‘The International Day of the Girl Child’, I have been reading about it either in the form of status on my friends’ walls or shared posts on the social network today. However to tell you the truth all this feels anything but real; perhaps slightly hypocritical. I have had the fortune or shall I say misfortune, to come across such people and learn such ugly truths of life in this very country of ours that any talks about a day dedicated to the Girl Child seems nothing more than a sham or a facade to me.

I met a girl or shall I say a woman this week. She is educated and works as a teacher in her hometown. Well wouldn’t that attribute towards us assuming that she is independent and has the freedom to take decisions about her own life. Ofcourse without a doubt yes for education is supposedly the key to liberation, isn’t it? However, I was shocked to find out the extent to which I was wrong. Being educated may give you the avenue to earn a few bucks but that’s about it in some parts of our country; or should I say most parts of our great nation! I was surprised to find out that a woman standing on ‘her own two feet’ doesn’t enjoy the freedom to wear the clothes she wants to. Yes, whether it is a jeans with a simple top or even a sleeveless salwar kameez; she doesn’t enjoy the liberty to wear those. The reason being her eldest brother has reservations against those outfits. It may seem something very trivial to many; afterall what is the big deal right? A country which boasts of being the greatest democracy has brothers; parents; husbands and morally uptight society members who hold the key to deciding and manoeuvring the choices of a woman. She was a girl child once too; then why wasn’t she brought up with the confidence to ignore such diktats and follow her heart? Whether it is respect or fear that makes her keep these desires of her hidden inside the deep crevices of her heart? It hurts that something that I can so easily do; is only a dream for some.

That’s not all. There are more anecdotes which show the nature of the society we live in and why these International or National days for Women or Girls are just mere gimmicks; atleast in our ‘wretched nation’. There is an acquaintance of mine; she works in a multinational company and is what you call the woman of today. She got married and after a few years was pregnant with her first child. Yes, her in-laws were very excited and why wouldn’t they be; their grandchild was on the way. Finally when the time came for them to welcome the tiny bundle of joy into their lives; something happened. It was perhaps nothing for the on-lookers eyes; but it certainly caught my and my friend’s attention. The first thing her in-laws told her was that next time they would want a grandson. Yes; she had just had the most adorable little baby girl. Instead of marvelling at her innocence they were craving for a grandson. So yes when in such a society one talks about a day dedicated to girl child; it find it offending and annoying!

Oh there is more. I was at a social function at a small town few kilometres from our Capital. What struck me was there were two sections of ladies- one where all wore simple slawar kameezes; even without duppatas while the second where all were in sarees with their heads covered. The former laughed and talked freely while the latter walked timidly doing all the chores. It took me some time to figure out the difference for all seemed to be around the same age group. It was then that I realised that the ones in salwars were the daughters of the family while those in sarees were the daughters-in-law. When I asked someone present as to why weren’t they allowed to stay as freely as the daughters of the house I was looked at sceptically from head to toe. Their stares and answers seemed to suggest that this is the only way for daughters-in-law to be. Sick and double-faced right? Yes, I thought the same too. The sad part was it was scorching hot around that time and even women with infants had to follow the so called ‘protocol’ inspite of all the discomfort.

Ours is a nation wherein in the name of traditions utter rubbish, nonsense and gibberish is preached and practiced  Women like me can afford to live their lives according to their hearts' content but there are hundreds of others who are still oppressed; sometimes even educated and working oppressed!

The irony is most of the time men force their wives or sisters or daughters to follow garbage customs because they don’t have it in them to stand up to their beliefs or wishes. Actually it’s not even their fault for they don’t know how important something as basic as wearing certain clothes or not sporting certain accessories could be. How would they know for they can even wear shorts in the most conservative of households! Their lifestyle never changes or is never under scanner. The sad part is even if it would be; their wives or sisters or daughters would never coerce them into doing something against their comfort or wishes. But a man is a MAN and a woman is a poor woman in our society.

Unless the basics of the way we live our lives change there is really no point in talking about doing something special for a girl child or women on a certain day out of the 365 days of a year!