Updated: Dec 9, 2020
*Disclaimer: The word sanskaar is used here as a representation rather than the literal translation of the word. Having 'no sanskaar' has been used to describe actions of mine and other women I know personally as a way to showcase a distaste for certain actions or beliefs conveyed. Although this is incorrect as the word sanskaar literally translates to sacrament it is often used by society to describe one's upbringing and thought processes.
1. Wearing crop tops/ ripped jeans/ revealing clothing
If you haven't tried to leave your house in your favorite pair of ripped jeans and crop top or even just a shirt that shows the smallest amount of cleavage just to be stopped at the door by a relative asking if you can't afford clothes, are you really a South Asian kid? Seriously, I could be showing less than a sliver of midriff and still be sassed about 'what people will think' by the aunty melting into my couch, proudly showing off her jalebi filled belly in a ratty old sari blouse. While when I was younger, I tried to argue; now, I find myself channeling my inner Poo when Rahul asks what she is wearing, and her only response is "it's backless" as she shimmy's away.
2. Not caring that I cant make a round roti.
Not only are my roti's not round, but they have the texture of a frisbee. I don't know what it is, but I can't make roti for the life of me and you know what? Im okay with it. As a woman, my place is not in the kitchen, and if my inability to make this one item makes me un-sanskaar and therefore unmarriable, then all I have to say is - there will be more room for my fifteen dogs and nine cats.
In all seriousness, if I choose to get married and my partner wants a roti, they have two hands, they can make it themselves, and if not, I'll be happy to go to the store with them and purchase the pre-made ones. That way, we can just heat and eat!
3. Talking about my feelings and mental health.
When I take care of my body, workout, eat clean, and make conscious changes in my lifestyle to better my physical self, no one ever has a problem talking about my success. Much to my dismay, I also know plenty of individuals happy to talk about my weight gain, how much I'm eating, and the zit on my face, as again it surrounds my physical health and appearance. Yet, I find when I bring up my mental health or emotions to anyone outside of my immediate family, the dinner table clears faster than Road Runner being chased by Wile E Cayote. Invariably some aunty will pull me aside afterward and tell me not to talk about that "stuff," or boys will think I have too much 'baggage.' Well, to that I say the only baggage I have is a Louis Vuitton trunk, and sorry but it, along with me is priced way higher than you can afford.
Talking about one's mental health has always been stigmatized by the South Asian community; however, just because we don't talk about it doesn't mean it doesn't exist. Mental health is just as important as physical health, and the sooner we as a society learn to accept that and have an open dialogue on the topic, the better off we will all be.
4. Telling the whole world I'm on my period.
I don't know about you, but my period is not fun. As some of you may know, I have PCOS, a disease that can make my periods extremely painful, and unfortunately, there's not that much I can do about it. During this time of the month, I'm hormonal, uncomfortable, in pain, nauseous, and on top of that, I always destroy at least one pair of my cute underwear. So as you can imagine, I'm not a happy camper, and honestly, talking about it makes me feel better. It allows my family and friends to help me better cope because they understand or sympathize with what im going through. A period is a normal biological function that signifies a healthy adult woman, and if I decide to be with someone, it will be something that they have to deal with too. So for those that believe that talking about my' chums' makes me un-sanskaar as you are embarrassed or ashamed to talk about this process that affects 50% of the planet, I ask you this. If someone was bleeding from their leg for seven days straight, would you be offended by them talking about it or would you shame them? Now tell me the difference.
5. Having a voice.
I am 100 % not the little brown girl who's going to be obedient and stay quiet just because it's what I'm expected to do. If something is bothering me or I believe it is not just, I will rightfully express my concern. If I have an opinion, you better believe it will be voiced, and if I have something to say, I will make sure it is heard. Obviously, there is a difference between standing up for one's right to be considered equal and relevant and just being rude, but if having self-worth and speaking my mind means I am un-sunskaar, then I am ecstatic to be as un-sanskaar they come, and I encourage you to try it too!