Euphoria and elation can be allowed to sidestep while one takes a reality check. Since the last euphoric Women’s Day, a lot many things have happened to help women alight from the holy pedestal and help their lot help themselves. They did alight from the pedestal as they joined in large numbers the #METOO campaign naming and shaming abusers and the tendency to feel free to abuse. In the process, they did give up a little of that pedestal to confess of their own lack of strength that made them vulnerable to abuse. Accepting vulnerability is one sure way to accept responsibility and gain strength.


They did come out from the silent suffering homes to insist on a firmer ban on that home-wrecking liquor in remote areas of backward Vidarbha. Be it Tunisia, Lebanon or Jordan whose Parliaments repealed archaic law that allowed men accused of rape to escape punishment by marring their victim or Chile whose Constitutional Tribunal that voted to ease country’s total ban on abortion or Bosnia where the ‘butcher of Bosnia’ Ratko Mladic was sentenced to life imprisonment for rape and sexual violence among many other crimes committed more than 20 years ago, or India where Maternity Benefit Act has been amended to suit the rational and purpose of maternity benefits, women seem to be gaining ground rather than pedestals.


Speaking of grounds, women in Saudi Arabia have gained enormous amount and not just figuratively. They have now joined the comity of women who drive, accelerate, park and are cursed at. They are finding themselves at the driver’s seat without much honking.


Since the first humourists of the world ejected snide at women’s mega ability to talk, they have been butt of many a man-kind joke. In fact, it is now that they have actually begun talking. Talking and taking on the Harvey Weinsteins of the world, talking about the pains of FGM (Female Genital Mutilation), talking and taking the sexual assault culture by the horns, forcing closure of liquor dens, talking of unequal pay and unimportant assignments. It is in fact, now that they are being heard.


That is what happens when one leaves the pedestal and places her feet firmly on the ground. Though they might lose some height, they are sure to be heard. But the toughest part about being a woman is leaving the high pedestal – a pedestal where one has been placed for centuries with care. To abandon it is a colossal task indeed. Perhaps that is why so many carry them in their hearts. The pedestal of the high womanly morals; pedestal of sacrifice and devotion; pedestal of absolute beauty, pedestal of perfect figure; pedestal of being the very useful second – pedestals of so many things assigned by the conniving world and not by the loving Mother Nature.


Standing with the feet on ground yet nurturing the pedestal in heart is perhaps the biggest ailment threatening women today. Her emancipation and empowerment will not come till such pedestals remain close by. A hearty laughter, art of slight flirtations, love for food might be what Nature endowed her with but pedestals demand she stay coy, speak softly, dress fashionably, have a fair face, no extra calories in her food, no potbelly. She must strive for a smudge-free, wrinkle-free life.


Euphoria clouds reason for sure. Pedestals in the heart weaken firm feet. It is high time illusions were broken. For a woman, nurtured as Mother Nature’s child a firm ground is a good enough pedestal where all moments are her own. Till then, let’s revel in celebrating Women’s Day once a year.