I’ve wondered time and again
What is it to ‘be a woman’?
When I was four
I thought it meant playing mommy and cooking yummy food.
At six I thought it was to be able to
Wear make-up and heels and sarees.
As a eleven year old
Being a woman meant looking pretty
And being the centre of attraction.
At twelve, it was the ability
To bear cramps every month
And to get used to an almost new me.
It was also the constant fear of lechers and eve-teasers.
At thirteen I thought being a woman
Was to watch lovey-dovey movies
And fantasize about falling in love.
At sixteen, it meant
Craving for independence
And being reminded of limitations,
Discovering my wings
But realizing I couldn’t fly yet.
When I turned eighteen
Being a woman meant taking responsibility.
Standing up for myself,
Laughing and crying at the same time,
Holding on, yet being able to let go.
At twenty, I realized
Being a woman also meant
being vulnerable yet resilient.
And loving myself unconditionally.
It meant enjoying ghazals and rock
with the same fervor,
It meant appreciating life’s little blessings.
It meant falling in love.
Now I am twenty two
And all these things do count,
But I still wonder what it is to be a woman…
Maybe it is learning to know myself.
Maybe it is about neither completely knowing
nor giving up the quest to know.
Maybe it is the incessant mood swings.
Maybe it is the ability to feel joy and pain with comparable intensity.
Maybe it is being selfless and selfish.
Maybe it is simple, yet riddled with contradictions.
Whatever it is, I know that there is
So much more to know…and so much more to love myself for.