The Struggles of a 23-Year-Old Girl in India
A place where parents hold the upper hand in every life decision.
Imagine a 23-year-old, single, and lawyer by profession. What do you see? An independent career-oriented girl who is the sole decision-maker? Wrong.
Welcome to India.
I belong to a land of deeply rooted patriarchal culture. Decisions are made right from the conception of a fetus. Traditions are valued more than laws. My parents being a tad bit liberal allowed me to build a career— of their choice. My father is a lawyer, so I followed suit. I did everything a girl is expected to. The consequences of rebellion were harsh.
At 23, it's no different. I have little control over my life. I still can’t wear what I want, when I want. I can’t venture outside my house late in the night. I must obey or else I’m “gone out of hands”. Eyebrows are raised if I tend to interact with the male species outside of work. Too many rules.
I’ve been told I’m privileged. I get to work, I belong to a financially sound background blah blah…basically meaning I get to exist. Sheer existence is not enough. “What more do you want?” they ask.
No girl (like I was) must be told she would get pregnant if touched by a male, or the fact that only God knows how children are born. Doesn’t that sound ridiculous? She must be given proper sex education and taught the importance of consent at an early age.
Life would be better if I’m not constantly being told what to do. A fully grown adult must have the right to make life decisions. Gender equality laws must be implemented rather than the sheer existence on paper. It’d also make a big difference to the quality of life if I was allowed to put up posters outside my house, “Relatives Not Allowed.”
I can be a non-vegetarian (I hail from a Brahmin family) if I want. This might also include consuming beef. Since India is the largest exporter of Beef in the world, I fail to see a problem here. You are already killing the most worshipped animal. Where is your logic of “Gau humari maata hai” (translating to “Cow is our Mother”) now?
Last but not least on my list — I must have the choice to choose the way I live. It is 2020, and I want to move out of my parent's house. I must also be able to choose a suitable partner to date and live-in with. Having said this, I can already imagine the absolute horror dawned upon the faces of my family but since they won’t read this, I’ll go on.
I will have the liberty to decide if I ever want to get hitched since marriage is a social contract and I can have kids even without it. And no, my kids wouldn’t be named after Gods and Goddesses.
Don’t be horrified. Don’t blame me if you get a heart attack after taking it all in. It was you who asked, “What more do you want?”