Hmm… today is International Women’s Day.
I am not very fond of these national and international days… though I see a value in it. I mean it is a good occasion to make people aware, to look back and to take new direction, to share and to learn etc. But most of the times such ‘days’ have become a ritual. There is no life in it…. nothing new. People say the same thing over the years, I doubt whether listeners remember anything. I have given hundreds of public speeches … and I can see through its hollowness. Nowadays I prefer to work with small groups, because perspective building is a long term and continuous process.
For this reason, for years I kept away from Women’s Day. Every year my field teams look for ‘some resource person’ – who would inform a bit, entertain a bit, speak in a simple language and make women smile. Knowing me, they are always sure that I will not stretch my speech beyond a ‘boring line’. But I never accept those invitations. I keep a distance… because I feel I am contributing to the cause of women (directly or indirectly) for the rest of the 364 days. My personal journey is also a contribution, simply because I happen to be a woman.
I do not want to ‘do’ things unless I am convinced, and I do not really bother about alienation …However, for last couple of years, I am setting a new trend. I realize that I have gained a lot from various unknown women in rural and tribal India. Somewhere I should accept their debt and help others by sharing my experiences.
Last year I addressed one gathering of women in Pune.
For me, it is a hectic day today. I will travel a distance of 200 kilometers (using public transport) for giving a speech. Rather a bad effort – if you calculate input-output ratio. I mean consider travel time, money and energy spent. The output? I will make some people think for a minute, smile for a second… and satisfaction to organizers that an event is successfully achieved.
I will reach the place by 12.00 in the afternoon; from 3.00 to 6.00 is the main function in which I will speak. Then I will facilitate a couple of meetings and there would be lot of informal interactions. I will meet few friends and exchange happenings with them. I will be talking for most of the day and will be tired at the end of the day. Will start back by midnight and reach home by 7.00 next morning. On Monday I have to be in the office at 8.00 am… to work with a team on completion of a document!
Thus will end the ‘Women’s Day’. I am not sure whether I would contribute anything to the betterment of women by giving a speech. After all, may be it is a bad idea to accept such invitations and to assume that I can ‘guide’ people. May be I should follow the path of not getting involved in Women’s Day. May be, I should just be with myself on this day.
It is funny. When I was not doing anything, I felt that I must contribute. Now I am taking an initiative and I feel that I should withdraw.
Robert Frost has rightly said,
“Two roads diverged in a yellow wood
And sorry I could not travel both….”
What is your say on this?