Sania Mirza, one of the ace tennis players produced by our country has been in limelight umpteen number of times ironically more for her various controversies than her glittering sports career.
As she launched her biography, “Ace Against Odds”, little inkling did she have that she will have to smash another ‘ace’ to the questions of a senior and well respected journalist. Sania was questioned as to when will she be ‘settled’ and that her biography spills no beans about an impending motherhood or retirement from tennis. Sania who is currently ranked World Number 1 in Women’s doubles ranking is at the top of her game. She has had an illustrious career as a sportsperson and is still going strong.
But, even such unparalleled and laudable precedent could not help her not fall prey to the eternal question that hound women all over irrespective of color, creed or nationality. The million dollar query that is smashed across us time and again without fail is “When are you going to settle”?
When it comes to women, there is a universally laid out path, which if tread, will lead to her ‘being settled’ and probably fulfill the very purpose of her existence. She is to get married, then bear children and eventually sacrifice her career goals to be the epitome of sacrifice and be a devoted mother whose only purpose in life is to look after her off springs.
I believe you have already labeled me a feminist per se, but I believe feminism is a concept that has been ill construed invariably. It does not imply giving special treatment to the fairer sex but to ensure the formulation of a world, that is based on ‘equality’. But this utopian state will come in to being only when we treat our women at par with men. Like men, women ought to have a right to determine as to how she needs to lead her life. Happiness is not objective. Women are the ones who have this gift to bring a new life in to the world. But nevertheless, she is more than just a womb. She is a person who like her male counterpart wants equal opportunities and who should be heralded to pursue her career goals than being forever judged, so much so that she has to justify herself repeatedly, even after proving her mettle professionally.
The good news is that women from all over the world have started questioning and challenging this warped up concept of how a woman should lead her life. We are bashing the body shammers, we are following our hearts ,taking up professions that once were stereotyped for men and finally as Jennifer Anniston beautifully put in her recent write up, taking steps towards creating our own ‘happily ever after’.
But it is not an easy road. It is a formidable task as the society took generations to be the way it is. And hence it cannot alter its judgmental temperament just like that. Even now, if you are single, you are haunted by queries as to when do you plan to attain the ‘matrimonial bliss’. Once you are married they want to know if there is a ‘bun in the oven’ as yet. If you have a baby, then you are a vile and selfish parent if you do not intend to get a sibling for him/her. So, the expectations keep soaring and it is exhausting to keep pace with them. What is alarming is that even the most successful women have to justify their actions to the scathing society.
But women like Sania Mirza who have the grit to stand up against sexist remarks and thwart them, thereby unconsciously standing up for women around the globe, give us hope. “Hope is a thing with feathers that perches in the soul and sings the tune without the words and never stops at all”, Emily Dickinson penned long ago. And so all I can do is hope, hope for a better tomorrow for women, hope that a day will come when we would not be put on a pedestal and expected to behave like saints, but looked at like human beings who just want to be happy. And I hope one day, no one will question the road that will lead each one of us towards our own individual happiness.