Hola My Dearest Readers!
I am a learner! I seek ! I seek and i observe and i imbibe. I learn better from characters and personas, than life in general. They have a way of leaving their imprints on my heart more than any lessons ever learnt.
Hence, i’m constantly seeking Inspiration. Inspiration from Men, Women and Children around me. For i truly believe, anyone, really anyone can suddenly appear on the canvas of your life and can be the inspiration for you to draw; whatever it is you are meant to.
Well, i had been mulling since long to introduce you to few people that have been a constant source of learning for me, they have in many aspects at some or the other way touched my life at some given point.
The list is almost endless!
But as I saw the day 8th March which we all celebrate as “International Women’s Day“approaching .I thought no more procrastinating,let’s do it!
Each and every passing day as i hold my pen tight and loosen out my emotions; i experience things like never before. I am beginning to understand and value every emotion, every persona much lucidly and vividly. I get lost into the depth of my soul only to find myself much more!
I used to think and feel a lot but i have become a lot more accepting of my feelings and i’m conveying them way lot more than ever before.
So,Yes ! Now is the right time for me to convey and value what each of these WOMEN have taught me and inspired me by truly being themselves and truly believing in themselves.
This time I introduce you to four beautiful Women in my life, who may not have started any feminist movements; nor are their names to be reckoned Worldwide; yet they are Every bit of The Unsung HEROES of my life and have inspired me to be Truly, Madly, Myself!
So, This Women’s Day i make a dedication to them and many more Women for being themselvesin the knitty gritty, mundane everyday lives and yet having a “VOICE“; having the power and the sensibilities of living their lives with panache and fighting their own little battles in ways best known to them; They are Survivors; they are Winners; they are Inspirers. They have fallen many times only to get up and move on.Not only do they stand for themselves, they are a Sisterhood; they have stood for anyone and everyone they believed in; pulling up each other all along the ways of life; teaching and imparting; knowingly or unknowingly!
I salute my Women Heroes; for teaching me to Be the Voice for Self and for anyone who needs; for I marvel at their SMILES ALONG WITH THEIR SCARS; For they carry it like WARRIOR MARKS!!
For you don’t need a greater issue to stand up for; or for a World War battle to be known; or to propagate a cause; to be a Hero.
By Calling them a hero, I do not mean to resort to flattery of any sort; nor do i wish to worship and idolize them. They are various things in this little life and play many roles of a Mother; Daughter; Wife; Career woman; homemaker and what not. Some roles come easy to them and some not so easy. To err is human! They are not Devi’s but Everybit as Real and As Human as one can be; with all the attributes good; bad or better and we are not here to judge or pass verdicts! (As it is i don’t get what is on with our world; we jump at every oppurtunity to put any being into brackets; brackets of so called “saints”, or “Evils”. Why can’t we be simply human and appreciate whatever good we see in others).
We are here to celebrate their stories and in any which way they have touched my life and many others.
So, Ladies and gentlemen I bring to you my first Hero.
Her name is Pradnya Shende.
I met her around four years ago and ever since she has been an integral part of me now. A marathi girl from a small village somewhere near, Nagpur (Maharashtra), a very bright, intelligent and an ever smiling, good looking girl. She had something in her that caught my attention first…. like me, she was a dreamer, and always found reasons to be happy.
Well, we met on my second day in Karanja, Mumbai, we had shifted our house a day ago and i was sitting confused amidst tons of packed luggage, when my doorbell rang. Wondering who could it be, as I didn’t know a soul there, i opened the door and saw this beautiful tall girl of around 22/23 years of age ; impeccably dressed, and a smiling face. She had sad eyes though. I was literally taken aback, when she asked if i was looking for a domestic help. She said she needed the servant quarters urgently. There was an honesty in her smile and pain in her eyes. I at once said yes! The very next day Pradnya came to stay with us along with her little son and ailing husband.
She took care of my household and we became friends. Soon, she was my companion everywhere and her little son Krishna became my playmate and my student.
