Women Around Me!!




It was a cold winter morning in Ambala (Haryana) … I was playing in verandah when our maid’s daughter Mamata called me for some help … she wanted me to write a letter to her husband (she was an illiterate) … I was in 2nd standard … just learnt the initial ‘Ka’, ‘Kha’ ‘Ga’ of hindi… as she was dictating the words … my little hands moved along the curves of each letter … the only words that got etched in my memory were “Aap wapas aa jao… nahi tou mai zeher kha lungi” (Please come back otherwise I will consume poison)… little did I know the impact of such words … days moved on … time passed by… my dad got transferred to Guwahati … years later I came to know that she was married off to a sweeper in Army who got posted to Chandigarh… he had remarried there and was having a family … a long battle ensued in courts and Mamata was granted a huge compensation … Her marriage photograph is still among our family album … What happened to Mamata and her husband after that remains a question for me … maybe for lifetime…

I have seen my Tunn Mahi(mother’s sister) grow with me … from a lovely confident maiden to a lovely , more confident housemaker/ mother/ business ‘handler ‘… she’s no hip-technocrazy metro’ite’ … but a simple lady leading a simple life with simple needs … but the way she takes charge of her home, the vast rice fields, the workers, the family business, her daughter - is nothing near to simple… she has earned a place in her locality … is respected and paid heed to …. her ever-present wit, courage and confidence has always impressed me… Last time when I went home, I watched her shuttling between home ,school and their business… playing each role perfectly …nurturing the dreams sown for her daughter …

We shifted to Jorhat(my hometown) in late 1990’s … not used to the ‘civil’ lifestyle and Dad being transferred to Agra… Mom was having hard time managing us … the three military Brats … we were in dire requirement of a maid… then entered ‘Borma’ (aunty, our maid) into our life and into home … she has been helping Mom ever since … having lost her husband she was the sole source of bread to her family… working in other households also she managed to pay the school fees of her children … sometimes her youngest daughter Patoli used to assist her … latest I have heard is her eldest son got a job … her eldest daughter was fighting for the custody of her child … Patoli ran away with a Rikshaw puller and is happy … (couldn’t visualize that little girl in frock adorning a saree) … now-a-days she simply visit us for chat or tea … her children don’t let her work … she is still the same except now the grey hair are more prominent …

In my four years of engineering I have seen shy quiet girls develop into survival-of-the-fittest kind of women… Mallika is the only child of her parents … still keeping her under the protective glaze they won’t allow her to study or work outside Assam … She wanted to pursue studies in Arts and Painting … but since that won’t bring the green notes so settled for engineering… she’s studying MBA now (in Assam)…. I had always marveled at the way she perceived things … unique, different… something that makes you ponder over situation … she is still my advisor … (advising me on things that can’t be discussed with parents ) …the confidence with which Kalpita speaks of her aims and goals … her knack of handling situations with maturity and wisdom … then the sensibility of Alolika … sometimes people are bestowed with intellect… understanding … beyond their age … they are women of substance in making … writing their own success stories …

The world around me has shown me vivid faces of women … some succumbing to destiny , some trying to change its course … each one have their own tale of success, failure , smiles and tears … The story continues… till the last miles of life …

**didnt write about Mom - she's not the women around me … she's the women inside 'me'

2 comments:

  1. What a lovely narration about women around you. You are right. Women come in fascinating hues. I have been equally intrigued by the courage and grit of some and the patience and resilience of many others.

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  2. A touching narration of diverse and richly-layered life-experiences of women around you. Totally intrigued by the way you paint their pictures with your words. Those ellipses in the narration speak so much through their own silences and continuities. Lovely post!

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