There was a time when I used to cry ‘injustice’ even if I was asked to lengthen my hair a bit. I was very aware of my rights you see, having been fueled by TOIs reports on bride burning, female infanticide etc. I always felt that injustice was done to women on these counts
->Women have to wear sarees. Doesn’t that constrict mobility?
->Women in some households are not supposed to take part in any household activity and sit outside/ other room during ‘those days’
->Women are not supposed to go to temple in ‘those’ days.
->Women could not actually participate in auspicious activities.
Well my grievance list was longer, but these were the main ones.
Wearing sari is not mandatory now, but I have realized that the curves and curls come out nicely with the sari. 😀 Also a sari hides what is to be hidden and shows off what is to be shown
My grandmother when I was about 20 or so explained to me why women in earlier days were not allowed to visit temples in ‘those’ days and had to sit outside/other room of the house. This is what she explained:
In earlier days all the activities of a person were connected with worship and devotional service. Also at that time there was the joint family concept. Which meant large families, big cooking utensils and with not much of gadgets, lot of work. Even if there were maids available, the work was plenty. Lifting these utensils required skill and of course strength. So on those 4 days of the month, the women were asked to sit in another room, so that they do not have to lift those heavy utensils. The women actually enjoyed the breaks. As my grandma told, they slept for as long as they wanted, read, learnt something new(a new stitch, a new design). Joint family structure was such that someone would mind their children. It was a period of relaxation.
Also in earlier days going to the temple did not just mean to prostrate in the front of the Lord and return. It also meant doing some service-help in making prasadam, clean the floor, help in making garlands etc. And so women were given a break from these chores too during those days.
Also whether we admit it or not, there is a certain body odour during those days. and though there were perfumes but there were no deodorants and all and so women thought it better to stay in the house than to venture out. Remember the only mode of transport was bullock cart for those who could afford. For those who could not it was only their two legs which would help them to go out. And so on both these counts, women voluntarily opted to stay at home during those 4 days.
I hear that girls are ridiculed, insulted etc just because they are females and they menstruate but for me, it’s a celebration of womanhood.
I used to get angry that it’s always men who perform pujas, aarti etc but now when I see women doing so much- from selecting-stitching the dresses for the deity, setting the menu and then preparing the food, getting everything ready for the puja so that the men can do their work that the thought struck-Who actually manages the show-men or women? Actually it’s both, both have to do their duty for the wheels of life to move nicely.