Being a girl, the first thing everyone around you teaches you is to cover yourself , to walk properly , to stay away from strangers. As much it is the need of hour for both girls and boys , the fear , the Do’s and dont’s , the restrictions is always a little elaborate for the females.
My brother was born 10 years after me. And by then my mother had another 6 years old daughter too. She gave us our first education in good and bad touch , when to be alone and comfortable rather than be with certain people , how to dress , how to behave and to report everything to her every day.
Though I can recall one or two incidences where this education failed me and I was too ashamed to tell my mother about it , what kept my wits intact was that my mother never once told us that it would be our mistake if someone behaves bad with us. She always told us to be strong and talk about it instead of hiding out of shame.
We never would have adopted this lesson if she had not done the same when time came. Our neighbors had a college going girl who went to study at a teacher’s house. One day she came home , almost in tears and refused to go back to the teacher. My aunt and mom understood the cause and both made her sit calmly and then got out the whole incident out of her. The teacher had tried to flirt with the girl and perhaps held her hand when she decided to walk out. The girl’s mother wanted to wait for men to come home and deal with the matter. My mother on other hand was on the gate by then to settle this herself. Both the ladies went to the teacher’s house and in front of his family , scolded him for his actions. My confidence and respect for my mother and myself doubled that day.
We wanted to go for walk alone, she would give is a stick to beat anyone who dared come closer to have a feel. We went out for late night shows, he would ask about the guys with us and made us call her at 3 am to tell we had reached our PG. I would ask what to do of someone in bus tries to misbehave and she would tell me to yell on him and get seat changed immediately – his , not mine. The first time this happened and I came home complaining about one such man, i got a told in simple terms that I had lost the right to complain for i did not fight back. In small gestures she taught us self-defence is as important as to fight when it is the only way out.
At the same time we got the lessons from her to ignore barking dogs for they suck your energy that can be better used to do awesome things. Even at the age of 50 , she has the fire to slap a 20 year old guy who dared to touch her inappropriately and that is so amazing for her to do by making the auto stop, get down, pay the driver and then turn to give one slap to the guy. Then she coolly walked away carrying her bag. She doesn’t go all crazy on us nor advises us to act in rage. She has made us and even my brother learn to stand on our own and be fair and safe always.
Today I realize her lessons and beleifs have helped me stay sane in middle of so many crisis and attacks from some crazy people around me. I owemy independence to my mother who never for once thought that her girls need protection. She knew we needed confidence and strength and that we got in our genes from her a lot.
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