March 10, 2014 by Preeks
Last year on 8th March, International Women’s Day, I had a holiday. Preparatory leave for final exams in my MBA. I woke up late, had a nice brunch which my Mom made, indulged in some languid afternoon Telly, downloaded the latest episode of Modern Family and laughed a lot while watching it, went for a walk in the evening, decided to “prepare” for the exam in the night, but fell asleep instead. It was a happy women’s day for me.
This year on 8th March, I went to office. (That too on a Saturday. You should all sign a petition to request my office to give us Saturdays off. Really. It effects my blogging capacity so much.)
So yes. I went to office. And from there started my women’s day experience.
I wore pink, because we had a dress code. Yes. Tokenism at its best. I mean, women wearing pink on women’s day is equivalent to opening a snake charmer counter at the entrance of the International Airport in Delhi to welcome all those foreigners who come here expecting that. Basically, I mean, duh.
In fact, colloquially speaking, we also had a snake charmer in office. My favorite Pantry boy was standing at the entrance, wearing a white glove, handing out pink roses to all the women. *shudder*
We (as in, the women) got invited to two separate Women’s Day events. So my colleague and I got down to planning. We calculated that the biggest takeaways from these events were basically lunch and a goody bag. After much inquiry, we decided that Event 1 had a better goody bag, while Event 2 had a better lunch.
It really wouldn’t have warranted a whole blog post if that’s what happened, right? We ended the day with a count of 1 bad lunch and 1 sad goody bag.
I would have consoled myself if atleast the events we attended really honored us. They called a doctor who spent 2 hours telling a room full of women, how difficult it is to be a woman and how much risk our body undergoes thanks to what nature has designed for us. Seriously? If anything, I would have supported this whole event more if they had shown all this to men, so that they understand the complication of being women and not act like this:
Anyway. So then the doctor talked and talked and talked about taking care of our bodies because we are basically, walking timebombs. How that’s a way to make women feel happy, beats me.
The next speaker was a dietitian. I swear, my brain blanked out at this point (partly because this post started forming in my head and partly because of the tokenism of it all).
This was followed by a huge, pink cake, with roses on it. Now here, the most interesting thing happened. Who cuts the cake, was the big question we were all pondering over. The audience profile here is important. There were girls like me, uninterested, bored, waiting for a piece of the cake and that goody bag. There were the organizers, in nice saris and looking ready to blend into the next Yash Johar film set. There were the older women, with 15 year old teenage kids, so fed up of all the chaos at home, that this event was actually a welcome respite to them.
So, one genius came up with a brilliant solution to the cake conundrum. She pointed out quite ingeniously that since only 1 person can cut the cake and since there 35 of us in the room, we should all hold hands and make a chain and the last person cuts the cake. Like this:
She was serious. That was the most ridiculous thing I heard all day. That’s saying a lot given what all I sat through. But it still wasn’t the funniest. The funniest thing was that the lady beside me, belonging to that 3rd category of audience, decided to take it upon herself (and me), to make this suggestion come alive, irrespective of whether it had been accepted or not. She grasped my hand and made me grasp the next persons hand. Obviously, given how the day was proceeding, it is safe to assume that the suggestion was not accepted and the three of us were left holding hands in the middle of the room, for no visibly apparent reason. Just like that. 3 of us, holding hands, looking around for support.
Yes. It was embarrassing.
Anyway. So then we inched through the rest of the day, prayed for the events to get over fast, ate a bad lunch and came back with a sad goody bag. To end the day, me and my team decided to treat ourselves, by watching Queen. And frankly, that was the best part of the day. (Digression: If you haven’t watched the movie, please go watch now. There’s not much left in the post anyway.)
My point is this.
You want to make women happy? Just give us the day off. Do not. I repeat, do not resort to tokenism. We do not always like pink roses. We do not like pink cakes. (Prefer chocolate, if you realllly want to do tokenism). We do not fall for goody bags. Please do not tell us again and again that we are victims of nature and society.
Just. Give. The. Damn. Day. Off.