Diary of a Feminist: Trials of Adolescence

During my early youth I believed that adolescence was the most wonderful period in a person’s life. And I thought every teen­ager in the world was in a blissful state. It made me feel miserable. Because I wasn’t having ‘the most wonderful time’ in the least!

I think it was Urdu poetry that played mischief and fil­led my head with romanticised notions of youth. I am sure fiction didn’t do any harm because for one thing, it was ‘taraqqi pasand afsanay’ I was reading since class five; for another, they must be going above my head at that time anyway.

Whatever poets said about ‘sweet sixteen’, to me it was nothing but sour. All my com­plexes (inferiority comp­lexes) intense ambivalence (particularly toward my mother), fights and frictions (with siblings), dreams, aspi­rations, frustrations, etc, made my mind a confused jumble of thoughts and feel­ings, and my ‘stream of con­sciousness’ a torrential, fro­thing mass. But mercifully all that was behind a placid facade: I was quite a quiet person.

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Diary of a Feminist: Men’s Distrust of Men

“In women,” Bertrand Russell said, “zest has been greatly diminished by a mistaken concept of respectability”.

Zest is an in-born human capacity to enjoy life, to be interested in the world and the varied and the beauti­ful things it has to offer. In our society, I think, this basic human instinct is, to a large extent, killed in wo­men not only by a mista­ken concept of respectabil­ity but also by a distrust of men inculcated in women by men themselves.

Take for instance travelling. Not till very late, a wo­man’s going out of her house for pleasure was considered a horrible, ignoble act. Times have definitely changed. The women who have the op­portunity and desire to travel in-land or abroad, do travel. Still, by and large, conven­tional thinking persists — that it’s dangerous for girls to travel unless they are duly chaperoned. Girls who do travel may have to face raised eyebrows and sarcastic remarks.

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Diary of a Feminist: Men Haven’t Changed

While walking down the busy street or waiting for a rickshaw and trying hard to ignore men’s crude stares, I am often overwhelmed with a sad reflection: things haven’t changed.

I then correct myself: men haven’t changed. These are the same odd glances I braved as a teenager. Commuting to college and back home in public transport had been an ordeal and going to Bohri Bazaar dreadful.

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