You may be wondering why I am writing you a letter when we both live in the same house, crossing each other’s path a thousand times? Well, can you tell me exactly how many words we would have actually spoken to each other in a day? That’s right – hardly ten! It’s a tough situation for both of us, you trying to be the ‘best’ mom and me being, well, myself! So, I thought, I being more mature of the two, that I should make an effort to clear the air between us.
Mama, you brought me up so why am I suddenly a stranger to you? I have been playing street cricket with boys since I was five, so why should I suddenly stop when I turned fifteen? They haven’t! I don’t deny that I am starting to have certain feelings which were so far unknown to me. I am starting to appreciate my body, my looks and spend more time in front of the mirror but isn’t that natural?
Why do you want me to hide my own body from my own self? I have come to realize that boys are different from girls but for god’s sake, what do you think is going to happen in a cricket match? Do you think that when I take a run, I will just keep running and away with one of those boys into oblivion? Please don’t tell me you worry about what others will think because frankly, I don’t care. I am not going to stop playing just because some aunty finds it hard to digest!
I have been playing street cricket with boys since I was five, so why should I suddenly stop when I turned fifteen? They haven’t!
I am now coming to the most contentious issue between us Mama, so brace yourself. My clothes! You don’t approve of my clothes. When all my friends wear whatever they want, you want me to wear ‘something which covers’! When I go out with them, I am the one who faces all sorts of ridiculing and teasing Mama, not you! At least once you should put yourself in my position and see!
You think just like everyone else in society that girls who wear revealing clothes are bringing violence and harassment upon themselves. Not so, Mama! We just want to have fun. Is that so wrong? You should teach my brother not to stare at girls instead of covering your daughter up! The fault lies with men, Mama, not the girls.
My life changed when I turned fifteen, Mama! I have become more beautiful. I see the world in more intimate details and it is as if it is just now opening itself to me, showing me more and more of its secrets every day. But sadly I have lost my mother. The one who used to be my only resort when I needed comforting, the one who knew my every need before even I knew it, is no longer there.
You should teach my brother not to stare at girls instead of covering your daughter up!
I want my old Mama back. I want the Mama who went and bought me my cricket bat behind my father’s back. Where there were cuddling and kisses, now there are only snooping and complaining. Where there were kind and loving words, now there are only threats and scolding.
You know what? I think I know why you have changed. You are scared, Mama! Your own caterpillar has turned into a butterfly but you don’t recognize it, so you are scared. You read the reports of gruesome rapes and murders every day in the paper and you are scared that the same fate will befall me. Your mother told you to obey the elders, cover up from head to toe and be a good daughter-in-law and you followed her advice. Now your daughter is not in the mood to do that so you are scared. What if I earn a bad name in my in-law’s house? So you are scared – scared all the time!
Mama, don’t be scared. I want to change the equations now and I want you behind me. I want to make my own decisions, have my own priorities. I am born in an independent country, so why should I still be in shackles? I don’t want anyone’s permission to do what I want, Mama! Believe that I have imbibed your values and morality and trust me to live my life on my own terms. I may commit mistakes but they will be my own and believe me when I say that you have brought me up to be a strong and smart girl.
Come, let’s be a part of the change, Mama. Don’t be scared!
Forever your daughter.
Featured image used for representative purpose only. Image source: LinkedIn