The handwoven sarees or the intricately crafted jewelry or a box of letters or a designer handbag, women pass on materials from generation to generation… but there is something else they pass on… they pass on their lives, their struggles, the battles won or lost.
A woman is an amalgamation of the time before, the time now, and the time in the future. Carrying the weight of generations of paradoxes, she has to be fierce yet warm, modern yet traditional, beautiful the way she is yet befit the societal beauty norms.
This women’s day we try to reflect on the occasional conflicts and joys of negotiating space between intergenerational women and try to scrap the idea that women are women’s worst enemies.
(L-R) Aqui Thami; Book Cover of "Girl, Woman, Other" by Bernardine Evaristo
Whether it was a last year around this time when we spoke to artist and activist Aqui Thami about totems of identities, and how art and cinema produced by women has led her to be on her path or reading the booker prize winner “Girl, women and other” by Bernardine Evaristo where there are a series of linked stories of Amma, Yazz, and Dominque; Carole, Bummi, and LaTisha KaNisha; Shirley, Winsome, and Penelope; and Megan/Morgan, Hattie, and Grace. We understand that all women narratives are a sort of Venn diagram of intersecting, sometimes overlapping accounts of their herstories.
After closely witnessing women of three generations first hand, I can confidently say that we have come far and wide. Tales from the times of our grandmother are unfathomable to us, their identities entirely dependent on respective husbands and fathers with no opportunity to learn and grow. Giving birth to beautiful daughters who eventually became our mothers, a very intelligent, smart, and talented woman but restricted by the external environment and the societal set up. Now us, trying to make our own name living in a different city all by ourselves, looks like a journey well traveled.
Neha with her mother
She knitted the future with her own hands to protect us and keep us warm. Fine lines of wisdom and struggle embellished our previous generations, whose sweet knowledge we are cherishing today.
Discussions of generational identities need to consider their long and non-linear history. The role of women and their models of behavior have been distinct in the past and the present. Despite their differences, women of all generations share common struggles, such as balancing career and family, dealing with gender discrimination, and navigating relationships.
My journey as a woman is bigger than my life alone. I am merely a relay(er) holding on to the baton passed to me by women before me and strutting towards a bigger, better and more equitable tomorrow. With my sarees, jewelry, bags and letters I too will pass on my wins and my losses.
Let us be moving, yet take a moment to celebrate the journey we have walked and are walking on. Cheers to the beautiful and most extraordinary way of existence, of being a woman.
Team Oceedee wishes you a very Happy Women’s Day.
-By Neha Kumthekar, Co-founder