Friday, January 30, 2015

…And She Stands with Her “AND”

Hers was not a familiar face in the neighbourhood when she arrived with her one-year-old boy. On her first look she resembled a face from a Shakespearean tragedy; frail, docile and naïve.

At a tender age she saw too much—husband’s corpse, in-law’s refusal , parents’ denial, society’s negligence and well wishers’ sympathy; while all that she needed was only a few opportunities and someone to trust her abilities.

Life is not about the opportunities one is blessed with but the choices one makes in the gravest adversities. A widow and a mother she was when came now turned into someone to write about.

She spent years in earning her “AND”—an epitome of a transformation that breaks all shackles of social prejudices in a gender biased society like ours.

She knew how difficult the journey would be, yet she continued with her modesty and audacity. Alone she stood defying all sacrosanct codes of conduct that had relegated women since the moment first rule was written ignoring our Vedic social structure where women shared the same kiosk with their male counterparts.

Over the years she became a vital health supplement to a healing society that had been suffering from the pestilence of dominating its women.

She never compromised neither did she complain; all that she did was to prepare her solemnly for better days. Each day she lived seeing how close she would be tomorrow to her dreams.

By sacrificing desires and limiting demands she denounced all that could distract her from her determination. Working in a super market as a cashier she managed a child and her dream to be a state civil servant officer.

Last time I went home after ten years and saw her; draped in a purple saree she was going to office. A car with a red light on its hood was waiting outside. Before she got inside she looked at me and smiled. It took me some time to react.

It was not because I could not recognise her but I was not prepared to see her that way. And instantly I new she earned it—her dream, her pride and most importantly her dignity. Things have changed and people have transformed but her modesty still reflects in her smile.

Later I heard that her son is now working in a bank and looking for a suitable match.

Years ago I looked at her with pity and now with pride.

My writing career brought me near many women of great virtues and every time I mingled with them each one asked me how different they are and if anytime I would write about them to which I replied, “It’s not about how different you are but what difference you made in your life.”

But now when I am writing I am doing so for the one who never even knows that I write and would never ask me this.

Yet I do not know her name. She is only an “AND”—yes that’s what she is!

This post is a part of #UseYourAnd activity at BlogAdda in association with Gillette Venus“.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

“AND” Thy Name is Women

She is what makes her what she is—a poet’s imagination, someone’s inspiration, a man’s obsession AND God’s most beautiful creation.

She is enigmatic, energetic, efficient AND sometimes she is even elusive. She is a reason of someone’s smile, somebody’s ecstasy AND everyone’s fantasy.

Sacrifice is in her genes, sharing is what she is known for, forgiveness she learns while in the womb, AND yet quiet when underneath the tomb.

She knows to cry without tearing, she knows to bleed inside without letting blood come out; it is she who whispers the love spell in your ears, she is the one to hold your hand when rest of the world turns away its face.

She is more than a life—she is a concept we all are affiliated to.

A father’s bundle of joy, a mother’s pride, a brother’s first company, a sister’s friend, a husband’s trust AND a child’s most dependable shepherd.

She is wise but not without her wits, a leader but no tyrant, wild but not without her senses—she is an “AND”.

An “AND” to take a stand, to make us all understand.

She is a woodcutter’s force, an artist’s canvass, a beggar’s assurance, a child’s trust AND a man’s strength—without her every man turns half a man.

Intelligent AND desperate, curious AND caring, rational AND romantic, sensuous AND sensational; she stopped long ago to exist without an identity; now that she is an “AND”, she is more beautiful AND powerful, more carefree AND careful, more subtle yet undeniable.

She is progressive, pragmatic, prolific AND yet she is a woman out of all prejudices; now she dwells in our hearts, rules our thoughts AND guides our actions.

Sometimes she is a Virgin Merry AND a Mother Teresa, somewhere a Margaret Thatcher AND a Malala, sometimes my wife Manali AND sometimes she is Maleka—our house maid.

It can’t but be Godliness when I see how a mother of two manages her office after managing a husband so demanding still finds time to take her son to the football club after work with a smile. 

AND I bow before thee—Manali.

Every morning Maleka walks in with an air of submission to her fate; you won’t be more wrong if you take her for so.
I see my maid how she greets everyday challenges in each household; every one of these households is a different story she has to deal with every morning.

AND yet she remarkably strikes a chord of harmony in her work. AND without reflecting the slightest of trace of any detestation in her face, she leaves for her home not earlier than five in the evening and reaches home at nine. Feeding a family of six with her meagre income she does not forget to smile—a smile that hides her pathos and reflects her potential, self-respect, AND her resolution to excel in life.

“I too dream,” says Maleka to my wife.

AND she dreams to merry her daughter to a rich boy. Every month she saves half of her salary which my wife deposits in Maleka’s bank account.

She believes life is made up of such little happiness; every Raksha Bandhan she ties a knot around my wrist and denies a little money I offer. I don’t force, perhaps it would offend the “AND” within her; perhaps she is better off this way—happy, less demanding from life AND more committed.

These two women are from different strata of society yet they are so alike in being “AND”s—dedicated, loving, caring, dutiful, sincere AND in short women. Whenever I look into the eyes of these women around me I can only think about

Two almond shaped eyes flickered
with the radiance of courage and brevity,
sometimes blink for a moment.
Moistened with the perplexity of her past, her tears
bless an invigorating spirit and she lives at last.
I’ve seen those eyes and its dreams
all through my life. The glittering pearls
hidden in the deepest of her heart,
Tells me a tale creeping in her mind;
A deserted heart with a dejected soul
With no hope and no fear, struggles
every moment with despair and yet
defying defeat against destiny, she decides
to reflect an image so strong and vibrant
to live a life full of commitment.

“This post is a part of #UseYourAnd activity at BlogAdda in association with Gillette Venus“.