Pradnya was a 12th class dropout, financial circumstances at her home led her to leave education so that her brother could study and she gave in to get married at the age of 19! A bigger farmers home and little better off, she sought happiness in the fact that she will pursue her studies soon and support her parents too. Soon, her dreams took back seat and the immediate problems took centre stage. Her doting husband was an addict of gambling and alcohol and was wasting away all that the family had. There were debts and tensions amidst the pressure to conceive. And one day her husband had a facial paralysis attack. Suddenly, how a little girl who loved gorging on pani-puri’s, reading books and dreamt of a job, had her world, turned all topsy turvy.
She took a decision, against everyone’s will and brought her husband away from all easy and ill habits; to Mumbai. Soon she realized, life was much more difficult than she had fathomed. She once again gave up her education dream for the time being and came for a shelter to work in defence colony as a domestic help. She had to earn enough to help her husband recover and rehabilitate and any other job was out of question for the time being. Always busy in studies, she had never taken much interest in household chores but now took care of four homes in a day.
Her husband recovered and swore to lead a healthy life; took on a small job; life felt back on track and then her son was born. But happiness was short-lived for them and once again, she found herself from doors to doors when her husband had a massive heart attack. She had to keep her home afloat and her husband alive .
I offered help, she said, “didi get me more work if you want to help“. I at, that time was designing lot of fancy clothes for an upcoming wedding at home and noticed her interest and got to know she could stitch some basics. I enrolled her in a stitching class and brought her work from anywhere i could. I would buy tons of fabric, give her the designs, make her redo the work wherever she erred but she persevered and learnt and learnt. Her life was a waking work station, as she juggled between working as house help, her son, hospital and stitching; somewhere i saw the dreamy girl turn into a Woman of the world. But her smile never ceased her.
And one day it all came to a grinding halt! A wrong operation at a government hospital, her husband couldn’t survive. Here, I had brought books for her 12th class exams and she was being taken by her in laws to her village and to be remarried to her unemployed brother-in-law. I thought we both had almost given up on our dreams of a better life for her. One night i received her call, “Didi can me and Krishna come back? His final exams are approaching. And i have my stitching test too?” I was in tears and over joyed.
She came back trying to stitch her life back. Everyday the struggle to live in the same room with her hùsband’s memory; defying all decisions of remarriage; taking all the blames of a son lost; I saw her strength, determination let large. Breaking down or crying doesn’t mean you have surrendered, rather it cleanses you and rids you of your burdens and firms your to stand up and keep going.
Today, Pradnya is an independent seamstress, continues to work as househelp too, she’s saving money to do a designing course; her son is a well brought up scholarship student studying in Kendriya Vidyalay and a Karate enthusiast and yes, She’s appearing for her twelfth class exams , supports her old in-laws and her parents. And that smile is back. SHE IS EVERY BIT MY UNSUNG HERO! She taught me that how when adversity falls, you got to survive; how no work is small or big and how dreams even though sometimes need to be put on hold, one should not stop working towards them; she taught me there is no time to play the victim if you have decided to be a Warrior and HOW SHE WAS COMPLETE EVEN WITHOUT ANY MAN! SHE IS THE WOMAN OF HER HOME! She has taught me to SMILE through adversity and this too shall pass.
MY SECOND HERO WHO INSPIRED AND TOUCHED MY LIFE is RITI JAMWAL
We are what they say, “Soul Sisters ” are!
We are so Different from each Other! An exact opposite of each other!
Yet one fine day during our Plus two phase, our souls found each other.
I’m a dreamy, nerdy, full of myself; incessant chatterbox; fashionable diva; go getter; extremely social, energy explosive kind of girl who has an opinion about everything in this world. I love to plan and dream about, sometimes worry too, about future.
And She is this quiet, observant, patient; tomboyish; headstrong; rough-tough girl with her mood swings and a perfect laid back approach to life; she would always listen to her heart and gave a shit about what the world thought of her. She loved to go out, travel and have fun with friends; laughter, food and cooking are her life binge….., books repel her and outdoors are her love. She took one day at a time and never planned her life.
I wonder what struck a chord then! We never have ever professed best friend love notes; neither we are those PDA, HUGGING, KISSING TYPE GIRLFRIENDS! We are more of SISTERS, taking each other for granted, as to always have each other’s back.
