Haan! Aapne mujhe paida kiya. My sex has been determined by your sperm. Phir aapne mujhe paala, posa aur bada kiya. Khushi hai mujhe is baat ki. Garv hai k me aapki beti hoon. Aapko haq hai k aap chahen k aapke aulaad ho. Lekin us aulaad k jeevan apne muththi me karne ka haq, aapko nahi.
Dad, you are the first man in my life. During our journey together, I have seen you, observed and analysed you and our relationship. Jab tak me aapki har baat sunti thi, tab tak aap mujhse khush rehte. Mujhse baatein karte, haste hasaate. Aur agar maine aapki baat taal di, aap ekdum se badal jaate!
You stop talking to me. Akele jaakar khana khate. Maa se baat nahi karte. Aapki khud ki bachchi se mahine tak baat nhi karte. It was impossible for me to query your behaviour when I was just 9 or 10 years young. Lekin andar ki andar mere mann me ek sawal jwala sa uththa tha “Why are you doing this to me Dad?”. Am I not your daughter if I wanna take an hour’s break from studies while you are teaching me? Or am I a sinner if I feel like studying science instead of maths for a while? I could not understand for a long period of time why would any man behave this way with his daughter? Dheere dheere I understood few things. If dad’s pissed with me, then he should stop talking to me. Why does he stop talking to mom? Jaise jaise me badi hone lagi, mujhe pata chalne laga k he thinks that any family member expressing their will which is against his thought process is disrespecting him! My mum never forced me to do what my dad said and so he thought that even she does not respect him. Respect ki baat aakhir aayi kahan se? Sochte sochte, one day I realised that every expression of mine which does not match with his, hurts his ego. His ego as a father, his ego as the ‘sole’ bread winner in the family and his ego as a man! I couldn’t come to terms with this. At every stage I questioned myself, will a father gain respect if his family abides by his strict, impractical and ideal framework which does not consider emotions and the will of the other members? It was almost next to impossible to explain him that we truly love him and respect him for all that he has given to us. Paying him respect does not mean we sacrifice all our desires and fit into his rule box made during the 60s and 70s. Respect is to be gained and not to be asked for.
Even after 20 years, he remembers that I had once refused to study according to his wish and therefore had the tendency to disrespect him since my childhood. But he never acknowledged all those happy moments I have given him, of which he once felt proud. He says, “I have spent so much of money on you. I have given you all comforts. And you have to listen to me!” Paisa sab kuch nahi hota papa! And I am tired of telling this.
By the time I was even 16, the relationship between my dad and me was torn into pieces. As days passed by, it got difficult for both of us to share a roof. I took the responsibility to clear him off all the wrong notions he had in his mind about me. I said that I loved him so much and that the communication gap between both of us is because he has not changed with the times. Every parent grows up for the second time along with his/her kids. But that did not happen with me. Every effort of mine failed to its fullest to explain him about the generation gap. Dad said, “I will never change for anyone. Why should I? I am elder to you. So you should change. If you want me, you should change!” Now this is impossible for me as it is an illogical thought. I believe that relationships do not walk along frameworks and conditions. During the course of these 22 years of my life, my ego as a human being has always bowed to him. My self-respect and my wishes have always been underlined. 22 years and I have always let go off my esteem. At the end of the day, I am a woman. I have almost begged this man to understand us but that day has never come and will not in the near future. And now, it’s high time I live as a respectable woman. We hardly talk to each other. The man whom I thought would be the pillar of my strength was long gone!
When I was in my late teens, I came across men of my age. They shared my age, my society, my style. They were good. Some went on to become good friends, some discontinued mid-way. Yahan meri mulakat ek aise insaan se hui, jise me kabhi pehchaan nahi payi. Ya shayad, bahut der se pehchaan payi. We became really good friends. Long chats, discussions that last for weeks, smses, jokes, outings and parties were so common amongst our gang of common friends. That was a lovely period of my life to cherish. After a couple of years, our relationship took a small turn. The instinctive liking that existed between us since we met, went slightly a bit forward. Zyada nahi, sirf ‘slightly’. Was he really in love with me as he claimed, was the question that went on in my mind again and again. But, chodo. He said he did and I gave a chance to it but did not confess anything. Jab tak dosti thi, sab kuch thik tha. The moment our friendship took a leap, I could see a myriad of colour changes within the same person in like a month. Phew! Now that’s amazing.
My quest to answer my questions about the second man in my life had started all over again. I used to wonder why he spoke to me for one day and vanished into thin air for the rest of the week. Aur jab mann kare, he used to come back. He promised to spend time with me, but never appeared to do so. He kept me waiting for hours. And I did wait. I always wondered, “Did I go wrong somewhere? Am I doing things which is driving him to behave this way?”. How I wished that the answer was YES. How I wished that I could apologize and get back things on track. But nopes. All I came to know later that he is just that way and I am no wrong. And surprisingly, we never fought nor did I throw silly tantrums at him. Every time I asked him why didn’t he turn up, he gave me reasons like he had to go with his brother to watch a match. Didn’t you know that before mister? Or if it was impromptu, didn’t you have the sense to call me up and say that you cannot make it up instead of attending my calls and saying “Hey, I ll be there in just half an hour…ten mins…hey half an hour more..hey traffic…hey sorry gotta go home, mum calling”. And I used to wait all the freaking while! You just played around with me? I still felt that sabse pehle vo mera dost hai and hence I should not take things so seriously since it was too early. But I was hell wrong! He had taken things for granted already. This was the second wound to my esteem. I am sorry but you cannot do this to me. And, my doors for him were forever shut.
There are still many things untold but necessary. Ye sirf mere zindagi k do panne the jisse maine ek baat seekhi. Many relationships woven, some stayed and some stolen. Certain men have played crucial roles in my life, stamped their signature on my forehead to decide my fate and stole away all those moments that could have been better without them. Probably, it is my misfortune that I have only come across men who walk around with a tag around their neck that says, “I am a MAN and you are a woman”. They came, made their impressions and flew within no time! And so the loath in my heart follows. My world has been male-dominated but now, you enter, you are dead! And remember, I am not a feminist!