Tag Archives: womensliberation

The Hell In Our Mind

The Hell In Our Mind
© Dr. Rajas Deshpande
“Did you look at her ****? Asked my classmate.
We were in college. I felt blood rushing to my ears. What if my mother or father heard this? I thought.
“No, I didn’t. Why?” and there followed unnecessary volumes of gyaan.
This girl from a rich business class minority in India was one of the most meritorious in our college. She was also supposed to be very beautiful, and (now that my classmates had too much talk about it, I couldn’t ignore), also had a nice figure. There were fan clubs after her. Some were also jealous of me as she often talked to me and my friend Shafi after the college. She had a heart more beautiful than her smile!
Everything changed one day. She had a bad accident. Without helmet, she suffered many injuries to her face and had multiple fractures. She recovered well, but had a totally scarred face, a twisted arm and a limp as remaining deficit.
Like magic, all the fans disappeared. Her worth as a female in their eyes was suddenly reduced, thanks to her exterior. The attention shifted elsewhere.
Once, while walking back after college under a wet evening, she asked me “Do you think I am beautiful? Answer the truth, what you feel”.
Just as I paused for a second for the right words to say “Yes” without sounding artificial, she added : “Say no. Because I hate the word ‘beautiful’ now”.
From books to scriptures, from Hollywood to Bollywood, from cultures to parents, men and women have insisted that the only woman worthy of being a woman, the only woman worthy of living a life full of love, attention and praise is the beautiful, young woman with a great body who can bear children. Women who are not physically endowed, who cannot bear children or compensate for it by different methods, who are not earning for the family are considered equivalent of ‘useless’ in our so called civilised world. Rarely do marital ads desire “Honest, Truthful and Caring” people, we know what they all demand.
Where do others go, those who are not physically attractive? How do they accommodate to men or even women drooling over physically attractive bodies?
A lot of Zen taught me: “Everyone is beautiful but still think they are not”. 
But it did not answer why the humans evolved to love only the exterior. By no means that is any sign of intelligent evolution. A beautiful young lady gets a lift faster, a phenomenon amplified in movies, with her showing off more skin to stop traffic. Aren’t we missing the obvious?
Recently, in my OPD.
“Doctor, I am not considered to be alive. My being is useless. I have stopped eating now. Suicide is my only relief” she said, amidst unending sobs. “This world is made only for useful women, I am supposed to be useless”.
Very intelligent. Elegantly dressed, sharp in her grasp of the situation. Well behaved.
Last week she had had a blackout.
Her examination being normal, I had asked her carefully if she had any stress. The answer came out in the form of an ocean of tears as she choked, she still wanted to defend the secret that hurt her.
After a cup of water, she made up her mind. “Doctor, please never tell anyone, that I told this to you. I cannot have children. The doctors who treat for fertility are trying their best. There are issues on both sides, but my husband does not want to talk about it to his parents. They presume it is all my fault. Although my hubby is well educated, his parents are quite orthodox. It is four years since marriage, and now I have become the target in my own home. When my husband is out, I am left to bear innumerable taunts.. I tried telling my mother in law in confidence, but she declined to believe that her son had any fault. Now they want me to leave, but they cannot openly say so. Where will I go now?”
“My husband talks to me now as if I am some unwanted burden. He just snaps or shouts and prefers to stay away from me even when at home. We have a purely mechanical relationship now, where I serve as his robot. I never imagined such a loveless life”. She paused till another bout of humiliating thoughts were swallowed. “I was working when I married. I quit my job in anticipation of pregnancy. Now he says I should not join till I have at least one child. Work will increase stress, the doctor says it may affect my becoming pregnant”.
“You need to meet a counsellor together” I advised her.
“We did. My husband refused to see her again. My in laws use many bad words from different socio-religious contexts, so humiliating! My self esteem is all gone. Is a woman useless if she can’t have a child, Doctor? Do I become a lesser human if I don’t become a mother? I desperately want to have a child, I had so many dreams of motherhood, I am suffering this myself, but now I feel like an orphan with no one in the whole universe”.
I reassured her and sent her to a fertility specialist who was also an excellent counsellor herself.
With so many excellent facilities and experts now available for assisting fertility, treating infertility and aiding child bearing in every possible way, India is at the forefront in this field. Add to this the cheapest treatments compared to the developed world, and best trained doctors. Still, there are cases where couples cannot have children. All the blame is automatically placed upon the woman. Leave aside the inability to have children, the woman suffers “denial of human being” status with this fault of nature.
There are so many laws against discrimination. Yet, one of the worst open discrimination in the world is against people who are physically unattractive, especially women, more so if they cannot have children. The change has to start from within each of us. How we think, what we say and how we behave must all change to eliminate this discrimination, worse than racism, because it comes from one’s own!
Yo mama cannot be ugly, hence no other woman can be.
© Dr. Rajas Deshpande

