There is a dilemma that I’ve been working on for quite a few months now.
The constant struggle between wanting to fit in and yet be true to myself is always a push and pull, 21st century or not.
To think about it, it is more difficult today than ever before, despite the acceptance and awareness available regarding being oneself, self love and embracing oneself.
But the conditioning that I’ve had growing up, watching my mother and grandmother and every other woman that I’ve come across. Every woman whom I’ve seen embrace this phase of their lives.
Then there is this whole generation, my generation specifically, that seems to be such a contrast. It’s almost comical if you think of it, no?
Women of my generation seem to be on the divided and resting on the two corners of this conundrum, with very few falling in the middle to justify the normal probability curve.
21st century or not?
The stereotypical view of an Indian woman is that of someone whose entry is heard through the jingle of her bangles and chiming of her anklet way before she comes into view. The stereotypical view of an Indian woman is someone who draws majority attention to her round red bindi more than the rest of her. The stereotypical view of an Indian woman is someone gracefully draped in five meters of saree. The stereotypical view of an Indian woman is someone with lush curves and voluminous long hair. The stereotypical view of an Indian woman is someone that silently stands next to her partner
Things are changing though, aren’t they?
Now women don’t necessarily align with all the above standards. We wear shorter hair, pants and just a watch and we are independent that wish to define ourselves than be defined by someone or something.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not in favour of one thing over the other. There are no sides. It’s not black or white, it is mostly grey- hence, the dilemma.
So what did I do? I turned towards the pool of resources available to me to find some answers. And what I found blew my mind. Completely.
All the Indian rituals that an Indian woman is expected to carry out are not just patriarchal, some have beautiful logic and science behind them. Let me share some of them with you-
Also know as the red dot, this bindi is applied between the two brows or the mid-brow region. Among the seven chakras/energy centres in our body, the sixth energy centre lied right there. This is the seat of nerve plexus as well which directly impact the pituitary gland and the hypothalamus.
Also, putting this dot/ bindi makes us press this point which helps in improving concentration, relieving anxiety and stress and heal headaches and sinus by stimulating this energy centre.
This is the red powder used by married woman, lining this central hair partition- commonly applied starting from forehead unto pituitary gland (the seat of emotions and thoughts). Traditionally Sindoor is made by mixing turmeric, lime and mercury; a combination that is helpful in controlling blood pressure and activating the sexual drive.
The application of Sindoor is started on being married and curbed when one is a widow.
This piece of ornament is worn on the second toe.
It is known to press a particular vein that runs from the toe to the uterus and then to the heart- meaning it helps strengthen the uterus by improving blood flow to it ergo regularising mensural cycles.
The wearing of tight and heavy bangles helps press veins that lead to the reproductive organs and are knows to help in easy conception. So it is not so bad if I plan to start a family, right?
EAR & NOSE PIERCINGS
These piercings are becoming wildly common across the globe now, but mostly as a fashion statement. In India, a girl gets the left side of her nose pierced using a precious metal like gold or silver. This point is know to be an energy centre that connects to the uterus and helps manage the pain of childbirth.
With regard to ear piercings, as a woman it helps regulates our mensural cycles and as humans it regulates blood flow throughout the body.
This piece of jewellery is usually worn on both the feet, traditionally. Precious metals like gold and silver are used in making anklets as these are good conductors, enabling a lot of good energy/ions enter our body. Anklets are also used to relieve or reduce leg pain alone with stimulation of veins which result in better blood flow to our limbs.