Tag Archive | women

A spark that changes lives

Shalini started sweeping the house. It was past 11 and Kamala, her maid was not to be seen. ‘It is the limit’, she thought to herself, ‘this is the tenth day in this month that she has taken leave. I will pay her dues and ask her to leave’.

Just then Kamala entered. She had covered her head with her sari pallu. ‘Oh, so her husband beat her again, but no, today no sympathies’, she thought and said out aloud, ‘Kamalamma, Wait a second, I will pay your dues, you need not work here anymore’.

‘Amma, don’t say like that, where will I go?’, cried Kamala

‘No Kamala, I am fed up of waiting for you and then doing the job myself’, said Shalini.

And then she saw, Kamala’s eyelids were swollen and her left eye could not be seen at all, ‘That animal beat you again’, said she referring to Kamala’s husband.

‘Why don’t you leave him. Why do you have to take his oppression?’, said she.

‘Where will  go Amma?’, said Kamala and what will happen to my girls.

‘You can come and stay here’, said Shalini.

‘Here? and what about master’, said Kamala

Shalini thought for a while. Mukesh was a very narrow-minded person. He was afraid of society and ‘what will people say’. All these years she had tried hard to change him, but had failed miserably. So what could she do?

And then she remembered meeting a young lady, Kalyani in a local bus once who worked for an NGO. She had told that their NGO worked for women abused in marriages.

‘Wait’, she said to Kamala and ran to the place where she kept all her visiting cards. Out of that bundle she took out Kalyani’s phone number and called her.

In half an hour Kalyani was there with her team. they took Kamala with them to the police station and lodged a complaint against Kamala’s husband. Later they went to Kamala’s house and took her children with them and took all to their office. In no time, Kamala was staying in a house belonging to a well wisher of the NGO.

Shalini liked the work done by the NGO. And she often visited their place. Kalyani invited her to help the uneducated women and their children and she gladly took that offer.

‘Where are you going every day’, it was Mukesh who had come in early one day.

Shalini took a deep breath. Knowing his nature, Shalini had never told him of what she was doing and where she was going. But the time had come now.

She told him

Are you mad. Why do you have to meddle with other people’s lives? You take care of yourself, isn’t that enough?’, said he.

‘What is wrong in helping others? As it is I am free in the afternoon’, said she.

‘No, from tomorrow, you are not going anywhere’, he declared.

Shalini for the first time in their thirty years of marital life boldly got up and declared, ‘No, I like going there and I will go. See I have not ignored doing my duty, so I suppose you should not worry’.

Mukesh looked at her with blazing eyes.

It was some days later that while chatting to Shikha on Skype, she noticed that her eyes were red.

Shikha was her daughter, an engineer who was now married and lived in the US.

‘What happened Shikha, aren’t you well?’, she asked.

‘No ma, I am fine’, she said and then added’ Alright ma, I will log off now, have to go to office’.

Shalini was not at peace, she sensed something was wrong. And so she called up when she knew that Shikha would be in office.

Shikha just kept on brushing off her inquiries.

‘Look Shikha, I am your mother, I know something is wrong. Look girl you are an educated girl. Yes you have to respect your husband and his family, you have to take care fo them. but if they hurt you, you don’t have to suffer silently. You have your education to support you and then we are there, aren’t we’

In addition she told about Kamala.

‘Ma, you really did that, I mean didn’t dad say anything’. said Shikha.

Shalini looked up. Mukesh was glaring at her. Obviously he was angry at her advice to Shikha.

‘Shikha one has to stand up on one’s feet and do what is right. Sometimes you are pushed because you allow yourself to be pushed’, she said and then after sometime disconnected the call.

‘Very nice advise you are giving to your daughter. Instead of asking her to follow what her husband and in-laws say, you are asking her to revolt’, said Mukesh.

‘No, I am not doing anything of that sort. I just asked her to stand up for herself’, and then she walked away.

‘And what will happen if she walks out of the marriage. what will people say?’, he screamed.

‘We will think of that if such a situation arises, why worry now?’, said she.

Mukesn looked on with surprise at his wife who till recently had been very docile.

 Some days later

Mukesh and Shalini had been out for shopping and he had been surprised when they had met a bunch of women who had surrounded Shalini. It seems she was teaching them on afternoons and their respect and awe for her surprised him. He was shocked to see how she spoke to them with confidence. Her inner strength shone through her words.

The phone was ringing when they stepped inside the house.

Shalini picked it up, it was Shikha.

‘Ma where have you been, even your mobile was inaccessible’, said Shikha.

‘Oh that, we were in the Mall maybe no signal there’, said Shalini.

They talked on for sometime. Shikha was happy. Neither of them mentioned about the conversation they had had sometime back

Mukesh was hovering around. ‘What happened?, is she ok’.

‘Yes, she is’, said Shalini.

‘She didn’t complain? I thought she had called to say that she was leaving her husband’, said he.

