This year my theme for the #MyFriendAlexa campaign is “This or That”. Here, I’ll be putting up a day-to-day scenario that mostly all of us face sometime or the other, along with two different ways in which we can react towards those scenarios – either “This” or “That”. So, let’s look at today’s scenario!
Shipra maa sat in a corner looking out the window as even the skies couldn’t stop shedding tears on her husband’s loss. She had been spending her afternoons like this since the past one month now, from the day she got the saddest news of her life. Shipra maa and Abhinav da had been married for 26 years and were content with just each other as a family. This house was never this barren. In fact, it was always filled with love, music and dance. Abhinav da was an author and wrote mostly about love and poetry and Shipra maa taught folk dance and sangeet to little girls.
But, now Shipra maa’s distant relatives and neighbours gossiped in hushed tones about how she should give up dancing and singing as she was a widow. According to them, Shipra maa should now avoid engaging in anything ‘fun’ and lead a grieving life only. Once, on Abhinav da’s 12th day ritual, I (their tenant) tried cracking a joke in front of Shipra maa to lighten her sorrows a little. To my delight, she responded with a suppressed giggle, first time in the last 12 days. But, even that was frowned upon by her ‘relatives’, and Shipra maa slipped into the mourning zone back within a second.
Shipra maa has finally come to terms with the fact that Abhinav da isn’t around anymore, and now it’s just her. However, she doesn’t know how to go about further in life. I tried to explain the two things she could choose from.
Let’s look at the two choices Shipra maa has:
Shipra maa could simply give into the pressure of “log kya kahenge” and punish herself for something that wasn’t even her fault. She could give up her passion and the only source of income she had under societal pressure and lead a depressing life. In that case, she would have to re-think her finances and minimize her expenditures, or maybe even cut off necessary activities.
Shipra maa can shun the societal pressure by concluding that “kuch toh log kahenge!”. She could continue giving dance and sangeet lessons and lead a content life. After all, no amount of time can be enough to grieve for her lost husband, and she could understand that she still had a life to lead and support her needs and wants. Also, no one who talks behind her back is going to be by her side in the times of sickness or debt and so, she had to be strong for herself.
What do you think should Shipra maa do? Choose hypothetical societal beliefs over her own happiness? Or live life just the way she wants to?
Have you ever been in a situation where you had to give into the pressure of “log kya kahenge”? Well, to be honest, I have given into such societal pressures many a times, but am trying to develop a spine now.
So, let’s be strong enough for us and our families to guide each other to a happier life rather than satisfying the society’s definition of right or wrong. Let’s not ever force ourselves and our families to do things just for other’s happiness. And most importantly, let’s stop nosing around in other people’s businesses.
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