Our bond grew manifolds when Once, during our twelfth board exams My Mom and my Brother met with a major accident. It was the toughest time for me as me being a very Serious student ,was not in the right frame of mind and neither was my home conducive to study at that time. More so, my both pillars from whom i drew strength were so badly wounded and i was scared for them. She, at once came home with her mom and bhai and they insisted to take me along with them to stay till exams. I had never stayed with anyone like this before,i was apprehensive but this was the best decision we made. From then on started the ritual of group studies and always staying together , either at hers or mine place. And boy , am i glad!!
One another hilarious incident that comes to my mind … it was again the time for exams , me being me; very serious about time table and syllabus and scoring ;and Riti being her laid -back chilled out self. We had major issues while prepping…. i would wake up whole night and finish studies and revisions and would force her to do so ,and She, on the other hand, would not compromise her sleep for the World ,let alone a petty exam!!She would lie down in my lap , book on her face and would make me recite lines or read points ,pretending to listen, while all the while she would be in lala land taking a cat nap!!!
We have a long standing friendship; with obviously, its ups and downs. I have not liked some of her life choices and she mine! But that’s perfectly alright! We were never together to please each other but an unsigned pact of supporting each other remains…., but hilariously we have never made up after a fight or an argument😛; we take each other so much for granted that we know for a fact, we’ll be behaving normally on the next call!
Once, in examination hall ,she finished her exam almost half an early and went outside the hall to enjoy ; i was the one who was ambitious of the two and and would keep on writing till the last minute ,the whole time in my heart i kept on wondering, what happened to Riti! Upon enquiry i found out she ,out of sheer laziness ,had not bothered to check the other side of question paper and had left an entire set of question!!But she laughed and laughed and i as always, worried for her!
This has become one of the most famous incidents among us all!She was carefree,relaxed ;chilled out and happy go lucky but always scored well and did so well for herself in life! She taught me to take it easy in life!What’s yours,no one can take it away from you!
We both have been two Strongly Opinionated Women but it was never necessary to agree on everything, we understand each other’s space and respect each other’s viewpoints.
We have had some amazing years of fun, laughter & carefree youth; those were the times everything was about Friendship and having a great time. But also, of understanding life and relations in a better perspective. Together, we have seen a lot! Life changed and we girls blossomed into Strong Independent Women with a world of our own…., yet we stand by each other or, atleast know we are there anytime and everytime to fall back on, if the need be.
I so fondly remembered the times when we were inseperables
I have a perennial love for literature and She wanted to join Belt forces. And boy! She did what she set her heart on; with her fair share of hurdles and obstacles.
She was posted far away from home but never far away enough from my life.
I remember how sudden untimely demise of her father had brought our world upside down, and how devastated everyone at home was and there She was, miles away from us in those eastern hills; coping with the news and planning a return home!
She came home and held the fort like a tigress, calming all of us down! I remember she consoled and wiped my tears instead! And till date i marvel at her strength, poise and calmness. She is Brave and She’s Strong. And in all of this, she never stopped living her life to its fullest. I’m not saying she’s perfect nor any of us is or born to be! But She Inspires!
While serving the nation, She found love in another Braveheart of our country. They married and settled down only to realise, its never really settling down with both being posted at different corners of the country.
With the birth of her daughter Arshia, A mother was born! A side of her persona which i could never fathom before, surfaced! A need to nurture and Motherhood overpowered the soldier woman in her. And i guess the time was right but the decision, definitely not easy. Yet again I witnessed a Resolve. A resolve to give up everything to raise her daughter and be a Home maker, the toughest job in the world. I can well understand the dilemmas of a mind & heart when it comes to making choices in life, as i too have rocked in the same boat. But Once, decided We move ahead smiling, never to look back and regret.
She showed me another side of Today’s Dynamic, independent powerful Woman! A warrior and a nurturer! A woman who can evolve and shape up to be whoever, her life needs her to be. That there is not a particular time for dreaming; that we can move on from one dream to another; that its never too late to change the course of life; that its okay to keep on treading new paths to try different roles; that its okay to not fit into stereotypes types or competitions, To be A woman After one’s ❤ Heart.
