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An open letter to men (perhaps women too!

)
Dear fellow traveler,
It was hard to find the right word to address you the other half came nearest, but wasnt close
enough. It is not the clich Im afraid of, it is the lie. Let me call you fellow traveler, since we are
travelling together. We, men and women.
What is it I want to say, I, the quintessential woman, to you, the quintessential man? First, the
inevitability of us. Whoever or whatever made the world made the male and the female, throughout
the entire living kingdom mammals, birds, amphibians, fish we humans too are part of the chain.
We humans have identified and categorized ourselves in quite a few ways, on the basis of religion,
language, occupation, nationality I guess gender beats them all. We are 50-50 stakeholders. Yet,
we seem to be tugging in opposite directions at the two ends of the rope. Why?
From the war between the sexes to the search of soul mates, from DNA to subtle bodies, from the
bedroom to the boardroom much has been said, some understood. Yet, there is heartache. Why,
again? The last century has seen a rapid metamorphosis in the role and status of women. Women
have been protected and preserved, suppressed and exploited, by the paradigms of patriarchy. The
last century has led to some solid shaking. With women voting, getting good education, working and
earning money, the roles set out in the past have been challenged.
The macho man and the doll of the house are roles that have been mercilessly subject to the acid
test. The doll not willing to be a puppet, has moved out of the house and the confining mindset,
and the ripple is causing the mans role to be weighed and examined. It is not merely about
romantic fire rising to a high and turning to ash, with splintered dreams, because theres confusion
about roles. The other relations too are affected. This is an age of questions, the full stop is being
changed to a question mark or a comma, new text is being added when it comes to gender roles.
Interesting, and sometimes painful. In societies where patriarchy has been the unquestioned norm
this has been a thorny affair. Marriages have broken, daughters have rebelled, mothers have cried
acid tears.
But thats more on the surface. Lets look at what happening below the surface from where is this
force coming? What has led to this opening? Like everything manifest, its source lies in the subtle,
the intangible, often, the realm of the spirit. Sometimes when you look at how the structure of the
family has suffered because of women changing their traditional roles, and even with societys
fabric changing its patterns, its hard to think it is all spiritual. Some people say, Oh! divorce is
spiritual? If women stayed at home and played the dutiful wife there wouldnt be so much mess
around! There has been endless mess around, for a long, long time. Its just that its being cleared
now. The carpets being beaten so you can see the clouds of dust rising, and yes, some are choking.
The dusts been there though. Its clean up time, spiritually. Cleansing is essential before new
beginnings.
One needs to seek the truth, and a good way to begin would be to go beyond angry feminist ranting,
beyond blind chauvinism, and to see truly without the shades of conditioning of ones own gender. I
suppose when one can do that, there is hope. From the hunter-gatherer days where muscle power
mattered along with skill, the male had a significant role in bringing home the bacon. Now the
proverbial bacon is available in the supermarket! The nature of the challenges has changed with
industrialization and the tech revolution, the gender conditioning and roles however, havent
changed with the times. The change is coming but like all revolutions, it is laced with tears. The
family is the battleground, the bullets are borne by the heart - man heart, woman heart, child heart.
Human heart. As an educator, I see how hard it is for children to cope with family break ups. Brave
fronts and broken hearts. Its no use getting caught in the quicksand of blame. It still hurts
So, what can be done? How is the man supposed to handle all this the father, the brother, the
husband, the son?
First, stop struggling against change. Remember, all change is integral. A ripple runs across the
water, life is fluid. An idea that changes one part of the world affects other parts. Much as we try,
ivory towers dont help, not in todays world of tech toys and internet miracles facebook, twitter,
24x7 news channels, emails, podcasts, youtube, easy blogging people get to know whats going on
around the world. Thats not a small thing, one wave rides on another. As the world turns, it changes
and everyone knows about it! People in Australia know about China, China knows about England,
England knows about Japan, Japan knows about India This knowing and the ability to reach out to
people on the same wavelength, intensifies and deepens change. Social relationships in such a fabric
are inevitably influenced, particularly gender equations. The woman wonders if I can earn and fend
for myself, if I can produce kids and provide for them, why should I play second fiddle? When I can
live choose expression over suppression, freedom over fear, sincerity over manipulation, peace over
nagging, then why shouldnt I? The reasons for staying on in a relationship are changing and they
have to be good reasons. You cannot have only women happy at the cost of men or men happy at
cost of women.
There is deep and intense call from the collective consciousness of women to grow in a way that
hasnt happened before in the history of the planet. Centuries of suppression or at least lack of
support have led the steam to build. Now, the steam is let loose with a force that will not withstand
any opposition. The woman is redefining her role in society. This cannot be stopped, it has to
understood and channelized. That alone with lead to harmony. If the spirit has taken on the body of
the female, the same spirit is aching to express itself in its entire glory. No more, no less. But the
structure of society has to be prepared, it needs to be chipped and changed, in certain ways its
crying for a paradigm shift. Time will tell what dynamics will prevail.
It is time to look beyond social roles. Understand that nothing is sacrosanct forever. Change is sacred
and necessary for the spirit to flower and find expression. This is the law of life, and the rigid mind
can do nothing to stop this. Nothing perhaps but cause more pain because of not accepting. Yet, its
hard. It is important to bring up boys differently. The toys need to be more unisex, boys can play
with dolls and cook, they can hang around while their mother is cooking and help instead of being
with the lads. If we are truly moving into a deeper, a more alive spiritual awareness then old norms
will be tossed up. Some will shatter. This needs to be seen and understood. It is irrational to expect
your husband to become a liberal romantic hero out of a new age novel, if he was not brought up
that way. They need to be caught young. When mothers and fathers bring up their children with
sensitivity, without claustrophobic gender rules, the children grow up freer. Men dont have to go
out of their way to try to be stronger, heavily, louder, bolder, women dont have to struggle to be
seductive, manipulative, sentimental, submissive. The qualities that develop are a natural unfolding
of ones soul qualities. They neednt been gender driven and determined, but a result of the
individual journey to growth. So, the gentle man and the strong woman are not necessarily a
subject for lampooning.
Till now, society has been trying to create two perfect halves that find each other, complement each
other and live with each other, in a bid to create a harmonious exchange. Somewhere this has led to
discontentment and more. But now, evolution is taking humanity to a different plane. It is being
realized that growth cannot be isolated, no matter whose growth, men or women. Even if you think
the notion of interconnectedness and oneness is a colorful soap bubble from the spiritually neurotic,
the obvious social, geo-political connections, are well, obvious. Men and women cannot grow and
be happy at the cost of each other. Happiness is not an either-or situation. It is time, for not two
halves, but two wholes to merge to make yet another whole. The woman is moving fast to find the
male principle within her, the man too needs to find the female within him. When complete
individuals meet, miracles happen. Such is completeness, such is delight.
- Harvinder Kaur
teachertalk@rediffmail.com