There was a little girl. Let’s name her Chhoti. Chhoti had a wonderful protected childhood full of friends and cousins, dancing and singing. She was a good girl because she used to listen to these words, “behave properly, what will people think about you?” , “Are you an exhibitionist? Why are you wearing this? Walking this way / talking this way!” , “You want to go for cycling like a bad girl!” , “People will think you are a game”, “you have a boyfriend!!! You whore!!”, “You are an embarrassment” “you are pretty!! You are superficial!” “I wish you fail”. These words became scars that she didn’t recognise as scars.she chose a path of pleasing the loved ones because she thought that it’s her nature to do so. She mistook shackles as bangles. But no one knew that she was a fighter, when that path almost killed her, she refused to walk. Instead she took a different path which she always wanted to follow. She was so lost that she didn’t care if she got more lost in the jungle of life. But she survived not only because she was a strong one but because the closest people accepted Chhoti the way she is. She also learnt to accept herself and it’s an ongoing process.
Pain comes when people can’t accept. Sometimes we want to be accepted too maybe not by the whole society but by the people we love, parents, friends, lovers.
Rudra was not a “manly” man, there was a woman inside him. His sex was “male” but gender was not. He wanted to be accepted by his father, he wanted his father to be genuinely happy for his life decisions or just the way he was. On the other hand (In Angry Indian Goddesses) Frida’s father refused to come to her wedding because she was marrying a woman. The angry Indian Goddesses deals with other issues too but there was also a fear of being not accepted by her friends. Probably that’s why she kept her fiancée a secret.
We all do the things we want to do at the end of the day (only if we are strong) but the journey becomes much smoother when we get the support of our loved ones.
Wearing Mekhla, a saree like attire but it has 3 pieces. Mekhla is a Assamese dress.
Accepting and celebrating our own culture in our own ways can also be a form of accepting and understanding ourselves. That is how i feel whenever I wear Indian hand woven fabrics. These are not just clothes they are living arts which can become lost arts if people don’t buy them anymore. Then those artisans, the masters and keepers of these skills will have to go somewhere else for jobs. Somehow everything seems related. When they said “love yourself” i thought they meant only me. Actually love is so inclusive that it made room for so many more others or are they ‘me’s !
Mekhla from Assam Emporium, Kolkata, India.
‘Paisa Ring’ from Tanzil, Santiniketan, West Bengal, India.