This post was written and submitted by @ykdesignsonline, one of our regular readers from South Africa.
October 30, 2013
You don’t know me, so why do you assume so many things about me? After talking to me for ten minutes, why are you surprised by my stance on certain issues?
Why are you so taken aback by such basic, almost frivolous, things about me? You’re amazed that I like Aerosmith because in your mind, Indians don’t like rock music. Are you serious? Do you drive with the windows up? Do I have to remind you that Aerosmith toured India – but not South Africa? And the same goes for a dozen other trivial interests.
What are we Indians supposed to like?
(Image source: Yann Forget, via Wikimedia. Image is re-usable under the Creative Commons Licence)
I recently mentioned not seeing Les Miserables, as I don’t like musicals. So why was I asked, “but aren’t Bollywood movies musicals?” Were we talking about Bollywood? Have I ever spoken about Bollywood movie marathons? I like Zayed Khan as much as the next lady, but honestly, most Bollywood movies just don’t do it for me.
And if I look nice on any given day or put a comb through my hair properly, why insist on making mention of Bollywood stars? Let it be known that when you dress up, I don’t ever think Britney Spears or Megan Fox or whoever. I never – ever – actually even relate you to “Hollywood”.
Why do you ask me about arranged marriages, like I should know all about it? None of my married Indian friends have had arranged marriages. My parents didn’t even have an arranged marriage. Why do you look so surprised when I tell you this? Were you hoping for a scandalous, juicy story? Are you disappointed that I don’t fit into your neat little box? Sorry to disappoint you but the last time I had to deal with the word “proposal” was when I downloaded the Sandra Bullock/Ryan Reynolds movie.
Why do you worry about me when you learn my boyfriend is Muslim? Why does domestic violence and oppression spring to your mind? Are you really even worried about me, or does it make you feel better to believe I’m oppressed? If you’re worried, let me lift that burden for you. You don’t have to worry about me – you may relax now. I wear what I want to, I work in the industry I love and he’s the best boyfriend I’ve had. You may need to sit down for this but he actually taught me how to cook. Yes, he, taught me! Don’t faint on me now, World. I know you’re not used to hearing this, but some guys are self-reliant and know that in a partnership it’s all about sharing responsibilities, sadness and joy.
How come you’re so intrigued that I’ve lived in different cities and a different country other than the city I was born in? How come, if I were any other race, you wouldn’t be surprised? If I were a white woman, you’d be impressed by my independence. But with me, you’re so surprised – you even entertain the thought that I could be lying. Let me bring you up to speed – this is the norm these days! There’s nothing even impressive about it. Most of the Indian women I know, around my age, have lived in different cities and countries for a few years and a lot of them have done it as independent, single women – not relying on fathers/boyfriends/husbands, or needing permission.
My dearest World, stop trying to spoon-feed me this idea that I am so oppressed – more than others – and that you can help me. Because you are my main problem.
Do you know how important education is in the community I grew up in?
Do you know that in this community it didn’t matter if you were a girl or boy, parents wanted their children to do well?
Do you know that in our classrooms, the girls always dominated the top student lists?
Do you know that it’s common for females to study math and science and engineering in this community?
Do you know this?
Do you pretend to ignore this?
I see your tweets and I hear your comments about females being told not to study math and science – in your world. That didn’t happen to us. But you still love to see us as oppressed. Why? You use words like “civilised” to describe yourselves – but I get to read your tweets these days. I get to read about these women in first world countries who experience all this crap I have never ever had to even deal with, and you still try to feed me your idea that you are “civilised”? In that case, I prefer being uncivilised.
Do you know how safe I felt in my own home? Do you know that I was treated as an individual there? Do you know my merits (and de-merits) meant something?
But then I stepped out the door and I met you. And all you want to do is stick a label on me, speak about me as if you know me and paint me in a shade I never agreed to, when you speak to your friends about me. You don’t see me. You see what you want to see.
You are my problem.
Studying in my field was never a problem – but getting you to see how much I know is a different story. Why does he do less but you believe in him? Why do you believe his talk but you don’t acknowledge my walk? Why are you so taken by little things he does but you downplay everything I’ve earned?
Is it safer that way? By putting me in your little box?
You may try to put me in your box and in your mind I may live there, but that just means I have a little box for you too.
My dear World, I really like who I am even though I know you don’t want me to – and that’s why I despise you.