by Vijeeta Sharma
I sat on the bench watching the trees dance in unison to the tune of the wind. The storm was violent. The storm was furiously determined to uproot the tree. But the tree was mighty. More importantly the tree knew how to stay put. The gust of wind would make the tree bend dangerously to one side. The tree wouldn’t resist but allow the wind to make it bend; giving the wind a false momentary sense of achievement, but then it would spring right back to its upright position, taunting the wind, challenging it to try once again.
Therein, lay the genius of the tree. Had the tree tried to resist the force of the wind from the beginning, it would only get snapped right in the middle. But the tree knew all that, the tree was clever. It knew how to deal with the wind, how to manipulate the wind by moving with it, being flexible and not providing any leverage, and in the end making sure to move right back to its original position rendering all the efforts of the wind in vain. And this would go on and on till the wind would give up and die out. The tree would emerge as the final hero. It had its roots, it had its place, it would never move even an inch; because that was its home.
I wanted to be like the tree. I wanted to never leave home. Because home was where I belonged.
“What are you doing outside? Can’t you see a storm is coming? When the wind will carry you along with it, then you will know.” That was my mother calling out from inside the house.
“Let the wind try”, I replied.
The world is run according a fixed set of rules. These rules may be present in many forms and faces. Sometimes they are known as law, sometimes they are known as traditions, sometimes customs, sometimes religious practices, sometimes plain courtesy or sometimes just unwritten code of conducts. But who created those rules? Were they created by God or by mere mortals? Were the people who created them intellectuals with profound knowledge of how the world works? Or were they someone who was just as confused as the rest of us?
“You still have a lot to learn” My mother snapped at me while we were preparing a paneer dish in the kitchen. “I have told you numerous times that do not add so much salt right in the beginning. If needed, then you can always add some more in the end. But if
it becomes excess then the whole dish is spoiled.”
“Come on mom! It’s not such a big deal”, I replied.
“It is a big deal. You just don’t try to understand. You are getting married next month. If you can’t even cook a proper dish, how will you carry out the other responsibilities in your in laws’ home?”
“As if their family isn’t able to function now when I am not there! As if their family is a damsel in distress and I am their messiah who will rescue them by taking all their responsibilities on my shoulders!”
“That attitude of your’s is going to cause you a lot of trouble. You can’t go to your in laws’ house carrying that attitude.”
“Why should I go there at all? Can’t Rakesh come and stay in our house after marriage?”
“Stop being so childish”, she scolded.
Yeah, so I was childish. People who dare to question the established set of norms are childish. Or worse, they are rebels. They rebel and try to cause disturbances to the equilibrium of the world by questioning the great governing laws. In the past too some people disturbed the world equilibrium by speaking for issues such as women’s right to education or women’s right to vote. The most disturbance was created by a foreigner male named William Bentick who opposed the rule that women had the duty of leaving not only her home after marriage but also the world after the death of her husband.
Who am I? I am a girl. What do I want? I just want my peace of mind. Do I want to fight against the world? No I just want to be as I am. I want the place where I was born to remain my home throughout my life till the day I die. The place where I was born and nurtured and brought up has gradually been engraved into my soul. My metaphorical roots have grown into this place. Now being asked to get uprooted and move somewhere else is hard to digest. Do I want men to move to their wives’ house after marriage? No, because it would be the same thing all over again, just the other way round.
I am not in war against men or their rights. I don’t want extremes, be it for men or women. Surely there must be a middle path. For every two extremes, there always exists a middle path. What do I seek? The middle path is what I seek. I don’t want to be the one to compromise every time. ***