As usual, I had reached my bus stop 5 minute before scheduled time of my bus. This was part of my daily routine. Like me, there were few more people who used this mode of commutation. Since you see them daily, the only gesture you can reflect is a “Smile”. Apart from usual exchange of smiles & hellos, there was something different today.
“So you’re working in a bank, isnt it?” I heard a low voice behind me. “Yes ma’am” I turned & replied with a smile. I saw a saree clad lady covered with a Pallu all over her head, her hair partition filled up with huge red mark of sindoor, wearing a big mangalsutra and arms filled up loads of bangles. Not that I don’t adore such pieces of feminine ornaments but considering the hot weather here, all that I felt seeing her that way was a bit weird. “You don’t seem to be from this area, where are you from?”Comes another usual question, that I’d faced umpteen times in past one year. “Oh yes, I’m not from Rajasthan, I’ve come from Chandigarh”, came my usual reply. “And your family?” Maybe it was her teacher’s instinct to shoot questions in a row, or maybe her inquisitiveness, I silently thought….. “Well my husband and daughter stay in Chandigarh itself, it wasn’t feasible to shift the entire setup, so its just me living here”. I absentmindedly replied, hoping for my bus to arrive soon.
“Ohh….are you married?? But you don’t wear anything to signify your marriage?” This…..was something new for me to face. I stared at her blankly for a split second, gathered my breath and replied with a faint smile, “….maybe because I’m married at heart with my husband and don’t feel like showing it off around to the world.” Thank God, the bus arrived just then and I rushed to get away from another round of questions. But this small conversation struck a chain of thoughts which followed me all through my way.
Why are Indian women supposed to wear Sindoor/Mangalsutra or anything that signifies her being married. Why we need to carry these certificates hanging around our neck for the world to see that we’ve been taken lawfully. Am sure these won’t be a saviour from eve teasing, weird comments, stares and all such nuisances, else we women would have happily worn it to safeguard ourselves. I think it’s high time, we move ahead from such double standards and actually work upon women empowerment in real sense.