The place I was born and grew up, Kankinara, is a typical town coming into existence by the migrated labors from purvanchal region, Bihar and parts of UP. As the nature of the people and their societal upbringing it was highly patriarchal society unlike part of the state,Bengal, where women had enjoyed considerable say in all matters for very long time. The patriarchal norms had been visible in all aspect of Kankinara, more so in way sports had been played over the years. When we grew up playing all over the town, in fields, streets on roofs, it was full of boys hardly we saw any girl playing. It didn't feel odd, we grew up with those believes of sports being only for boys. Only games I saw girls playing was indoor ones, Ludo, business, kit-kit and of that types. Except for one or two who played kabadi with us and were damn good, I have no memories of watching girls playing any physical sports. Their only chance to visit the grounds were the annual school events of sports, and even there they were mostly spectators than players. Also, life was difficult for them because of the lampoons of the street who didn't missed chances of ogling and teasing. That lead to lives in the kitchen from a very early age and preparing for marriages as even higher education was not considered for them. The situation was pathetic to say the least.
But, in last few years, I am seeing a great change which I never expected to happen in my place. I see school girls dressing up and following the trends, though it is still in primitive stage compare to metros, but it is changing. They are asserting their choices in following there education, taking up jobs. Also I think inflation has helped them, the men in the family are not being able to earn enough to make up for the need , even though out of compulsion but they are forced to let girls in the family work :) . This independence is giving them a chance to explore their choices. Most heartening sign for me is now seeing girls taking to fields in the town. I see them coming to jog, play freely without giving a fuck to the ogling boys. Some men are baffled by this sense of freedom, I know my friends who grew up with patriarchal believes are finding hard to take it and are resorting to label the girls with their choicest label. But then who give a damn to them.
Also, this change has come without any support from any external view, neither from the feminist advocate this has come from the sheer believe of the individual to live the change they want to. I am great believer in individual belief for change and I also think one don't need to treat a girl with preferential or sympathetic attitude. All you one need is an equal rating nothing else. It is still long way to go but the sighsWelcome are encouraging :)