“My choice is my right” – declare the voices of women who have learnt to make them
“Freedom means you are unobstructed in living your life as you choose. Anything less is a form of slavery.”- Wayne Dye
It has barely been a fortnight since the Deepika Padukone video about My Choice went live and already the buzz has died down. The aggravated tirades and arguments against, and for the video, have given way to a solemn burial of the real issue behind the video. Once again, the country has woken up to another day of cowardice with barely a real stand on the issues voiced. Yes, things are just how they are “supposed to be” – back to business.
In this country, headlines about sexual abuse of children in a neighbourhood school is overlooked with overt empathy and news about Suzette’s rapists distributing sweets to celebrate the death of their sole witness is absorbed with useless horror. One wonders, about the choices of the children abused and the women raped, about the cloth of morality, judgment, and culture that our society has wrapped around its eyes, and about the choices that are not being voiced, about the silence that needs to be heard.
The fight to make ourselves heard cannot end with the video, the story has to go on and the world has to listen. It is for this very reason that it is important to explore the opinions of the woman who have a voice and are not shy to voice it. As women we push our boundaries everyday, we are persistently gearing up for bigger challenges, breaking walls, glass ceilings and boundaries that hem us in and refusing to be victims but champions. HerStory spoke to some of these women to know what My Choice means to them and how they exercise their choice.
Through their own choices these women have contributed to society by choosing to do what they want rather than what they are expected to do. What is more interesting is how My Choice took on different and unique hues with each individual.
Shradha Madhu who was earlier working in the banking sector in Chennai, and is now pursuing her MBA from Bangalore, says:
“To me My Choice means a whole lot of things. It means the choice to decide whom I want to marry and when. It means I have equal rights to enjoy my life. It means to walk away from something that no longer makes me happy.”
“People (both men and women) tend to make choices from within the menu card that is handed over to them. The menu of course is limited to the culture, environment and beliefs that you are brought up with. To be able to see beyond that and make a ‘self’ choice of what you want to be is a power that you grant to yourself. Sadly, that power is snatched away in the name of gender, culture, and societal norms. To me, restoring that ‘power’ is empowerment.”
“Therefore, my My Choice would be to give myself the power to choose what I want to be and that power should never be conditional or curtailed by anyone. It is only then that you can give yourself a chance to follow your dreams.”
Mansi Gupta, entrepreneur, says:
“My Choice is to take my own decisions both professional and personal, and to achieve what I aspire.”
Liya Verghese, entrepreneur, says:
“An arranged marriage was my only choice and a child ten months into marriage, though something we had not planned, changed our lives. I found the love of my life in my husband in my first year of marriage and I love my daughter. Yes, while making my choices I include the welfare of my loved ones, but it does not stop me from following my heart.”
Parimala Harisprasad aka the Curious Tester says:
“My Choice is to do what works for me and giving others the space they need to do what works for them without being judgmental.”
Indhu Verghese, an English and Psychology teacher at APS, Bangalore and the mother of a 4-year-old daughter says:
“For me, My Choice is about living life on my own terms. Be the life changing decisions or those that I make on a daily basis, they have to be genuine decisions that are not tainted by the expectations of society or the norms levied on a female. It is also important for me to believe that my four-year-old during the course of growing up and becoming a woman will always be given a fair chance to make her choices.”
“Personally, I married a man from a different religion, because he was my choice and thankfully I was his. I chose to stay in Bangalore because I liked the freedom a woman has in a metro as compared to my hometown. Today, it is my choice if I want to go to a movie alone or not or if I want to spend the day at a resort by myself or not. These are very important decisions for me, though the world might find them silly. Only the one who is caged will understand the fear of doors and locks, only the one who has truly enjoyed breathing understands the value of space.”
Priya Maheshwari, entrepreneur, says:
“To me My Choice means the freedom to make choices, the freedom to think about my life by myself, and the freedom to take my own decisions and be proud of that.”
As we can see it is evident that for these women, the freedom of choice and My Choice are synonymous. And they strive everyday to exercise the right to make their choices.
Let us hope that as women we learn to break free from the chains that fetter us as well as those who chain us, be it society or ourselves.
I close with these lines from Katy Perry’s song Roar.
“I am a champion, and you are gonna hear me roar.”
(all image credits- shutterstock)