All of us are bound to think about something or the other whenever we experience something or when we see something happening in front of us. One such thing happened to me. I was sitting at home, one Sunday morning, when my father made my mother work in the kitchen for a few more hours because his boss was coming over for lunch. Trust me, it is hard to stand in the kitchen making food in the month of April or May in India. It made me think if the women are being exploited. It made me understand the cruel truth in life that, women have been trained to be submissive and husband’s law abiding woman. This stuck on to my head for a long time when I went to my mother and asked her if she was okay in doing whatever father asks for. She said, “ ‘I will love you and honor you until death do us apart’ is there in every marriage custom and these woes aren’t said for the sake of getting married but we actually meant every syllable of it.”

Somehow, I wasn’t completely satisfied by her answer and went to my friend with the same complaint. To my surprise, she took my mother’s side and said, such moments at home show how much her love means to him and his love means to her and asked me to shut up and enjoy such cute moments. That was so not cute to me and so not the answer I expected from my friend and most importantly from a person who belongs to this generation. When I tried to understand and convince myself that all this happens because of a reason and women have to be the epitome of sacrifice in the family, was followed by another electric shock that my friend was getting married next year. Hardly 21, I was wondering how she was going to handle a whole family all by herself. I was genuinely worried and sad about the decision she had taken for herself. I spent hours sitting and talking to her. More than talking, I begged. Everything finally looked like, I talking into deaf ears. She completely ignored whatever I said and moved on with the idea of marriage and plans for her marriage.

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All this while, till 20 or so, women and girls keep fighting and roaring for rights and about how they are being treated a little less than men. And all of a sudden, I wonder if they are tired or if they just give up because they don’t want to taste the essence of freedom. I am not trying to be a feminist here. I am pro-women but not anti-men. I want women to know what life is and how it actually looks.

Till almost 18 or 20, we live under the shade of our parents and marriage at 20, again to live life under the shade of our husband? Get a life girls! We are born to serve. I agree. But, at 20, I think we need a few more years to look at life with our own eyes and not through someone else’s eyes. We need to experience both success and failure to know how it feels like to stand on our own legs and face something on our own. And most importantly, our parents didn’t raise us to get out of the house as soon as possible. Yes, they feel good when they see us happily married, but, they will be proud and satisfied if they know you are able to support yourself and lead a successful marriage. We mean the world to our parents and they raised us irrespective of our gender. They raised us according to our happiness and let us make them feel good by supporting them when they are old and tired of running around and earning money. Shouldn’t we act responsible? Is it enough if you alone are satisfied financially and emotionally? Is it enough if you are just born in the 21st century and behave just like the previous generation? Shouldn’t we get better as the days and years pass?

I know the men are becoming more understanding than our grandfathers and great grandfathers. All of us can see that. We, women, should also try and contribute to make our lives with them much more beautiful. Brains also contribute to the beauty along with physical appearance. I see a steady increase in the number of educated girls and I want to make sure nothing goes down the drain. We must make sure our qualification makes a difference to this world in a positive way. Family life is always there. It is important, I know; but, not already. Family life can wait for a few years. Only when you know your qualification has a made a difference, you can teach a lesson to your children. You can make a difference in their lives as well.

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Let us stop demanding respect. Command respect. Always! We must make people, be it men or women or boys or girls, respect us for who we are and not for who we are married to. Marriage is essential for a healthy, happy life; you always need to be assured that you have someone by your side to support you during your good, bad, sorrow and happiness. But, to know how to handle each and every situation, you need to live a life of your own. Only then, you will know to handle someone else’s life along with yours.

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