“Aaj kal ki ladkiyan” – an overheard conversation in Delhi metro

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The ever so crowded Delhi metro is an experience that annoys you to bits but also makes you witness rare and interesting observances. It’s insane to realise the number of people you meet everyday and get to know what’s happening in their lives. Sometimes, you can also be victim of harsh comments and it ruins your day. However, I got to witness an interesting conversation between two fellow commuters today. I boarded metro from Rohini, Sec 18 while two middle-aged ladies, who were going to shop for someone’s wedding (I got to know from their conversation), boarded from Model Town. Here’s how it went.

Lady 1: “Roz roz protests, violence ki news dekh ke aisa lagta hai aage aage kaise padhayenge bacho ko”

{How will send our kids to schools and universities after seeing protests and violence everywhere}

Lady 2: Chote bacho se leke college ke bacho tak, kabhi murder, kabhi rape! Hum bhi college school gaye hain, pehele toh aisa kuch nai hota tha

{From school kids to college students, there are murders, rapes! We also went to schools and colleges, we never faced all of this}

Lady 1: Hum apne kaam se matlab rakhte the na. Seedhe jana, seedhe ghar aajana. Aaj kal toh ladkiyon bhi sharab cigerette peene lag gayi hain, kya bolein kisi ko

{We used to only go to college and come back. These young girls drink and smoke also, what can be done}

Lady 2: Arrey bhout gande gande kaam hote hain school collegon mein aaj kal. Meri Mini batati hai, uske college mein bhi hote hain. Bata rahi thi thode din pehele, BHU mein kuch zara sa keh diya kisi ladki ko, bawal kar diya ladkiyon ne. Pata nahi ma baap bhi kuch kehte nahi. Hum toh itne darte the apne papa se, zara sa dupatta bhi neeche nai hota tha. Mini ke papa toh bilkul aise kapde nai pehenne dete.

{A lot of dirty incidents happen in colleges these days. My daughter tells me, in her college too. She was telling me, few days back in BHU, someone said smt to a girl, and all the girls started protests. Their parents also don’t scold the. We used to be so afraid of our father, even dupatta used to stay in its place. Mini’s father also never lets her wear ‘such’ clothes}

Lady 1: Haan, ye kapde, ye movies, internet, sabne logo ko pagal sa kar rakha hai.

{Yea, such clothing, movies and internet have made people crazy}

Lady 2: Vo Nirmal bhabhi ki beti hai na Radhika, uski shaadi nahi ho rahi, 30 saal ki ho gayi. Raat raat ko doston ke sath jati hai bahar, facebook pe photo vote dekh li ladke walo ne, mana kar diya. Aage aage ghar kaise sambhalegi.

{Nirmal bhabhi’s daughter Radhika isn’t getting married. She is 30 now. She goes out at night with friends a lot. So, the guy’s side saw the pictures on Facebook and rejected her. How will she take care of her house?}

Lady 1: Haan zyada bahar jaake kya karna hai. Apna padhai karo aur ghar aao.

{Yea, why go out too much? Just study and come back}

Lady 2: Mini bhi keh rahi thi koi dance society hai college mein. Iske papa ko toh pasand nahi hai, unhone mana kar diya. Kaafi royi dhoyi ye. MBA ki taiyari kar rahi hai aajkal. Agle saal paper degi. Maine kaha beta mann lag ke padh le, zindagi ban jayegi.

{Mini also wanted to join some dance society in college. Her father doesn’t like all this. He didn’t give her permission. She cried also. Now she is preparing for MBA. She will give her exam, next year. I have told her, you’ll have a good life if you study properly}

And then it deviated to Mini and her career.

Note: Not even a single word in this conversation has been manipulated or moulded in any way.

This is just one of the many frustrating arguments we have been facing since ages. We write long editorials, we watch videos, we hear celebrities talking about ‘WOMEN EMPOWERMENT’, we go to Jantar Mantar and protest, we fight laws but how much do we stress on the fact that the change begins at home.

While government is taking initiatives and they are to be lauded, the principal drawback is that they exclude women without access to smartphones. The lack of transportation channels from their homes to their places of work and back is often a problem for them as well.  Thus, though they should be part of the target group of such technology, they get left behind by these advancements.

If you made it here, and want to know if I interrupted, I’ll disappoint you and say ‘NO!’

Why? Because despite the overwhelming evidence to the contrary, it can be difficult to respond effectively to such a stubborn and misguided claim.

Mini, if you’re reading this, I hope you get to follow your dreams and you get to dance and you get to choose a career you’re passionate about.

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