‘A lot many problems can be solved if you are submissively assertive and do not take any nonsense’, said Shalini.

Mukesh looked on in surprise.

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It is the 7th and last day of Festival of Words at Writetribe. The prompt for today: International Women’s Day, inspiring changeiwd_square

 

 

The smell of sustenance

Insulted, beaten, cursed I withdraw to my dark corner. There seems to be no respite to my bad luck, fortune still does not seem to bless me with either a knight in shining Armour or a wonderful job somewhere far.

From my limited possessions I take out ‘Emma’ by Jane Austen. A copy which was rescued from the neighbors garbage.  I open it up and take a deep breath. The smell of the old book invigorates me. I open it and start reading it yet again. Till the time I find an escape, I escape to the world of Emma.

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Fiction in 100 words written for Writetribe Wednesday. This time the prompt was the smell of old books. I have adapted the prompt to The smell of the old book. Hope it is acceptable.

Write Tribe

Some of us have the comfort of having a career or giving it a miss.Some have the luxury of a home where in our views are respected
While some still have to struggle for an existence

Regressive??

Frankly I did not know the meaning of the word Regressive. The meaning given in Oxford Dictionary is ‘moving backwards’. If by using the word regressive we mean that we are going back in time, going back to the Vedic times. Then wow what joy.

If you are one of those who have lifted their eyebrows and mumbled a ‘huh’, then let me proceed to make it easier for you.

In the vedic times there were varnas and there were ashramas.

Varnas; Brahmanas ( imparting knowledge), Kshatriyas (protection), Vaishyas (traders) and Shudras (helping everyone). And no the varna system was not passed on i.e. it was not hereditary. A Brahman’s son could become a shudra. As Krishna says in the Bhagvad Gita ‘catur-varnyam maya srstam guna-karma-vibhagasah’. The four divisions were based on a person’s guna and karma.

Ashramas – Every person from his birth to death went through four stages – Brahmacharya (student) stage, Grhastha (householder),  Vannprastha (gradual ‘dis’ attachment for family life), Sannyasa (quest of spirituality). If a brahmachari felt that he was not fit for family life and he would rather go in for spiritual quest, he was allowed to migrate directly to the Sannyasa stage.

Now you may ask where does a woman figure in this picture.

Women were at the center of this whole social structure.

The very first thing a girl was taught was to milk the cows. ( Du huti- milking of cows; that is how the English word daughter was coined). You may smirk and say see girls were made to do such silly and menial stuff. But then remember those days farming was pivotal and so was tending of cows. Each house had at least two cows. Milk and it by products were never bought. Neither did people buy vegetables, it was tended at home.

Girls were taught yes. No they were not sent to gurukul but taught at home. And their subjects were more comprehensive than what we learn today. (FYI Sita was a sociologist, Satyabhama had learned military warfare).

BUT the prime job of a woman was to look after her home. A home she ruled with iron hands and a job in which no man dare interfere..

Yes she covered herself fully Why?? Because in Vedic times a person’s aim of life was spiritual quest. You may say what is the relation of dress and spiritual quest. Well I leave it for your discretion with just a hint. How many of you go to a religious place in tight-fitting/ short clothes. Don’t most of us go traditional when we go to the temple/ gurdwara etc ??

The roles of a man were divided finely. A man looked at outside chores. A woman was the queen of the inside world. There was no trespassing.

The grhasthas had the responsibilities of looking at all the other three varnas and it were the women who saw that the society ran smoothly. Women saw to it that all had enough to eat, enough to wear and a place to sleep.

So if women had this much freedom in a regressive society. Pray tell me what is progressive.

But then if regressive really means going back in time then I do not mind being regressive.

 

Pining for a bag-less existence

As far as I remember I have always carried a bag. Either the school bag, college bag, the trendy ones which I used to take for work, the evening bags; the clutches, the totes….I have been in love with bags. At a point of time my sister used to joke that I would have to make a wardrobe for my bags.

And my bags were special too. No, I don’t mean that they were one of a kind but they held a lot. If we were going for a ride or a picnic, those with me were quite content if I was traveling with them. I mean there was no cause of worry because Reema’s bag had it all for any emergency. Crocin, tissues, sandwiches , you name it and it had it all. No doubt my bags wore out very easily too.

But now my bags have become the real hand bag-handybag since I turned a mommy. As a new mom it had pampers, cream, etc. With passing time it has both versatility and weight. Yes weight, sometimes I bend at 45 degrees at the weight. For now I carry biscuits, wafers, water, tissue, wallet, comb, coloring book, crayon , diary, panadol , mobile etc. If anyone does snatch my bag, the person will be lost in the contents of my tote.

I envy the men who can put their wallet in one pocket, mobile in the other and go whistling in the wind without a worry about tissues or biscuits.

I do sometimes try not to carry my tote. But then once the prince wanted something to eat  and the other time my CPR (ID) was needed and both the times I was asked,’Why didn’t you carry your tote?’

See my bag is so indispensable 😦 😀