The Two Faced And The Mirror

The Two Faced And The Mirror © Dr. Rajas Deshpande
“I am far more than what anyone would define me to be. And my ego is not begging anyone to understand. It was my mistake, and I am over it now.” she said.
She kept her voice in control with tremendous effort. Her beautiful, extremely delicate and fair face with its sharp angles, thin sensible red lips and a quivering chin were all wet. Her curly hair was all messed up. Her large grey eyes were swollen, and one could feel the ache of her racing heart. But she refused to cry.
After a long relationship of over five years, on the brink of marriage, she had had a break up. Her boyfriend, a sensitive and handsome upcoming doctor, had come to a conclusion that she was not the kind of person he wanted to spend life with. They had grown together apart in last few months. He honestly told her so.
She could make his life hell, by fighting, showing others the many letters which he wrote to her earlier. She could have filed a police case. She could have gone to the Indian courts which have equated sex with a marriage deal. She had the social sympathy of being wronged, but she also had an eager army of young and old men willing to fight only for beautiful women, ready with buckets of mud.
But she was a differently honest woman.© Dr. Rajas Deshpande
“I don’t want to take advantage of being a woman. I am equal. If I was involved in him, if I had a physical with him, it was my equal wish, and my equal fault. I enjoyed it when it happened. So now I cannot say he deceived me. He has as much freedom to change as I have.” she said.
“It’s not the same for a woman” said a friend to pacify her.
“Then it’s time I make it so.. at least for myself.. I don’t want to think I was mentally weak enough to be physically taken advantage of” she replied. “I cannot imagine that he is not suffering this break up. I know he is. I will not tie my body to my wishes and hopes. I do not want my body to be a currency. I am as divine physically and mentally as any other human being. I am entitled to feel the same freedom as he does”.© Dr. Rajas Deshpande
Growing up in a twisted world which had umpteen layers of standards when dealing with women, she knew all the politically correct words. When a teenager girl falls in love, the parents allege of her having been “deceived in a trust trap”. As if she was never aware of such traps, as if she was never educated of how most men behave. The concept of falling in love while growing up, having a relationship which may not terminate in a marriage is all too heavy for many societies, and there are umpteen resources roped in to chain a beautiful man-woman bond into the shackles of religious, social, cultural dictats.© Dr. Rajas Deshpande
There are many instances of women being abused, mistreated and in general discriminated against, but there also are many (especially in the educated and higher classes) instances of the opposite. Both are equally bad and to be raised voice against. A woman should never be touched or spoken to against her will, and a man should also be treated with the same dignity. Wrong intention is not the monopoly of men.
“I will suffer, I know. But this is not extraordinary. People meet, like and dislike each other and go their own ways. To think that one can only correctly like and love someone with the sole purpose of marrying is too hypocritical. There are singles who love better than many married ones. There are many who found their soulmates after a lot of experimentation. Marriage is definitely a holy and respectable bond, but certainly not the only seal of true love”.
She went on. She recovered, albeit with scars. So did he. They are both doing quite well now, great achievers. They have both found new love again.© Dr. Rajas Deshpande
The beauty of life is too big to be trapped inside the tiny cells of sociocultural prisons.
The words “I Love You” are used less to express true love than to express mortal desires, to blackmail someone into doing something that they do not want to, to take advantage of the emotional dependence and respect of the one who has affection for the other. This “blackmail by beloved” becomes a deadly game of unhappy endings in many cases, as the chains of these three beautiful words wear out by overuse. “You will do this if you truly love me” is an ultimate indication of a desperado taking advantage, on either side, who hasn’t the guts to ask for what they want and respect the other person’s choice to decline.
There are also the two faced. I know of a lady who turned into a sweet talking angel and continually talked about her ‘being a good girl always’, grabbing the attention of people around her every which way possible, to have them praise her. If they didn’t, she would cry to describe the umpteen unfair things happening to her, most of them imaginary. If not praise, she would try and get sympathy. But the real deal was when she turned into an altogether different person when with her husband. She’d throw tantrums, shout, break glasses and even assault her husband. She would not only attack him with forks / knives, but simultaneously shouted “Someone please save me, he is beating me, please don’t hit me” etc. The neighbours always looked upon the poor guy as if he was some kind of a villain, as she always was so sweet with them! After years of this hell, when he spoke about it to our common lawyer friend, he was advised “Whatever you do, do not hit her.. the whole world will blindly turn against you immediately. No one wants to know or understand the truth in a man-woman quarrel. Men are presumed and declared guilty already”.
“What’s my option? She attacks me, hits me, tortures me and no one ever believes when I say this.. not even my own relatives.. because she is an entirely different person with them” my helplessly torn friend asked.© Dr. Rajas Deshpande
“Leave that house” was the option the lawyer suggested.
We need better understanding, better interaction and better counsellors / resources while dealing with the most delicate of all relationships: the man-woman relationship. We need a less critical and judgmental society, we need better laws and open discussions.
The newer generations appear far more mature about acceptance of ‘break-ups’. There also are some excellent counsellors working in this field now. However the tendency to emphatically keep on repeating that every marriage is a happy ending in itself, that one’s spouse is the most ultimate best thing to have happened to oneself etc. is not necessary. It is like shouting “I am not a thief” in the street when no one has blamed you to be one. If you have a good husband or wife, you are lucky and deserve it. If not, one must have the courage to sort things out without pretending.
I am proud of the woman in first case, she is my student. I am also proud of the man in second case, who survived ending that relation.
The judgmental mudslingers in both cases are having a hard time dealing with their own lives for a change. Some spend an entire life time away from the beauty of reality. Others win the game of life.
© Dr. Rajas Deshpande