That life is not a Race, nor do we have to prove ourselves to anyone. We should just know Who We Are! And Be Comfortable in our Being! That life can be lived at its Best, with a laid back approach.
She’s a proud mama of a proud daughter with a Strong Head and StrongerVoice; her home and life is every bit a reflection of her and She keeps experimenting with amazing recipes and offlate, giving a lot of time to her admirable Art work of tribal paintings and what not and maybe, acting little girly and playing dress up after all! Thank Lords!
Jokes Apart! I love her for Being herself and never surrendering to the dictats of the societal pressure to look best; to follow fashion trends; or to follow all girly things that didn’t fancy her. The tomboyish look might have mellowed down on the outside but on the Inside She’s every bit of the tom boy rebel she once was! And yes she’s my Unsung Hero!
Let Me introduce you to my third Hero for today, Our’s is a new found relationship,a journey that has just begun but already i have so much respect and Awe when i look at her!
Her Name is Shalu kisan Rao Khandekar, and she chose to keep her father’s Sirname!
“Shalu Didi” as i fondly call her, She came to stay with me as a house caretaker some six months ago, even though we shifted houses, she came along with me, along with her son and daughter!
A tall, sturdy Woman with a graceful, mature and happy face. Although she’s almost nearby my age, but her demeanour exhibits a strong strength of character and the fact she has seen a lot! It feels a lifetime has passed by when she reminiscizes but in the present She laughs and and laughs and acts like a kid younger than her children.
The first day she came looking for work and i at once knew, she will be part of my life for coming years. And as we sat for our evening tea together, it felt as if i knew her from long before.
Her’s is a sordid tale of gruesome Abuse, molestation, poverty and domestic violence. Poverty stricken parents married her off at 18 and she was brought beaten mercilessly to work as a house maid by her alcoholic husband. She kept on working and kept on taking the abuse till the time her children came into being and for a time, for them. She held on till the time her husband attempted to murder her child and throw her from top floor of a building and tried kidnapping her the other time. Such was her own condition that if she had tolerated a bit more she would have succumbed to the wounds of body and agony of her heart and scars of her psyche.
She Decided! TO CHANGE HER DESTINY ! …TO BE THE CHANGE!
Coming from that conservative strata of society, she was mentally, emotionally rebuked, accuse, disowned and what not but she stood her ground! She divorced her husband and filed a case too. Of course, some really good people helped her, gave her work, shelter, support and much needed guidance. Single handedly, she raised her children, gave them good education and good life. Ofcourse, from time to time she faced and still is facing many hardships…., she’s over worked and finances are still low. Men still try to pounce like vultures upon seeing a single woman; she has been lectured often on societal morals; and how a single woman cannot live her life and be safe. She has declined some decent offers of matrimony and defying all odds has Chosen To Live Her Life Full Circle, Just The Way She Wants!! PEACEFUL, INDEPENDENT AND HAPPY!
She says she’s really proud of her one decision that day and now knows, what living a life really means! She says She has Tasted freedom! It tastes like Laughter! She’s A Survivor! She’s A Warrior Queen!
Her story is like a million others’ in our country or worldwide. Yet what inspires me is not how she stood up, but how she lives her life of dignity now!! I always hear sounds of giggles and uproarious laughter from their room. She and her children are so in tune with each other, so transparent and so close; such enthusiastic life lovers!! I am Amazed!!
I feel as if her children without understanding much at that point still understood her completely, as if they lived every moment through her pains and her crises! They are so kiddish and yet so mature; they live like three siblings together and “Shalu didi”, never feels the need of a companion. The kids always goof around and make her laugh as if they are silently making up for all the tears she has ever shed. She Inspires!! They Inspire!!
I for the first time have realised in life how inspite of having so little you can have all. How no worry is bigger than a sound sleep and Hope of a new Dawn! How one can never have enough of material wants but can have all the happiness of the World!!
