Growing up in an Indian family and living in an Indian society is a schooling process by itself. We are taught to do so much and taught what not to do so much more. It takes the journey to adulthood to identify which of the taught skills we should follow and which not to.
A huge obstacle in this journey for several people is the fact that these societal mores still exist. While consciously choosing the battle for self-growth, they stare us right in the face. We can’t deny that it’s harder to fight an animal which is unafraid of us. But over the decades, we have lost so much of what matters most to these evils.
I’m sure by now you would’ve thought of a few already. Be it being told you can’t cry because you’re a boy or projecting marriage as the ultimate goal for a girl child or that your actual family members become strangers post wedding (I mean what even is that?) or having a certain skin colour and body size is unacceptable or the confusion and misrepresentation of mental health. I mean don’t we all still rather cry in the bathroom and practice our fake smile and walk out to join a group of people like nothing happened, than talk about it or even feel like we deserve some space and not be around people when we don’t want to?
The list of toxic things we were taught as children and made to believe even as adolescents is truly endless. But I have learnt that just talking about these problems doesn’t solve them. What are we going to do about them? Letting them be hasn’t done much good for any of us, has it? Ignoring has done worse than good for everybody. It’s interesting how most of these things have an impact on our lives. Be it personally, professionally or mentally. And that’s precisely why the need to act against it becomes so much more important.
But it takes us a lifetime to recognise, realise and understand all of this. The realisation, however, is the seed. And seeds don’t germinate and bear fruit overnight, do they? Nevertheless, sow them. It will make this place a better world for somebody else. Maybe for our kids, our kin or a stranger. It will be worth it.
I dream of a world where children are no longer limited by the opinions, judgements and
restrictions of anybody. Where they can live a life of freedom and individuality. Where they make their own mistakes and learn from them. Where they aren’t afraid of what people will say or think. Where they cry, take a break, laugh, walk, talk whenever and the way they want to.
No change happens automatically. And a change of this magnitude needs more. It requires some learning, some unlearning and a lot of acceptance. Learning from the experiences and trauma of our own and others, unlearning a lot of what we’ve been taught to be normal and the hardest, accepting that it might be rooted deeper in us than we care to admit. I’m sure we’ve been practicing and preaching some of these toxic thoughts and deeds until we suddenly realise it or are confronted by someone (most of the time it’s a kid). Accepting that we might be part of the problem is the first step to resolving it. As I mentioned before, it may not change much for us. But at least for the sake of the future generations, Break ‘em clutches!
By Sylvia Susana
A converted realist. Finding calm and a place for myself in the chaos of reality. I stand up and speak for things I believe in and writing is one of the ways I do that.