To Mom, With Love

You did what you had to do. And you did a pretty good job of leading by example. I now understand that in an ecosystem that India is, it is tough raising a daughter when you don’t really agree to the hollow norms set up by generations of patriarchy. I understand it doesn’t make it any easier when you get constant reminders from intruding relatives and neighbors that she’s a girl and needs to be taught to “behave” like one. Being the polite soul that you are, you never raised a voice but taught me to always stand up for mine. You let them raise eyebrows at you for letting me be me. 
In a country so obsessed with it’s sons, it would have been difficult to keep me shielded from the horrendous gender bias that exists in our society. Sometimes, I try to place how you managed, but I seriously don’t understand. All I can fathom is that you were so ahead of your times. Really! When my friends were learning to help in the kitchen, I was reading books, writing letters, playing cricket and solving strange mathematical equations for fun. Not many girls got to do that. Silly, I felt they liked the kitchen. 
I remember we had that conversation one day when you broke it to me that the world isn’t all that rosy. I was concerned why the neighbour’s daughter and son don’t go to the same school. You gave me the real answer. It came as a shock because until then, I had seen such things happen only in old movies. Gender bias suddenly became inevitable and answers to some questions unfolded themselves before me. That evening, I felt really proud of you for not doing it to me. I still am.
Then teenage brought the worst in me and I refused to come out of the cocoon I had built around myself. Back then, I didn’t even know what Feminism was, but I refused to become a “paraya dhan” or learn to cook even for survival. I remember you trying to get some sense into me by stressing that it is a life-skill and in spite of the gender, one needs to know the basics to survive. How I ridiculed that by saying I’ll hire a cook then, but can’t stand that happening in my kitchen now! Life does come full circle…
All grown up I am  now, to stand up for the girls who are not as fortunate as the child I was. There’s a fire inside me to stop the wrongdoings, to change India. Feminism is the religion I chose for myself, knowing that you’re there to back me, if I ever fall. You are one strong woman, and I owe it to you for raising one too!
Ma, You raised a feminist daughter
In a nation where being a girl is a sin
Even in the womb they slaughter
A life denied, goes straight to a bin.
Ma, You raised a feminist daughter
In a nation obsessed with its godesses,
Sacrificing themselves for their master
Glorifying to the sky,those gender biases.
Ma, You raised a feminist daughter
In a nation where they kill for dowry,
Money defines how relationships alter
And thousands of brides ignited in fury.
Ma, You raised a feminist daughter
In a nation obsessed with it’s sons,
It would have been like walking on water
Traversing real unknown dimensions.
Ma, You raised a feminist daughter
In a nation which breeds inequality,
The world thinks it does not matter
But you really know my ability.
Together, you and me – we will fight for it until it becomes evident to this nation that gender bias is not a lifestyle. You’re #MyFirstExpert on all things equality and I hope our tribe increases. Instead of celebrating sacrifices, we become and raise women who celebrate life and everything else it has to offer, ofcourse except a strand of grey hair. 
This post is written as a part of  #MyFirstExpert Campaign in association with Godrej Expert and Indiblogger


  1. Rahul

    Girls deserve all the dignity and opportunities and I am happy I know one , Akanksha:) Best of luck for the contest!

    • akankshaadureja

      Thanks! Here's hoping that equality paves the way for brigher opportunities for everyone irrespective of their gender and caste. Thanks for reading 🙂

    • akankshaadureja

      Thanks! Glad to see you here and hope you liked what you read. 🙂 And, update the blog, looking forward to some great stories of Europe from you!

  2. Rachna Parmar

    Very sweet post, Akanksha. I like how your mother has made you strong and liberal. Mums are the best!

  3. Alok Singhal

    Quite an inspiring post, Akanksha….I too have never heard of experiences like playing Cricket from many of ladies out there. If they are in a stadium to watch a match, i am sure they would like playing it as well.

    A great tribute to your Mom!

    • akankshaadureja

      Thanks Alok. Well, yous said it – I love watching cricket and I loved playing as well! Glad you liked it.

  4. Alok Singhal

    I salute those who stand against the 'boy' culture in our society. You need to have one son, try again…

    Most mothers tell their girls to behave and not raise it. Glad to read that your mom told you to voice your opinion and stand by your side. A beautiful post, loved the poem.

  5. Nandhini

    A nice take Akanksha! Every new article I read on feminism and women empowerment gives me a new inspiration. Superb poetry!

    • akankshaadureja

      Thanks Nandhini. Even if I am able to inspire one woman to stand for herself, it is enough for me. Thanks for readinf and taking out time to express your views. Glad to connect!

  6. So glad to read your post. Your lines have touched me from within. The teenage stage of your life,you have mentioned, I belong to that stage right now. And I have smiled silently while reading that you told your mom that you would hire a cook. Well, that is something I say my mother always if she tries to get me to cook. However, I agree to learn to cook if she teaches my brother also, along with me. 🙂
    Feminism needs to spread to every household,after all. If we change our homes, the thoughts of our family members, I hope we'll have a prosperous society without gender bias.

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