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Don't call out my name

Grab your chai.

Okay, this is something that has bothered me for a long time. Personally, I do not think it's okay for Bengali men to be watching us and observing our every move (that's just how it feels at least). How are we meant to feel safe, happy and be okay? I remember in high school, my dad got angry at me when I came home, and I did not know why. Later I found out that he was angry at me for walking home with a boy and his friend saw me walk home with him. He forgot to mention a huge chunk of who the boy was. My cousin?! But did you ask me before you assumed the worst? That's okay to an extent and of course parents have a right to be concerned but please, talk to your daughters before assuming the worst out of them. If there is something that is bothering, you then address her first because that makes sense. You see it in movies that the girl gets in trouble for walking home with a boy or just even being within a two-radius distance to him and she gets told off or judged for it but the boy? Oh, that’s a whole different story. It’s not a joke thing because it is STILL happening in this day and age???

intense eye roll

The men, please do not get me started. I remember my mum talking to me about what she has heard from people about me and my sister and this was during the time we was in college. Listen, there are older men who are 20-30 years OLDER than us and think they can comment on anything we do damn we even be breathing wrong at this point. Just like please, stop? First, we don't know who is mentioning our names and why they make incorrect accusations about us but apparently, it's normal and we can't do anything about it. Second, it is weird, and it does not make sense to me in why they must talk about girls in that manner. Third, it is not acceptable in any form or shape to be talking about something you don't know. My dad would come back and tell my mum about his concerns and worries that has been heard but would not mention it to me or my sister. I understand he is concerned and worried to an extent but, tell us? Inform us?

I mean surely, we have to do something about this right? We cannot be scared and worried forever about the what if's and revolve our life around who might see us because that's not normal please understand that. You should feel free in your environment and not have to hide. However, I believe the first step to do that is to be the one to initiate a conversation about it. I do realise that parents worry and want what's best, so they do try control situations to keep us out of it but that's something that we need to deal with as well.

Honestly, for us it’s not nice to feel like we are being watched constantly and being judged. Don’t you see how different we have to act in order to not get ‘talked’ about? There are girls that have to hide things from their parents because of how they might react and that needs to change because they don’t feel comfortable in their own environment. Oh, it does not make it any better when random mans are commenting on their movements either, trust me.

As a young Bengali woman, I can say I have been through all that and also tried to change my ways so I can be ‘socially acceptable’. At first, I never questioned it and I just accepted that this is how society is and I must be the one to change my actions and change myself basically because I believed it was best. But honestly it is not us who needs to change but the ones who comment on us. I know it is hard because you want to do what’s best for you and your family but do not forget you are important, and it is okay to speak up and defend yourself because you are your own person. Do as you please because you know your own limits and fight back but don’t bring yourself down in the process of it. You are constantly growing and don’t forget you are growing in an environment which may not please everyone and you will get judged on through it but it’s about how you deal with it. Change is a big process and you will not be happy to change if you are forced to do it so to change something you got to be happy with yourself about it first right?

I am also still learning and going through all this myself and I know that communication is key. It does solve all concerns and worries, and overthinking does not help anything but make problems out of nothing. So, if there is a concern from an uncle about your movements just talk to your family first and I guess you can go from there. That’s something I did not do and did not speak up but neither did my parents, so communication does go both ways. In the end both parties will be angry and confused with each other because nothing was sorted you know?

I hope you enjoyed that chai.

©2017 by NishratI.