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It finally happened! We, women, are now allowed to enter this temple whose name is really difficult to remember. I will be totally honest, I had to google to get it’s spelling right. It is Shani Shingnapur temple where we have finally been granted entry. I hear that entry is now also allowed in the Haji Ali Dargah. Isn’t it great if you think about it? It took 400 odd years for Gods to finally forgive us being women. Our Independent India’s Constitution was way more liberal than Temple and Dargah laws put together. We were given right to vote alongside our men, unlike other countries where women were given voting rights decades after men. But for praying rights it was a toughie. Please excuse my cynicism, being a skeptic, I will never totally understand the importance of praying rights. But I do understand rights and I do understand fights or so do I think.

For how long and for how many reasons do we as women have to fight? First of all there is this huge battle we fight with our own parents so that we are allowed to take birth. It gets all the more difficult to be born as a girl if by any chance we are conceived in and around the state of Haryana (879 girls per 1000 boys). Second fight is to survive in our own houses. If we have a brother/s as sibling, our education ( and in some cases even your food) may get compromised. Because here in India, for some weird reason, it is considered that Male genitalia has more need for education and nutrition than female one. I have no idea what is the logic or science behind it but it happens.

I will try and not get all gloomy or depressed here and will accept that some of us are born lucky and take birth in progressive families like mine and hopefully yours. You people will think that battle for such lucky women have ended. Here is where you are wrong. We completed our education and get a job and we are brilliant at it and we get promoted over our male colleagues and we are very happy for like just a day. Because it will not be too long before we hear that our promotion is not because of talent and relentless hard work but thanks to; I quote for intended drama “Extra Curricular activities with boss”. Having to survive through job in spite of possessing education, qualifications and talent, sounds like a tough battle right?

Another scenario, we have a job, supportive parents and we find the love of our life and decide to get married and make a happily ever after or whatever. Battle won you think? Again wrong. Because here, our new family expects us to contribute financially and handle household responsibilities all by yourselves because food cooked by maid is a big no no, no matter how many degrees daughter in law has. Some (I say some in order to evade confrontation) of our men and their families think that having a male reproductive system gets men exemption from all the cooking and cleaning and household duties. Let us assume that we are very efficient and we handle it all, office and house very well. Try coming late for one day for whatever reason; be it office assignment or staying back late to slog extra hours for that next due promotion or a office party or just a harmless get together with friends, we will again be accused of indulging in “Extra Curricular Activities with bosses, colleagues and friends”. We are expected to pay for household expenses and work like a glorified maid but living life even for a day will get us names we did not expect from supposedly the Love of our life.

Let us leave aside all these heavy duty battles I stated and focus on little ones, although real heavy duty ones will include taking birth, getting burned and tortured for dowry, getting killed for marrying a boy our Panchayat does not approve of, getting raped and getting acid thrown all over our faces but I am scared to go there. Because I am writing from perspective of apparently lucky women who did not have to go through all these real heavy duty battles, my humdrum battles I assume represent the lucky few like me. So yeah focus on tiny battles. Let’s say traveling in a Metro, sounds tiny and harmless right. I overheard a Man yelling at a woman standing in front of him and I quote “ if you want equality in every field then why do you want a reserved lady’s seat? You people already have a reserved coach. Go there, I will not give up, so what it is written For Ladies”. I take this opportunity to clarify here that we don’t want a reserved seat or a reserved coach. All we want is that nobody gropes us when we stand like a normal person. It is because of out of control male hormones (and morons) we “Need” a reserved seat not “Want” it.

The battle has been won by Trupti Desai and all the other women fighting by her side they do deserve congratulations on this deserving victory. Nothing to take away from them but a question still remains with me. Isn’t is exhausting to fight so many battles, from fighting to take birth, fight for education, fight for job, fight for love, fight for dignity, fight for a seat in the metro? At least God could have spared us this last battle of saying a prayer in a temple and dargah. However, now that we do have a right to pray, I pray in future we do not have to fight for things that should have been rightfully ours, to begin with.