“Dr. Shikha Sharma.”
“Yes, Dr. Shikha Sharma! Can I have a word with you please?”
Shikha Sharma detested to be addressed like the rest. By their mere names! She was a legit professor holding a Ph.D. in Women´s studies. How dare these creeps club her with the rest of the common pack?
Would the world ever address a man without the ´Dr.´ tag if he earned it rightfully? The answer is a resounding No.
See, this is what she has fighting against all her life! This kind of discrimination. These creeps felt so threatened by her intelligence and her very existence. She was too good for them in every imaginable way. Be it topping the class and university with distinction or racing ´neck-to-neck´ with them at the workplace. These men couldn´t digest the fact that a woman can be an achiever as well.
Anyway, they aren´t getting away with treating her poorly and relegating her to the sidelines anymore. She was going to grab the centre-stage by hook or crook. She would raise her voice loud against any form of injustice and indiscrimination meted out to women. She spoke about it vocally in her classrooms, at large public gatherings and in several essay publications. Yes, she was a proud and unapologetic feminist! The world needed her.
Dr.Shikha Sharma never found any man worthy of her stature and who was eligible to be her husband. It was tough to find a match for a óne-in-a-million´ woman like her. Besides, she thought marriage was a lame patriarchal proposition. And, making babies seemed like a sad goal. An idle mind is a devil´s workshop, you see!
The irony was that many of the idle minds belonged to women themselves. Why couldn´t they think or be like her? Life would be so much better for women all around the world. Is this why women get educated – to get married, become baby making machines and settle for a raw deal thrown as pittance to them? Fools, all of them! Yes, these women are victims of patriarchy but can´t they take some responsibility for their lack of vision and ambition? It´s scores of women like them who bring nothing but shame and embarrassment to women like her. What a waste of human race!
Beginning from her biological sisters, Shikha could never look up to any of them for the same reasons. All her sisters obediently followed the norm, got married at the prescribed age and put their husbands and children as the fore most priority in life. Tania, her elder sister was a firebrand achiever like her yet she chose to give it all up for the sake of family. She still remembered with horror when Tania came home beaming with happiness to reveal the news of her fourth pregnancy in a row Shikha couldn´t contain her disgust any longer –
“Don´t you have any other better work in life than carry pots around your tummies year in and year out?”
Tania was understandably hurt at her sister´s callous remarks but she attributed it to a feeling of inadequacy in Shikha and forgave her. While Tania and the rest of the sisters were equally educated and empowered like Shikha, they made different choices for themselves and moved in a different course in life. As for Shikha, she developed an inherent hatred and envy for wives, mothers and other domesticated versions of women that existed in any form.
Dressed in khadi sarees, sporting a bob cut with freshly sprouted grey hair and thick rimmed glasses, Dr.Shikha Sharma was the poster child for feminism in India. She gave intellectually stirring discourses on gender equality, toxic masculinity, why feminism is good for men and women and the grave need for more women leaders like her at the top.
As time went by, Shikha Sharma grew not just in power and stature but also in avarice and narcissism. She broke the glass ceiling strategically and was in the unique position of being among the few women who made it to the top. She had come this far not to let all her efforts slip by. If this meant fighting against other women by courting men on her side, so be it! If she smelt competition in newbie women employees, she got manipulative and played dirty to throw them off the turf. She cut the wings of many women in her team, holding undisputed power as their boss. More women in her team would dint her shine. Correction, the more equally capable women in her team would dint her shine. So, she settled for the mediocre ass-lickers as women representatives in her team. She continued playing her cards right – blowing her own trumpet at every occasion available, talking about her struggles to get to the top in a highly patriarchal society, the inherent persecutive nature of patriarchy, giving clap-worthy speeches on women empowerment and listing her tall efforts to support and include fellow women in her worthy cause and vision.
Dr.Shikha Sharma did get married to a fawning admirer and they went on to adopt a girl child. While she talked big at the podiums on the importance of the education of the girl child, she didn´t think it was important for her adopted child. The child was adopted for a clear purpose and that was to be her support in her old-age as well as to further her own self-image in the eyes of the society as a real-life humanitarian. A farishta (angel in Hindi)!
She made sure that the adopted child was indebted to her life-long for saving her from the hell called an orphanage. She citied her own example of late marriage to her adopted daughter and made sure that she lived under the shadow of her wings for life.
Over the decades, Dr.Shikha Sharma was the recipient of many ´Woman of the Year´ awards and the likes. She was at the last lap of her life and yet, her name was still remembered with honour and credibility at every occasion. She read the interview questions for one of the nation´s leading newspapers that came in her inbox.
So, What is the secret of your success? Please share it with our readers.
She looked hard at the question. At 94 years, she knew the real answer to that one. The secret to her success was playing the same game that men played for so many years. Projecting their weakness and inadequacy onto the other gender, trumpeting the cause of self-empowerment while joining the male force in their oppression of the poor and underprivileged to usurp and maintain their power status quo.
Of course, she knew too well not to reveal the truth to the world a long time ago. Juxtaposition was the secret to her success to the top-most position. She typed in excerpts of her old speech on women empowerment while trumpeting about her tall achievements. She chuckled in glee like Maleficent who gave the poisoned apple to the poor, fair and unsuspecting victims.
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