‘Woman’ – When you think of adjectives to a ‘Woman’, we come across wonderful, warm hearted, whacky etc. The most that I love and admire is – ‘Warrior-like’. Yes, there is an adjective like that and it holds true to women even though women don’t wear armors, have shields or hold swords to counter, they are so well equipped with their mindset, strength , courage and willpower that they are able to overcome just anything.
A week since the International Women’s day passed (the day on which the respect and status of women increased in the eyes of the world) but since then, nothing has changed in terms of how they are treated in and around their workplaces, homes or towns and villages. Right from sexual harassment cases to molestation cases, from gender inequality issues to age old traditions which degrade women still exist and are still strongly influencing people’s minds and their living.
But I am really amazed and full of awe of the strength of women. Even though we have heard people categorising women as lower than the men, there are so many facets to a woman that even time would fall short to describe the beauty of her attitude, willpower and her valor. We all have heard Malala Yousafzai’s willpower to get educated in spite of being shot in the head by Taliban. She eventually became a role model for many. The recent cases of Hollywood producer, Harvey Weinstein being charged with multiple sexual harassment cases after many actresses came out in the open to accept that they were a victim to his horrendous acts, takes a lot of courage for a woman to maintain her dignity but also tell the world what she was facing at the hands of such sic men, all in the course time of doing her job.
We all have come across role models like such women who stand with courage and confidence to face such hardships in spite of being ill-treated, ripped off their modesty or even demoralized in a lot of ways than we may think of. It would cause a pain to your soul if you would know what it is to be ripped off your modesty and still stand and face the world with courage. My blog here is not to highlight how women face sexual assault and still come out strong but to focus on the biggest gifts a woman is blessed with and how she lives her life selflessly with great attitude and the ability to win.
Think of your mothers and grandmothers, we all have heard their hardships and struggles since childhood right from marrying a stranger whom they never met or knew to living a life of submission. There never existed any compatibility test or anytime for love to bloom back then. The patriarchal society was so dominant from over 100 years that women had no say at home nor after marriage. Every woman had to suppress her interests, feelings and even her choices to adhere to the patriarchal society’s rules. These days, I see a lot of grandmothers being very understanding in handling their grand kids. They give them freedom to do what they wish, so that the kids do not face what their grandmothers would have undergone by being so submissive in their youth life. It takes a lot of patience and calmness to let go what they love the most be it education, their favorite interests like singing or dancing just to pursue what was asked for them to and that was handling responsibilities and creating families.
In the same context of old aged women, I want to share on how last month I watched an episode of philanthropists and was moved by an old lady’s courage and determination to help the orphaned kids in India. Sindhutai Sapkal, a social worker currently aged 71 years is known as the “Mother of orphans”. Currently in Maharashtra, she has sheltered, nurtured and supported around 1400 homeless children under her parental guidance. Rewinding back to her early life, she faced a lot of hardship, right from the time she was married at the age of nine to a twenty year old man until the time she became pregnant with her third child in her twenties and was thrown out of her home by her husband. She suffered all along being homeless and pregnant, delivering her third child (a daughter) on the road and also fending for her life as she was all of twenty then. She faced such difficult times that she even wanted to commit suicide near the railway track until the time she came across a few children there, homeless and begging for food. The mother in her was shaken and she started this noble cause of sheltering, nurturing and caring for kids right from their nutritional needs to their educational needs. Like these kids, even she wanted to study and get educated but her parents never supported her and she was married off at the age of 9.
When I watched this episode I was touched by her selflessness. A woman can be so selfless that she kept her hardships aside just to give lives to the many homeless children. This moved me immensely. Her undying spirit, her beautiful smile on the wrinkled face, her humorous nature at this age inspired me in many ways. At her age, people lose focus, have no routines, would retire to relax but she was full of enthusiasm that day and her videos that I came across showed how actively involved she was in her social work with complete dedication and how she thoroughly enjoyed it.
Another selfless woman that I came across was Sudha Murthy, the founder of Infosys Foundation and the wife of Chairman and founder of Infosys company, Narayan Murthy. Though she belonged to an affluent family, that did not stop her to live her dreams nor did it make her egoistic or live a posh life with pride. Since the last 30 years, she has been very actively involved in making the lives of homeless children and devadasis (the women who are sexually ill-treated and are still currently found in some of the villages of India) worthwhile. Being the wife of the one of the biggest technological giant, she believes that we should repay to society in one way or the other during our lifetime. She has written many books sharing all her experiences, life stories, including books for children that are very heart touching. The selfless attitude of such women is worth saluting and respecting. She is still unstoppable come what may.
