it was nearly year back hola, when someone i know asked me if i was interested to write about my take on womanhood…hmmm…i wasn’t really sure if i associated myself with that word, not quite yet…even though i was hitting my silver jubilee year soon. khai kunni and i said i wasn’t sure about it and declined the offer to write. the word made be nervous…’Woman’! i think i would still prefer ‘girl’, then.
i have always associated the word ‘aimai’ or ‘mahila’ with married women, well that’s what socialization in this society has led to me think…and so i thought about this sometime back and even asked others’ opinions. there are some folks in our office who dislike the word ‘aimai’…i don’t like it either. the sound of it, itself is weird to me. most would say mahila is an unmarried woman and aimai are married. but then there are girls out here who are married of when they are only 19..what about them? were they given a choice to call themselves either ‘aimai’ or ‘mahila’? i think i am confused myself, now. and then there’s the word ‘nari’ as well. (don’t even want to get into the word ‘manche’?
the other day, at a talk, ganesh gurung said ‘morning gentlewomen and gentlemen’…questioning why should the men only be gentle all the time? True, true. I say that now, but when i was in school, this sociology teacher said ‘gentlewoman’ to me, and i had gotten annoyed. some six years later now, i wouldn’t mind it.
so what’s this whole womanhood thing and what does it mean to me? i don’t have a full on answer and it’s definitely not philosophical or feminist or whatever ist and logies…but here’s a list of things i have made for myself, which makes me wonder that..perhaps, i am finally coming of age…ho ki kya ho?
1. if i go to a medical/whatever store, i will directly aske the guy at the counter ‘Dai, euta Whisper chahiyo.’
i remember, when there was a whole crowd of men at this medical store in Teku and since i was in a hurry, i just went up and yelled that…some of the men turned their heads around and looked at me, like i had no shame. Well, no i have no shame to ask for a packet of sanitary pad, why the heck should i be ashamed?
yes, as a teenager it was a hush hush thing, i would wait until i saw a woman at the counter..too embarrassed to ask for one. then get it wrapped in newspaper and then put it in a plastic bag.
FOR WHAT RIGHT? now i simply say, no don’t wrap it in newspaper.
2. i am not embarrassed when i see a mother breast feeding her baby in the microbus. now that happened recently too. i admit that i used to feel awkward about it and always thought to myself…i would never do that in public. i guess that’s the whole motherhood department, which is far far away for me, for now. but that’s another realization.
3. i freaking don’t mind walking past all the ‘kattu, bra’ pasals at khichapokhari…i used to be very very very awkward before. like i didn’t see that guy folding underwears and selling them to women. i wondered, what the heck? isn’t that guy feeling awkward surrounded my women lingerie? uff.
and so this past summer, i was dragged by one of my guy friend’s to one such pasal to buy a swimming costume. and the weird part was that….I WAS EMBARRASSED and HE WASN’T. no kidding…he even picked a suit for me. i just wanted the whole damn process of buying to be over soon and get out of that shop, ASAP. why? what was wrong with me? well, i think of that now. dude, that was so stupid of me, really.
so when i was at one pasal like a few weeks back, my friend and i perused the store before she found what kind of kattu she wanted…yeah, i like to take time on that too now.
4. i will hell, yeah, talk about my menstruation cramps loudly at a restaurant, coz i really don’t like them. i won’t whisper to my friends and say …’malai periods bhairacha kya…’. i just be like ‘this effing CRAMP SUCKS. I wish men had menstruation too.’ i curse about it all the time, yes i do. coz it takes up two weeks of my whole month…before and after it begins and there are days when i can’t do anything but curl up on my bed, clutch the hot water bag to my stomach and force myself to sleep under the infuriating pain. i will yell, i am freaking PMSing…don’t get in my way. i will tell the office administration to get a damn sanitary pad disposal bin in the bathroom.
5. ….hmmm….i don’t think there’s a number five, just yet. but this list will go on as i realize many other things…yes, i am thankful of ashmina ranjit’s performance when she wore sanitary pads all over her body as a dress and stuck pads all over the bathroom. yes, it made me awkward at first but seriously, if us women can’t talk about our own bodies and experiences then who will? that’s why i appreciate my colleague’s recent poem on women…too. that one was a BRAVO!