The year is 2020. Some would call it the post #MeToo movement era. We are currently riding the fourth wave of feminism. Also in India, we have this strong tide of intersectional feminism gradually taking over the mainstream narrative. All of this is like music to a millennial woman's ear, right? One would perhaps be tempted to say that we have finally arrived. But have we?
A quick reality check into the situation at one of the biggest metro cities in India and the narrative immediately appears to be crumbling in pieces. Filmmaker Tahira Kashyap recently shared an open letter talking about how she is ‘jolted by this new wave of anger against patriarchy.’ In the open letter shared by Mid-Day, Tahira also shared her own experiences with patriarchy and how she has been constantly pushed into the kitchen owing to its tyranny. Here's what she had to share:
Recollecting a recent instance elaborating the same, she recollects how the idea of both Tahira and Ayushmann Khurrana working in the kitchen didn't go well with one of her relatives who ended up suggesting her to take care of her husband. “He made a snide remark while slipping two tikkis into his plate, ‘beta you should look after your husband, feed him more greens’. Before I could react, my wise mother quickly put two more tikki’s in his plate and ushered me, the ticking time bomb, aside,” she writes.
However, the idea of taking the patriarchy's blow without putting up a protest didn't go well with Tahira. “Needless to say I was appalled at first. But once that feeling subsided I wondered why I was expected to feed greens to the man? Red hot with anger, I turned around and went up to the relative and said, actually he is making me a salad tonight, I’ll ask him to make an extra serving for himself’. I was tempted to crush his toes as I made the speech, but held myself back and simply stomped out of the living room. After all, who wants to deal with name-calling? I mean with ‘vishkanya’, ‘gold digger’ and ‘Bengali women’ doing the rounds I don’t want ‘khoon ki piyaasi’, ‘toes crushing’ ‘Punjabi women’ to start another wave,” she writes.
Recollecting another incident, Tahira shared how a realtor just assumed that women belong to the kitchen before receiving a death glare from her. All of this transpired when she and Ayushmann joined his brother Aparshakti and his wife Akriti on their meeting with a realtor to discuss a family house in Panchkula. She shared “The agent threw open the charts on the table. We huddled over it trying to figure which room should go where. As the four of us were mulling over where to have an exclusive master bedroom space for mom-in-law and father-in-law, the agent’s assistant jumped in with an ingenious suggestion. ‘We should have a service kitchen along the main kitchen, both the Khurrana bahus would want an exclusive space to cook nai?’”
She added “The boys were generous and only gave the poor chap an astonished look. But us girls weren’t that generous. This time I looked truly bloodthirsty. I think he saw embers of fire burning in my eyes. Figuring out he had said something wrong, the assistant quickly changed the subject. Till date every time I meet him and offer to get something exclusive from the kitchen for him, he vehemently refuses. I guess he doesn’t want me entering the rasoda anymore,” she said.
Well, kudos to Tahira for always staring patriarchy directly in the face and refusing to bow down. But imagine if educated, urban women in India are facing this then what it must be like for those living in rural and semi-urban setups. As Tahira writes “I can’t begin to fathom (but don’t want to ignore) what must be happening to the rest of us across different strata of the same patriarchal society. So until the equation becomes equal, “roses are red, violets are blue, let’s smash the patriarchy, me and you.”
Well, we surely have a long war to fight but we'll conquer, perhaps slowly but surely!
Featured Image: Instagram