Coming to an ordinary woman’s day to day life – think of a lady vegetable vendor. She wakes up in the morning, fetches her supply ready for that day, travels in the bus or walks long distances with the vegetables , sits under the hot sun to bring you the vegetables you need. She sits there with her young kids who are restless and want to play but the mother has to earn for her family as well as take care of her kids. She sits in the market, on the street side throughout the day and night, having a small box of lunch, 2 cups of tea just to feed herself and her kids to keep up her energy and live for them. Think of the servant who comes to your home, she washes the dishes , sweeps and mops the house , cooks for you and your family even during the times she is pregnant or is having a bad backache or headache or her little kids to lookafter, but she is doing it to earn a living for her family. Some of these women may have abusive husbands, who come home drunk and ill-treat them but think of how much they face and yet wake up in the morning determined to make a living and earn for their children.
Such incidences make me realize that a woman can never stop come what may. She could be considered lower to man in terms of physical power or strength but no one can ever match her strength of determination of working selflessly and face challenges. The world’s notion of a woman being less in terms of physical power can be proven wrong as I have come across many cases of physical courage of women, be it riding a Royal Enfield to their favorite camping destinations (like I dream on doing this as well) to having an All women’s arm wrestling club in Delhi , India where women of all ages above 18 participate and compete in arm wrestling at various events in towns or on a national level. There are married women also who participate in these championships because they missed out on living their dreams in their early teens and twenties. All around the world there are women boxers, gym owners, cross fit trainers etc who can give anyone a good competition to face. Mary Kom, the Indian boxer is 37 years old with a family of 3 children to look after but nothing stops her to live her dream of boxing and climb up the international levels to win and bring laurels to her country and herself. Such is the power of womanhood!
A woman is a warrior in her own way. There is so much to a woman than we can ever imagine. Even a salute and a bow fall low in front of her enormous courage and her selfless nature. A woman has her own charm and beauty, she can be different in her own attitude and stature yet she can be fierce to fight all odds. She can be delicate like a flower but can be hard as a brick if anyone tries to step on and destroy the beauty of her flowery nature. She can live her life the way society draws the rules for the sake of her family and their well-being but she can also make her own path and rules to bring out the best in herself and for the welfare of her near and dear ones. She can be of any size, color, race or religion, but she never fails to bring out the beauty of her other counterparts, inspire them, support them and stand by them for all that they want to achieve. She can wear hijab and be modest by living the rules of the religion and also dress modestly in her sense of freedom and being independent by her own choice. She can kill her dreams to fulfill her parents’ wishes of getting married, yet be courageous enough to let her partner or kids live their dreams by not forcing hers on them.
She can cry the whole night out of pain, struggles, failures and worries but when she faces the world she has a beautiful smile of bliss and love that she wants to share with her loved ones. She can bear the biggest pain of bearing a new life in her and still live her life normally, travelling to work, handling household chores, feeding her family, taking care of their needs before hers and still stand strong and sleep less so that her family sleeps in peace. She can stay hungry all day, cook for the family and feed them first before eating the first bite herself. She can sacrifice her interests by keeping her near and dear ones interests first. She can have a heartbreak after losing her love and fall to depression but she can also be full of love and selfless nature when she tries to build herself back. She can be strong enough to lose her husband or child in an accident or a war and yet stand on her feet to be the breadwinner of her family. She can resort to illegal ways to earn bread for her family but also face the world with her eyes full of dignity.
She can be physically tormented, ripped off her modesty but one can never rip off her valor that she possesses to fight back. She will try to retain her dignity and still stand against all odds and wrongdoers to let the truth win. Her voice can be soothing enough to sing a lullaby for her child or sing her heart out to touch lives and also strong and harsh enough to give back to those who do wrong. Her voice can be a mode of understanding that brings a family together and also a mode of anger that can break the ones who outrage her living. So are her eyes, they can be a symbol of undying love with tears of joy and sadness yet when they are angry they can bring wrath to other’s lives. She can be married, yet playing many roles in the family and be independent and selfless. She can also be unmarried or divorced or be a single parent taking care of her family members’ needs before hers and have a courageous smile worn everyday covering all her inner fears and worries. She can spend her husband’s money to no ends yet have a box of her set of savings hidden in the cupboard to fulfill her family’s needs in the times of emergencies.
She can fail and lose her direction or dreams in life but she stands as a pillar of strength to her loved ones, her friends so that they can achieve their dreams and grow.
Society has been very heartless not giving a woman the position she deserves for being a rainbow after every storm or the sunshine after every rain. Remember, she brings a new life to the world, she spreads happiness and cheer (even when she is low by herself), she is selfless and a great leader and warrior who fights her battles (both outer and inner) to have those beautiful victorious wings shine in great ways. Remember, she can be the light that rips of the darkness of your life and also be as strong as hell, come what may. A woman is never a failure, she is a warrior in all the lovely ways :). Let the warrior in you stay strong, woman!