How its Best to not take Life too seriously! ! And No tension in the world is worth giving up your sleep or peace for!
That however, less you have on your plate, sharing fills you up! And the less you have, the bigger your Heart becomes!
I’m loving staying with this extended family of mine and learning from them HOW TO LIVE ONE DAY AT A TIME!!!! AND NO PROBLEM IS BIGGER THAN YOUR FAITH! If my problem seems bigger to me, i should look around and say a PRAYER of THANKS!! Yes, She’s my Unsung Hero!
And Now I talk About My Ultimate Inspiration, for whom Word’s fall short and i can go on and on for another lifetime! Some say, I am her mirror reflection and i would like to believe that too!!
But i prefer calling myself Her Shadow, forever trying to walk on the life imprints she leaves, that are forever etched in my psyche and can be seen in my persona as well!!
Yes SHE’s My Mother, i call her MOM ! And Yes! She’s MY UNSUNG HERO!
And She INSPIRES ! By Simply Being SHE!
Born in a reasonably affluent household to a Warrior, Visionary Father and a saintly Mother; She shared her childhood with four other siblings. Being the second Child, she was always the one who was given duties and responsibilities, which she was always keen to fulfill. She had a penchant for taking on all the hard-works; all the duties; all the responsibilities on her shoulders; her’s and of other’s; Selflessly and tirelessly, till date.
A Post Graduate in History, an able NCC Certified Cadet; She chose to be a Police Officer at a time when it was a rarity. She chose a life of discipline, duties and dedication. And Till date is respected for her honest and devoted service to her State. A Woman in the field dominated by gender – Bias and inequality which was even otherwise, very much prevalent in society at those times. IT was not an easy feat to earn the respect and make a mark when you are thought to be of a weaker gender and discriminated against.
She stood her fort and held her ground against all corrupt malpractices that have seeped in the force. She refused to be a part of any nexus and had to undergo a lot of troubled times in her career and life in general. But all this and more, never deterred her from her vision and morals.
Personal life too moved alongside and she became the wife of an Army Officer; life doesn’t surely seemed to be easy for her. Two people from completely different belt forces set out to create a life which was by all means, not an easy feat. Creating a World ensured every bit of sacrifice from both the life partners.
Many a decision making moments came when she literally, almost, gave up on her dreams of Being a strong, independent Woman in Uniform…, but something in her, and rightfully so, now i feel…. did not let her deter and let go off her aspirations and dreams!
Motherhood came and so, the balancing of both the worlds. She was everywhere, she was needed, never once complaining. Always overworked and busy but, always smiling and determined. I never saw her having a life apart from her family, work and responsibilities and often shouted at her for taking too much load. But i guess, this is the only way she knows how to live life…. She’s a Giver! Of comfort, love and what not and She takes your miseries, worries and responsibility. I must commend my father who supported her in living the life she chose! She’s a Survivor! She survived many things in life! She’s a Warrior! For she has braved many a storms in our lives whether, accidents, controversies, job hazards, deaths in the family and what not! SHE’s One Brave Woman!
But She raised us well! She’s one tigress that raised her cubs strong. We were treated like equals and we could talk anything and share everything under sun with both of our parents. She instilled her values and her morals well in us but let us be free to choose our beliefs.Me and my brother are not the kind of kids or youngsters who could speak out what we needed but while we would be asleep , she would keep a decent amount in our pockets without us ,having to ask ; this happens till date for everything,all our needs our catered to without ever a mention.In our household we were never criticised or forced opinions on ;we were only advised and the final decision would always be ours.But that doesn’t mean we were pampered or spoilt kids ,we had our own discipline to follow. Even in college or university ,a tender age for a girl ,she kept a watchful eye to safeguard me from any trouble but i always had liberty to choose my friends without any gender-bias and they were always welcome in my home. She had immense trust and faith in me;and i valued that and shared everything with her.
Our father being posted far away most of the times; our household and all family relations depended on her! She was the constant support system of even her parents!
