Women are like icebergs. What we see on the surface is just a part of them which appears fragile, delicate and small. But very few notice that beneath the tiny icy portion that floats on surface of water lies a hard core of ice which is capable of breaking off giant ships like Titanic into multitude of pieces, same is the story of women!
It reminds me of a story when a priest asked a child “child can you walk?” to which the child replied, “yes, of course”. The priest popped back with a fresh question, “can you fly child?” the child reverted back in an irritated voice “no sir its impossible!”. The priest was still not satisfied and sprung back with a new interrogatory statement, “How can you say that you can walk but not fly?” the child with an uneasy look replied, “sir have you seen any human flying in your entire lifetime?“ the priest being obstinate, counteracted “did you ever try flying?” the child’s face was all red with mixed passion of fury and confusion “sir, why would I try to fly when i know its impossible?”, the priest said, “calm down child, i will just take two more minutes of your, answer me, when you were an infant and all you did was crawling, then did you ever think that one day you would be able to walk?” the disgust on the face of the child slowly vanished as if the essence of priest’s words was slowly entering his inattentive ears. The priest then put his hand around the shoulder of the child and said “child you know that you can walk because you have experienced walking and what we experience becomes our truth. But you said no for flying not because you tried and failed but it was told to you by your elders that you cant fly! The answer came not out of your experience but from the set book of stereotypes of what a man could do or not do. It does’nt matter that you fly or not but the sad part is you stopped trying,who knows that one day you could fly?”
The moment a girl or a boy grows up, a book enriched with narrow stereotypes is handed over to them. From cradle to grave. She is told that she cant join army because she is physically weak, she cant be an entrepreneur because she wont be able to raise funds, she cant ride bike because it is simply not made for her, She cant serve her country because men are the emblem of strength. From childhood, she is made to feel like a leverage, she is taught that she cant fight boys and she is incapable of bearing pain. We ignorant beings went to such a degree that we made her learn that she can’t survive abuse or rapes or acid burns and made her feel that her strength won’t function beyond this threshold. As a result of which women stopped experiencing, which is the fundamental process of life and kept on believing what was told to her. Thinking of those stereotypes as the ultimate boundaries of her strength. Same we do with boys, a young lad who wishes to be a great cook is looked down upon and if he dares to cry in front of others, we start questioning his manhood.
Each one of us have heard the stories upto this point where men and women got broken by life by various forces but no one bothers to go beyond it. Everyone looked at the girl who got raped but no one saw the same girl who rose from her ashes like a phoenix. No one bothered to look on the other side of tunnel, where these women bruised by life came out as warriors emerging from darkness. Everyone talked about the woman whose face got burnt with acid but no one bothered to look at her, the same woman who lost her artificial beauty but gained her inner beauty. She identified a beauty which was permanent. Everyone talked about women who had forgotten the art of experiencing life and were going with aid of stigmas that bound them but none noticed those women who time and again experienced life whom chains of stereotypes couldn’t hold tight, who broke all shackles and never limited them even if the world limited them.
Today its time to look at the mind boggling statistics where ordinary men and women like you and me dared to break the stereotypes and dared to experience life. They learnt what they experienced and not learnt what they were taught.
Here are a few women who broke down the shackles of stereotypes and went beyond it.
Mother Teresa – first Indian woman to win the Noble prize
Indira Gandhi – first woman prime minister of India
Pratibha Patil – first woman president of India
Kalpana Chawla – first Indian woman to go to space
Kiran Bedi – first Indian woman IPS officer
Anjali Gupta – first female flying officer in Indian Air force
Justice M Fatima Beevi – first Indian female judge of supreme court
Sania Mirza – first woman to win the women‘s Tennis Association title
Saina Nehwal – number 1 position in world badminton ranking (2015)
Roshini Sharma – first Indian woman to ride a motorbike from Kanyakumari to Kashmir
Shila Dawre – first Indian woman to be an auto rickshaw driver
Mithali Raj – first Indian woman to score a double hundred in test cricket
Sarala Thakral – first Indian woman to fly an aircraft
Mary Kom – first Indian woman boxer to win a gold medal in Olympics
Durga Banerjee – first female pilot and captain of Indian Airlines
Priya Jhingan – first Indian woman to serve Indian Army
Sushmita Sen – first Indian woman to win Miss Universe Pageant
Priyanka Chopra – a successful Bollywood and Hollywood actress, representative of UNICEF
Avani – first woman fighter pilot to fly solo
Nirmala Sitharaman – current Defence minister
Sushma Swaraj – current Minister of External affairs of India
Chanda Kocchar – first Indian woman (CEO Managing Director of ICICI bank) to get Woodrow Wilson Award for Global citizenship
So, If ‘They’ can, Then you too can! Just don’t believe whats being told to you no one gets to decide who you are!!! It is true for both boys and girls to realise that all these shackles, these impossibilities and the big ‘No’s’ exist within the corners of our mind. We all have been endowed with infinite potential. Most of us tag ourselves with description we get from society or the same stereotypical handbook I was earlier talking about! The only way to realise our true potential is to experience. Don’t ever believe in things you haven’t experienced yet. Just do it and then decide for your self. Don’t allow others to sketch a boundary for you. Form your own boundary. Detach yourself from these invisible chains of prejudices and stereotypes and then you will realise that it may happen one day that you may actually fly.