To Be A Woman Independent And Single

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What is terrible is that after every one of the phases of my life is finished, I am left with no more than some banal commonplace that everyone knows; in this case , that women’s emotions are still fitted for a kind of society that no longer exists. My deep emotions, my real ones, are to do with my relationship with a man. One man. But I don’t live that kind of life and I know few woman who do. So what I feel is irrelevant and silly…I am always coming to a conclusion that my real emotions are foolish, I am always having, as it were, to cancel myself out. I ought to be like a man, caring more for my work than for people; I ought to put my work first, and take men as they come, or find an ordinary comfortable man for bread and butter reasons– but I won’t do it, I can’t be like that…

Ella from The Golden Notebook by Doris Lessing

This novel have me in a tight grip. As I turned the pages I get sucked more and more into it. I can feel my mood changing, my being, my thoughts, influenced. My dreams becoming vivid intermingling with the characters in the book as if I am living their lives.

The Author a woman. The protagonist a woman who is writing about the life of a woman in the 1950s. About a period of time when the roles of women were set for change. Feminism was rising in a crescendo and women were breaking free from stereotypes but still galled at the fact that they still need the love of a man to make them happy. Her honesty stings. And still so relevant even today. The truth in her words scalds. It forces you to look at what you refuse to acknowledge.I am like a moth drawn to a fire. I cannot stop reading even if it burns me.

©JMKhapra

Illustration by Jofelyn M. Khapra

That Woman In Red

Where she goes nobody knows. Where she lived nobody dares go. Her backyard was the forest. A secret maze of tall ominous looking trees hide her cottage from the rest. And whenever young Marie would see a dark red diaphanous long dress or a red velvet coat she wears. Her eyes towards the horizon. Her gait confident, oblivious of everyone around her.

“ I want to wear a dress in that color.”  Marie told her mother one day when she saw the woman in the town. She looked suspiciously at the woman. “ Men never marry a woman in red. They want women in pastels.”  Marie frowned.  “But men do sure like women in red.” She remarked. Her mother snorted.  Marie can see men ogling the woman in red. The woman would occasionally  look at the men sideways and the men would have an expression Marie thought indecent.

“She doesn’t have any friends in the town,” Lilian said while drawing circles in the sand with her fingers. Marie copied her and drew a heart and wrote  the name John in it.

“Mother seems to hate her. But father always have a dreamy look every time they would talk about her.” Continue reading