She’s Honour and honesty incarnate! I have never met a person who has not praised her and reminded me that i’m lucky to be born out of her. A well read woman and with so many feathers in her cap, she’s an epitome of humility, humbleness and grace incarnate! But SHE SURE KNOWS WHERE TO VOICE OUT AND STANDS BY HER DECISIONS !!
She has loved endlessly and lives graciously. She has done so much for so many whether financially, morally or emotionally that she herself never remembers and upon asking, tells me that She has received this virtue as a legacy from her mother and She passes it on to me. I hope to live by it as honestly as i can .
Sometimes though I can’t understand her gregariousness!! Inspite of knowing everything, inspite of getting what others full of malice, or ill-will do, She chooses to ignore, to accept or, even be fooled by things and people. She sits like a mute spectator and allows shallow people to teach her ways of life. Upon fighting about this, She answers, that She chooses relations over Ego.!!
She’s happily enjoying a retired life of togetherness with my father and is like a typical Mom at home, praying and till date fulfilling the needs of her children and relations.But her zest for never waste any moment and to be forever in pursuit of learning makes her learn; learning new things and Adapting with the changing times; she reads a lot; she learnt driving fully and is a net savvy proud Mom who hobnobs on social media with the likes of her daughter and daughter in-law.
But one thing remains the same;she refuses to change her simplicity and has never yielded to fancy , fashionable world of make belief. She’s never bothered about her looks or what she wears and how people perceive her ,rather She speaks out straight from the heart ,without any frills and believes in her actions!
SHE STILL IS THE WIND BENEATH MY WINGS!! And fans and feeds all my new passions and dreams with the same enthusiasm as when i used to be in nursery!!
SHE IS AND WILL ALWAYS BE THE FIRST HAND OF SUPPORT TO ANYTHING I WISH TO PURSUE ANYTIME IN LIFE!
For She taught me to dream; To make my own decisions in life;To be in competition to only Self; That not every step forward is Success and that its okay to not be good in everything BUT BE GOOD IN LIFE!
I SMILE AND SURVIVE ALL THE BATTLES OF MY LIFE! Coz I HAVE HER !!
I’m Proud to be my Parents Child and grateful that every step of my life has been my Choice; That I have A VOICE, that get’s heard and that every step I have taken in my Life Has been my own….., AND I LOOK BACK AT LIFE, WITH ABSOLUTELY NO REGRETS AT ALL!!
That’s How WOMEN Shapes up life of others…. BY LIVING THEIRS OF THEIR OWN ACCORD!
So, these were a few of many Women that have touched my life in some ways or other. I hope to get a chance to introduce you to others sometime soon.
All i can say is How, Whom, When do we get to honour the women or men in our lives!! Is there a measure,?! We usually get to honour someone when he or she does something as massive or great that can be reckoned by the world.
I get it ! Its not possible to honour everyone on such a higher scale but i can atleast in my own small way, the best known to me, can atleast honor some Women up close and in personal life about whom the world may never know. This is my way of saying thankyou. THANKYOU FOR BEING YOURSELVES AND TOUCHING MY LIFE THE WAY YOU DID!
I wrote about four women each so distinct and different from the other. Each of them had a story; each were beset with decisions and choices, they rose up to or against. YET THEY ALL HAD SOMETHING IN COMMON…… A VOICE, A STRONG VOICE…. that sure knows where to make itself heard. A ZEST FOR LIFE! A LIFE TO BE LIVED IN HONOUR AND ON OWN TERMS! Each had choices she made, each one had her perspective of life on which she made decisions. We can’t judge the decisions or compare the decisions of one person from the other; we all have perceptions; we all dream; we are all beset with life changing decisions and we decide to the best of our capabilities.What is best for me, may not be for you. But we need to know that, know that well. And of all, atleast we women should not judge each other! For we don’t know what all it takes to be a woman you see. But We Must Remember, Every time we fall, We need to rise up from the ashes like a Phoenix and become a Warrior Queen , the Hero of our own Destiny!
Ending on a Happy Note of Wishing Each one of You “A Happy WOMANHOOD“!! Keep inspiring, be in love with who you Are!!
💋Much love XOXO !
chao for now!! From Vashi /That Pashmina Girl💁♀️