After everyone has settled down for the night, I stay back, every day for half-an-hour to an hour. Just to reflect on the day or read or even just sit idle on a corner chair looking out of the window. This became my routine after my daughter was born, earlier I got a lot of time alone so didn’t bother to take notice. When I first started out, with my ‘me-time’ after a while the spouse would peek in and ask “You’re okay right?” Now, he and everyone else know I need this time, alone!
- In India nobody likes to see a woman sitting by herself. Soon enough somebody is bound to ask her “What’s wrong?”
- All woman wish for a ‘me time’ or ‘a bit of quiet and peace’ in the midst of a hectic day or by the end of it to recharge for the next day.
- Me time or downtime can be anything, from reading a book, shopping alone, having a cup of coffee to gardening and watering plants.
- Space doesn’t necessarily have to be ‘a room’ per se.
Tell me truthfully, do you see the women in your home sitting alone, just sitting in a corner alone, and doing nothing. Most probably not! In India nobody likes to see a woman sitting by herself. Soon enough somebody is bound to ask her “What’s wrong?”
But, I know a secret; every woman I know has this secret. Even I nurture this yearning.
All woman including me wishes for a ‘me time’, ‘down time’ ‘a bit of quiet and peace’ call it what you may but we all do need space in the midst of a hectic day or by the end of it to get a peaceful sleep or regain or recharge for the next day.
When in malls, markets, movie theatres just look around, do you see women and girls walking, wandering alone? No, I don’t think so. For us in India, it’s inappropriate for women to do things alone. There is no such rule that women cannot do things alone, yet, we don’t see them doing anything by themselves. Although, I confess I do go to movies solo, if the theatres are screening a movie I want to watch, I don’t hesitate to step out alone. I love shopping alone too, especially for my clothes.
We all yearn for this but don’t voice it; we might whisper it to our friends, mothers or sisters furtively on the phone. That’s because we know “I want to be by myself” can often translate to “I don’t want to be with you.”
Me time or downtime can be anything, from shopping alone, having a cup of coffee to gardening and watering plants. This ‘time’ can last for days, it could be nights, it could be for a month, a year, a week, an hour or just one damn minute to oneself. We all yearn for this but don’t voice it; we might whisper it to our friends, mothers or sisters surreptitiously on the phone. That’s because we know “I want to be by myself” can often translate to “I don’t want to be with you.” And we women don’t want to hurt the feelings of our dear ones or make excuses. This is why craving time alone can feel like breaking a taboo. That is why we women secretly seek it.
This comfort zone or quiet zone can be different at different phases of a woman’s life, as young girls we want that balcony for ourselves, when we move out and have a place of our own, we wonder if we ever want to marry and lose this freedom this quite, as young mothers just to put up our feet and watch TV for a while seems like heaven, or now mothers even hide their social media status from their inquisitive kids, it’s their space, family not allowed.
Although, I do admit it’s a little difficult for women to get a space for themselves with large families, kids are always clubbed together with their mother or girls will have to share a room with their siblings. Men of the family on the other hand, can afford to, if their homes are big enough to have ‘dens’ or a study. But space doesn’t necessarily have to be ‘a room’ per se.
Was this what Virginia Woolf meant when she said a woman needs ‘A Room of One’s Own’? Although originally, what she meant, when she was called to lecture on the topic ‘Women and Fiction’, was that “a woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction.” But, it’s widely referred to when talking about ‘space’ for women, literally or otherwise.
I don’t live alone, but I must admit I like a really long shower, so steamy, so watery, so that I can’t hear a thing; it’s like an isolation booth at home.
However, what I can vouch for is that solitude is a shape-shifter; it can fit itself into any gap and crack we want it to. I don’t have to live alone to satisfy my craving. I don’t live alone, but I must admit I like a really long shower, ‘steamy in winters, cool in summers’, so watery, so that I can’t hear a thing; it’s like an isolation booth at home. And, I really don’t understand people who say, they can be ready in ten minutes.
In a life of necessities, which is full of distractions and scattered forces, we women instinctively rescue a shard for ourselves. I do. We women need it, we chase it, we get it, we breathe and the world simmers down. We are at peace, ready for another day!
Smita Singh is an editor with SheThePeople.TV team. The views expressed are her own.