No Women Deserves Dependence

April 29, 2008

I wouldn’t have noticed her, if we weren’t the only girls in the train compartment. May be her college bag, travel bag, her pale blue jeans and orange t-shirt bought my attention towards this fair, smart girl who looked to me almost my age. “Might be she is a student of some near by colleges, like myself”, I thought. I was on my way home after our half yearly exams, to spend the week with my family. I was in a vacation mood, happy that the exams are over and looking forward for the vacation as my cousins are coming to stay with us. Vacation would be hell lot of fun!!! I thought. I decided to give this girl a small smile, while usually I’m introvert and a bit hesitant to smile to strangers.
And as I expected, the smile bought a lot of conversation between us, even though she was the first to start it.
“Your name….?”
“Najeeba, and what is yours?”
“Shinsi”.
Usually I would have stopped here and plunged in to the book in my hand if it was someone who was not of my interest ( almost everyone are). But the happiness of going back home made me stay away from the book. All I wanted was to share it with someone, and celebrate every moments of my vacation. And I was glad to find a person who was also going home for her vacation.
After a long thought about what to ask, finally I put the question, “ Where are you studying?”.

“Manglore doing my degree in MBA, and you?”
“Kannur. B.Tech. Going home, in Kozhikode.”
“I live in Thrissur. Mannuthi, exact place. Have you heard of that place?”
“Sure”,said I. There was an agriculture college in Mannuthi where I have often gone to buy plants for my garden. “The agriculture college in Mannuthi.”
“My home is about a few kilometers away from it.” Replied Shinsi.
And so we started talking, about college, food, politics, love, marriage, life and everything under the sun. She has got a younger brother in higher secondary, her mother a doctor and father a scientist at BARC. Her brother was also staying in a boarding in Manglore.
“Why in boarding when there are so many good higher secondary schools in Thrissur?” I asked.
“Coz my parents believe that boarding is the best place to educate children.” She explained. “I was in boarding schools from my first standard on wards.”
I was shocked! She was in boarding from her fifth year onwards, while I have felt like running away from boarding a hundred times within these three years!! And I didn’t hide my surprise.
“Not from fifth year, dear, from forth year itself.” She was cool!! “I joined first when I was four years old. And I have stayed in……”
She put up her fingers and started counting….
“…….1…2….3…….5…..9…10…15…..yup, fifteen hostels in all.”
“Fifteen?!!!!” One was more than enough for me. “Don’t you get sick of hostels?”
Her reply was even more surprising.
“Nope, I get sick of home.” There was a few moments of silence while I sat like I haven’t understood what she said. Sick of home?
“There is no one at home for me. Mummy goes to hospital early in the morning and comes home only after dusk. Dad comes once in a month. And I have nothing to do at home. I don’t like home for more than two days.”
The child of the post-modern age, I thought to myself. I have read about such people in newspapers, magazines and books. Who else can prefer boarding places to home? Anyway, not me!
“So what do you do after your education? You will have to go home, won’t you?” I asked.
She smiled. “Never. I plan to find some job in a place away from home and stay in a working women’s hostel there.”
“And marriage….You will have a home and family then.” I said.
“Marriage??!! Me? No way!” She shouted. “I hate men!!”
Oh! My God! What a creature!!
“And who do you think will help you when you get old?” I wanted her to understand the importance of a family. But her answer was quick.
“And what for do you think people are building so many old-age homes today?” She asked. “ I work till I am not able to work, and then rest with the money I have made by then.”

I could think of only a different version of the Sanskrit slokan:
Pitha rakshathi koumare – Father cares her in childhood,
Barhtyaa rakshathi youvanne – Husband cares her in adolescence,
Puthro rakshathi vardhakye – Sons cares her in old age,
Nna sthree swathanthryamarhathi – No women deserves independence.

Convent rakshathi koumare – Convent cares her in childhood,
Hostel rakshathi youvanne – Hostel cares her in adolescense,
Old-age homes rakshathi vardhakye – Old-age homes cares her in old age,
Nna sthree paranthyamarhathi – No women deserves dependence.

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