Congratulations on the birth of your daughter... here's to a lifetime of a beautiful new bond!
In this letter I will try my best to not be patronising or attacking. None of us were born aware of the world's wisdom or its drudgery. As women we rely heavily on conversations with other women, on their experiences, to make sense of this rather unjust world we are brought into. I hope this letter will be like that.
It's heartening to see you take a stand for being a homemaker. Indeed, your pride in being a homemaker is really refreshing given the thankless, unpaid, unacknowledged labour that women put in within their domestic spaces. However, I would also like you to acknowledge that you are (somewhat at least) far removed from a lot of women in our country—they don't have sea-facing houses to relax in, they don't have the privilege to "choose" to be a homemaker. You had a choice to be a hundred different things and you "chose" to be a homemaker; please acknowledge the privilege you enjoy over the girls who are not allowed to study after their marriage, women who have to leave jobs because "it doesn't look nice" when daughters-in-law return home late. You live a life of sea-facing Bollywood luxury and that's amazing; it's something women like me hesitate to even dream of. Please be aware of that and the "choices" it affords you.
Speaking of choices, I am glad you are staying home and looking after your baby. Some of us don't have that choice—my mother didn't.
On a similar note, I am so happy the arranged marriage situation worked out for you! So many of my friends have met such good men through their parents, but so many have not. So many have been beaten up, threatened and harassed every day. So many of us women have endured so much disrespect and abuse and stuck around in abusive marriages because we didn't have the "choice" to return home.
You say, "You have to meet someone in some way!" and I am very happy you met someone who fills your life with so much love! But some of us trying to build lives without this "someone", and our lives are valid too. We don't have to meet someone, we don't have to build our lives thinking we will meet someone in some way. You might say this is a "choice" we dare to afford.
Speaking of choices, I am glad you are staying home and looking after your baby. Some of us don't have that choice—my mother didn't. She hated to leave me behind every morning at 3— sad, already looking forward to coming back to me even before she stepped out of the house, but never thinking, "Why did I have her then?" like you did. I slobbered all over her face as an infant, but I don't think she has ever thought of me as a puppy. That lack of choice on my mother's part opened up choices for me; allowing me to, somewhere down the line, attend the college you did!
That's the way it works, we dream over a lot of other people's sacrifices, we stand on the shoulders of too many women— most of whom remain anonymous—just so our names can shine bright. As a new mother, you should be pampered and I am so glad you were. But how many women in our country can afford those 40 days of confinement? How many women can even afford to give birth to a daughter and be openly proud of her? Of course, being pampered is amazing. But spare a thought for the women who leave their newborns and come into your kitchens and help you pamper yourself!
Yes, feminists are destructive— they are out to destroy medieval mindsets and social codes that your husband and his colleagues do very little to counter.
"Feminism isn't woman vs. man. It's about equality," you said. You're so right! I wish more people understood that. But then what are you doing to that equality when you distance yourself from some of us women, and call us "feminazis?" You know what the Nazis did— do you really think fighting for one's own rights makes any woman at par with the most dangerous people in the history of mankind?
Yes, feminists are destructive— they are out to destroy medieval mindsets and social codes that your husband and his colleagues do very little to counter. I really hope with Misha and a beautiful woman like you by his side, he will consider twice before gyrating to "Tera pichha karoon toh tokne ka nahin" henceforth. Of course "there should be harmony between the two sexes and an equilibrium" but have you forgotten that you're sitting in a country where the sex ratio of boys to girls is nowhere nearing an equilibrium, nowhere near harmonious? You, so proud of your daughter, are definitely against the gender bias.
You clearly want the same things for women in our society as I do; so why distance yourself and draw these lines that divide you and another woman who you label as a destructive "feminazi?" How many centuries will we need to stop demonising women who are vocal and want things their own way?
When the end desire is really equality, then why even use these divisions? Why not be humbled by the "choices" you can afford and use that privilege to help the women don't have these choices?
Make a home, Mira. Make a home that empowers Misha to make her choices, and makes her aware of the thousands of girls who are forced into things that are "choices" for her.
Make a home, Mira. Make a home that empowers and enables Misha to make her choices, and makes her aware of the thousands of girls her age who are forced into things that are "choices" for her.
Respect yourself, respect women who manage to see their children for an hour or even less every day, and please respect the fact that they love their child as much as you love Misha; they don't think of their child as a puppy.
And be aware of the privilege that allows you a platform to speak out, that makes so many women want to emulate you; the privilege that affords you this public space. Some of us are working three jobs, raising two children in a single income household, walking miles to a school, dealing with the advances of sleazy agents and not being able to afford that space that came so easily to you. Use that place with your inimitable grace and style, and say something that does us all good.
Here's looking at you!