I don’t want to be a part of any marches that are taking place today; I don’t want to wear any ribbons that are being offered to me today. I don’t want to be made to feel extra special in trains and buses. I want to be given a day just like any other day. I, in fact want all days to be like today, so that each day that I live – being respected becomes an acceptable fact for which, I do not have to crave.
To all the women who are celebrating I respect your celebrations, I am happy for you, but sadly I have chosen not to be a part of them, coz it’s time I stayed at home and took some pledges. Pledges which do involve any community but myself, for I want to change, myself first before I take an attempt to “Bell Bajao” next door!

Today I pledge…

  • To make sure that each girl I’ve counseled goes in for labor without the UV rays peeping into their tummies…
  • To make sure that I make myself realize that one slap even in the worst of family/personal fights is not ‘ok’!
  • To make sure I educate my best friend that ‘mind f***ing’ is also a form of abuse in a relationship!
  • To make sure that I take the step to openly discuss sperm banks and breast feeding rooms in office!
  • To make sure that I make my kids feel that it’s perfectly fine if my partner kisses me in front of them… That the same is not scandalous
  • To make sure that when I look at a child I don’t look for the hint of his mom or dad’s face, but only look at his innocence!
  • To make sure that tomorrow when my child asks me about her parentage I tell her that like her I too am yet to know that with a straight face.
  • To make sure, that I read to kids each night not to make them not merely literate but educated.
  • To make sure that I teach all guys that just because a girl asked them out doesn’t mean she’s easy.
  • To make sure that I teach my kids that it’s ok to get bad grades till the time they have tried their best.
  • To make sure that those lessons of civics and EVS kids around me learn are not just utilized to be vomited out in annual exams.
  • To make sure that tomorrow when a kid asks me who’s the “Head of the Family” I don’t say it’s his father, simply because his ailing grandmother doesn’t earn the bread he eats!
  • To make sure that I spread the word around that it’s not ok if your maid’s little girl sweeps the floor in her absence – a single day of substitution work is also child labor.
  • To make sure that I don’t teach my kids that it’s ok to give away clothes which they won’t wear or food they won’t eat to children who cannot afford what they can.
  • To make sure that I teach my daughter that it’s perfectly fine to watch that “Whisper” or “Stayfree” ad on TV with her father or brother around without feeling queasy.
  • To make sure that at the age of 8 my daughter knows the difference between a “good touch” and a “bad touch”.
  • To make sure that all children grow up around me respect the decisions their mothers took to build homes rather than careers.
  • To make sure that no child shuns his parents merely coz they can’t speak the foreign language that has come to become a necessity.
  • To make sure that little kids are taught to return to their roots after growing up and not live the “green paper” dream!
  • To make sure that I spread the world that it’s perfectly fine if you want to be a politician or a simple housewife – that careers do not end at being a Doctor, Lawyer, Engineer or an MBA!
  • To make sure that my little ones don’t count their earnings in dollars but in quant(s) of knowledge they have gathered through the years.
  • To make sure that my daughter understands the knowledge of “safe sex” yet doesn’t feel that virginity is necessary for her to be tagged as a “good girl”!
  • To make sure that my daughter does not think a saree to be a ’behenji dress’ (out of fashion- traditional) and neither thinks it to be her fault if she hears catcalls when she’s at a pub looking hot in her micros!
  • To make sure that I accept all teachings that I bestow on my kids to be turned to reality and used against me when I am found compromising on those very teachings.
  • To make sure that I don’t spend hours awing other’s kids taking bold steps while secretly hoping that mine stick to traditional pathways.
  • To make sure that I tell my partner that just as he has urges I have mine… And that merely coz I’m a girl I won’t wait for your moods in bed!
  • To make sure that when my 10 yr old asks about his origin I do not explain him in terms of bees and birds or the stork story!
  • To make sure that I teach my daughter/son that “unbuttoning” for anything is not cool and that feminity is not to be used.
  • To make sure that I educate everyone I meet, that if I live life alone – it’s a choice I have utilized which is to be respected and not lack of opportunity which is to be *tskd!
  • To make sure that I tell the world that I’m not a whore if I know about sexuality n alternate lifestyles or Gorean literature… I’m just educated and aware!
  • To make sure that I tell all the traditionalists/straights that merely coz I support gay or eunuch rights doesn’t give you the right to question by sexual preferences… It shows my level of tolerance and your lack of the same.
  • To make sure that I don’t hide from my kids the snide I faced as a kid, and instead come across to them as a kid who’s been through exactly what they are going through.
  • To make sure that I don’t attempt to build up my little creations ‘just like me’ or search for my qualities/drawbacks in them, but respect that they are individuals just like me and you.
  • To make sure that I teach every little mind that each game is not played to win… But it’s wrong to leave a game unfinished thinking you’ll lose!
  • To make sure that I let my partner know I tell my partner that it’s ok to lose temper n shout… But it’s wrong to define compatibility on the basis of a single fight!
  • To make sure that my friends understand that I don’t support the Women’s Bill to show I’m different but to truly show that I believe in an equal world without reservation.
  • To make sure that I tell my daughter that I won’t be ashamed if she leads the pink panty campaign or bashes up an uncle who tried to be too fatherly and that it certainly would not mar the family reputation
  • To make sure to teach all kids Ramayana the way I was told, leaving them to decide whether Ram was a God or just another chauvinistic man!
  • To make sure to be sensitive yet not look accusingly at each husband/in-laws who have been charged of dowry!
  • To make sure to make people understand that it’s ok if a girl breaks her heart or suffers a bad marriage, getting her re-married is not the solution!
  • To make sure to teach kids that God is what you believe in – it may be a tree or an idol, but it never resides in lockets, tabeez’s and that wearing of astral rings can never change fate.
  • To make sure that I send out the message to all kids that writing poetry is not girly nor is playing football macho, both are things that don’t have any tags of sexuality attached to them.
  • To make sure that my kids know that just as I need my privacy, I respect theirs… But just as they need the X-Box so do I!
  • To make sure that I tell my critics that merely coz I don’t care doesn’t make me a rebel but just shows how comfortable I’m in my skin.
  • To make sure that when I leave the world people talk about my ability to survive amidst snickers in my own terms, talk about my success in terms of the inspiration I have provided rather than *tsk about a better life I could have led had I being ‘normal’!

As a child I wondered why God made me a girl, as a teenager I understood the subtle differences in my gender and theirs, as an adult I understood the ways of the world as expected of me. It is only today as a woman that I understand the importance and privilege of being given an opportunity to do so much in one life, to have been presented with a free mind and soul, to have the ability to feel the need of pain and laughter both, to have the power to nourish and destroy, to be a perfect balance of fire water and the earth. I am a woman and it is the feeling of being one that liberates me today and sets me apart.

Today I want each woman to feel that feeling of liberation, that breath of fresh air, behind that purdah, beneath that veil, amidst those pallus….

The sense of mortality sets in me a humbleness I feel today, that life is worth living coz there’s so much to learn, teach, un-learn and learn again… only then can I be called the true Woman of the World (WoW)!

Let each day bring sunshine which is as bright and filled with sunshine as today… and so let’s take a few moments off today to pledge – to stop talking and start working towards that sunshine filled day!