Saturday, March 13, 2010

Days dedicated to whatever

One can understand Republic Day, and Independence Day. Those were events which actually took place on these days. But Valentine’s Day, Friendship Day, Mother’s Day, HIV+ Day, Father’s Day make no sense at all. Love for friends and sweethearts, love for mothers and fathers, care and support for AIDS patients are concepts that should be vigorously pursued throughout the year, not just on one day.

One day in particular that disturbs me is Women’s Day. It would make more sense if something had happened for women on March 8. In India for instance Women’s Day should not be on March 8, but on March 9 the day the Bill for 33 per cent reservation for women in Parliament was introduced and passed in the Rajya Sabha.

Who sits down and decides which days are dedicated to which species or group? The card companies? Florists? Courier services? Confectionaries? Could I do it? Would my selection of days be universally accepted? I would like to introduce a Dogs Day, a Cat’s Day, a Doctors’ Day, a Nurses’ Day; what about a Lawyers’ Day or a Housemaid’s Day.

The Chinese dedicated entire years to animals – the year of the Dog, The Year of the Horse, The Year of the Dragon and so on. Today I missed banging into a metal post by a whisker, I would like to call today International Missed an Accident Day, but I would be celebrating it alone and where’s the point in that?

We have choices every step of the way and I have decided to feel insulted about Women’s Day. Why should only one day be set aside for worship/appreciation/recognition of me as a woman? Why should any day be set aside for worship/appreciation/recognition of me as a woman? It puts a whole lot of unnecessary pressure on the woman aspect of me.

I’m an average person like so many others, capable of random flashes of genius, but by and large pretty ho-hum as far as achievements go. I’m a mother, but not a great one. I can nurture and care for wounded and hungry stray animals, but tend to treat stray human beings with suspicion.

My home is fairly clean but hardly spotless and sparkling. I am capable of unbelievable disasters in the kitchen where but for a pinch of salt many appetites were lost. I will not stand when I can sit. I will not sit when I can sleep. I think sacrifice for others is highly overrated and achieves nothing except for a nagging sense of what the hell.

And then people send me messages on Women’s Day about the strength of the woman, the many skills of the woman, the committed and caring godlike entity that is the Woman and it annoys me no end, because I am none of those things. More importantly, I know that I don’t want to be any of those things.

Oh yes, there are the great achievers, the superwomen like Kiran Bedi, Aung San Suu Kyi, Mother Teresa, my mother Maria Felicia Especiosa Pereira e Dias, my mother-in-law Enid Terese Sodder Collaco, Urminda Lima Leitao who passed away recently, Mangala Wagle the founder of Hamara School, Manju an angel who cleaned my home and cooked my meals for many years. These are women of substance, some who have passed on and some who are still around making a difference in this topsy-turvy world, but even they had moments of petulance and what the hell. This day brings too much pressure to women like me who know the truth about themselves.

It would be better to have a day in the year set aside for something ignoble. An Enemies’ Day, Ditched Lovers’ Day, Failures Day, Fired from Jobs Day, Stubbed Toes Day, Missed Deadlines Day, Gluttony Day, Distant Cousins’ Day, Forgettable Relatives’ Day… so instead of impossible aspirations and feelings of guilt we can just let our hair down and be real for a change.

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