In the waking up…
There is nothing common between me and Pratyusha – yet there might be, in its least common denominator – between us as women of India, struggling to make something of ourselves but getting caught in ungainly traps.
Traps that might originate from professional or personal spaces, that are invisible and deceptive.
Pratyusha was an accomplished, educated, and privileged urban woman. She had many friends and a family – even fans, to fall back on. She had to remember this in time, at that last moment, when sensing is clogged and choked, where life is at stake.
I have a list of the best moments at hand: the best things people have said to me, acts of kindness and love given to me – and I keep this list handy, like pictures of gods in wallets, for those despicable low times.
For your darkest moments, reach for that list of blessings, accomplishments, resources, and well-wishers.
I Behead My Demons in My Stories
I walked out of my parent’s home at 17; it quaked with domestic quibbling and violence. To stand on my feet in Mumbai – the city of dream and delusion – was a task in itself.
I have seen an average kind of poverty, an average kind of prosperity.
Having left behind my home, I had to deal with the feeling of an outsider to a city – then, as a writer, with the schizophrenia of the publishing industry.
I live in my sasural of occasional juxtapositions with my father-in-law’s rigid patriarchal way of thinking to my free, liberal ways. I wish this was even slightly comical. But a writer to him is a plain, good-for-nothing if she cannot chop vegetables or bring home the monies, never mind if she was a recent alumna of a prestigious international programme.
But I have made peace with onions. I behead them in my stories, unravelling their layers.
I am also blessed with loving family members, friends, and colleagues, and the wisdom to remember them.
Who lives in your house? In your world? In your workspace? In your preoccupations?
We have enough of challenges as women from societal norms, cultural upbringing, from the workplace, in relationships, and in the way our own relationship with ourselves is changing as we grow and age, over our identities. Who are we, and how free?
Why You Need That Emergency Exit Plan
Stand up before the last brick, the last nail, the last breath does you in. If you cannot help the situation, flight is the best fight.
Pack your bags and LEAVE every definition that binds you. End your life, by starting it anew somewhere else. This is the multiverse, and it will open one more avenue with one strong decision.
When women with no resources or lesser resources have rebuilt their lives and of those around them just by the foundation stones of their spirits, we can do more. Take Sindhutai Sapkal, Subhasini Mistry, Sampat Pal Devi and those around who battle it every day with their silent day-to-day tenacity, in their walk and stride.
Keep the emergency exit plan if your life is at stake. That list is for the darkest of moments.
Know that the expanse of your flight is not in the strength of your wings alone, but the size of the cage you are in.
Don’t choose who you will die for, but who you will live for.
(Rochelle Potkar is the author of ‘Arithmetic of Breasts and Other Stories’ and ‘Four Degrees of Separation’.)