I just happened to see the film, “Lipstick under my burkha”, and I absolutely loved it. Lives of four women, so different in their own lives and yet their stories intermingled to one simple question, “Do we not exist?’ Though the film, “Lipstick under my burkha” took the narrative on lines of freedom of women’s sexuality, the more poignant question that arose was that of their individuality. Why does a woman always have to be someone’s daughter, mother, fiancée or wife? Does she have no existence beyond that in her own world? Why is it that her own wants, expectations, dreams and ambitions are always to be laid aside to nurture, empower, satisfy or serve other people in her life. Why is not okay for a woman to seek something more out of her life beyond her house and kitchen, try things that she hasn’t done, make mistakes, learn or lose without facing ostracization from the society?

Our Indian society is brought up with too many boundaries, parameters, principals and while my mom in law subtly tells me, “Chaar log kya kahenge, yeh dekhkar hume kaam karna padta hein”… I have my daughter laughing at my mom-in-law’s exasperated expression when she asks, “Dadi, voh chaar log kaun hein jinko humare baare itni chinta hein?” I explain to my daughter that my poor mom-in-law is still modern as compared to a generation gone by, considering what she had to deal with. For the first trimester of my marriage she often had to answer whether her actress daughter-in-law was treating her right. The second trimester was all about answering why she wasn’t allowing me to work and now since she is getting older, it was back to the beginning. So, stepping into her shoes, she handled it pretty well, not allowing this to cause any disturbance in our relationship. But while she was never restrictive, it wasn’t the structure of the society either that allowed her to say, “Go, do your own thing.”

We still have men giving the diktat of what it right or wrong for women to do, to think, to behave. Unfortunately, it’s in the mind of the men that everything done by women without their “permission” is somehow allied to freedom of sexual connotations. We have educated politicians, leaders accusing a woman of immoral conduct if she is out of her house at night. Do they not know that what happens at night can very well happen in the day if so wanted?

Sexual liberation is merely one aspect but if one were to dig deeper into the psychology of the so called promiscuous it would be a diminishing percentage as compared to those actually seeking a perfect companionship. Marriage, a step up from a steady relationship should actually be defined as a balanced togetherness to foster equal happiness for each other, to seek, to fulfill along with one’s own the wants and dreams of the other too. Freedom, for a woman is what allows her creative meaningful realization of her life.

Yes, I too gave up a promising career for nurturing the family, the yearning to travel for settling my nest. A world that was once clamoring for my attention slowly became a thing of the past. All that was attached to it, fame, glamour, money, adulation, things that every ordinary being would seek at least once in a lifetime was mine for the askance and I gave it away at a blink.

Almost halfway down to a century I tell myself it’s okay to make mistakes, you can forgive yourself. It’s okay to say no when you don’t want to do something. It’s okay to put yourself, your health before other people. It’s all okay!! And I don’t allow myself to be judged by those parameters anymore. All I seek is a balance between things I want and things I can have…. And not because I can’t have it all but because the journey towards my wants would jeopardize my haves. Having said that, I want to grow more each day, add to my life, learn, explore, experiment, and fly. Yes, I may have given up my lipstick but I will never trade in my wings.



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