A SALUTE TO OUR GRANDMOTHERS
I woke up with 200 messages on a WhatsApp group –
It was evident that somebody I knew was in a soup.
My friends aren’t very fond of messaging you see,
They’d rather sit back and watch some shows on TV.
Turns out, one of our classmates got married –
We are only 18, so it was natural to be worried.
‘Why did she do this,’ we questioned one another
Did she elope or was she forced by her mother?
The pictures of her wedding on a social media site
Made one feel that, to her this wasn’t a plight.
But who could tell how she actually felt?
“Our Wedding” isn’t words that are easily misspelt!
My friends’ parents and mine were shaken
They said: ‘This is not an easy decision to be taken.’
But who are my parents, my friends, or I to judge –
We still did it without requiring a single nudge.
‘Financial problems’ and ‘Their culture is backward’
Were speculations made at dinner as I ate my curd?
But this made me ponder the absurdity of it all,
My grandmothers’ were married off at puberty’s fall-
Did their friends and acquaintances find that odd?
I highly doubt they found their marriage system flawed.
That was the acceptable custom in those days I guess
‘I want to sing on stage, ’girls couldn’t easily confess.
Their ambitions weren’t something they could share
Not unless they wanted people in the house to stare
“How dare she suggest that she won’t marry early?’’
‘To handle her tantrums, we must find someone burly,’
Were comments passed in response to their plea
That their opinions mattered too, nobody would see.
They could shun society’s wishes only for so long
After futile arguments, nobody’s will remains as strong.
Family traditions and jobs were things to consider
No one realized that women education might matter.
Can you or I imagine staying with a man forever more,
If the two of us have never had a conversation before?
So these women married someone their elders chose
It was irrelevant if because of this, they never felt repose
Many of them became pregnant in their teens
When we probably worried about what gamete means;
Managing finances, cooking and keeping in laws happy
Were daily chores to do without ever getting snappy;
Some who wanted to study further were encouraged,
Those who weren’t allowed, were hardly discouraged –
Some, they studied despite the wishes of the family
Which led to the house tension mounting palpably,
They were told they had other things to fill their time
‘Nursing three children is best done at a woman’s prime;’
Nevertheless, there were many who did otherwise
Women in teaching and offices weren’t a huge surprise –
Sometimes they had to, if their husbands had passed away
But sometimes, it was their choice at the end of the day.
When I think about the lack of choice these women had
And all the challenges they faced– I feel really sad.
I could never imagine doing the things they had to do
Especially at 18, I would rather have a perpetual flu.
Sure, we need different skills to survive nowadays
But a grandmother’s abilities never cease to amaze.
Be it draping a sari, head massages or giving advice
These women can do it all, while haggling over rice!
About the Author: This article is contributed by Aashna Banerjee, our Intern.