As women propagating feminism we often say that misogyny and the deep set patriarchal beliefs of our society act as a roadblock in our progress. We usually blame it on the men. But look closely and you will find women are equally guilty- in fact I would say more- for not supporting their own kin.
In my personal and professional journey I have come across different kind of women- some who stood by me unabatedly and made me believe in myself when I thought I had lost it all. There were also those who discouraged me, mocked me and the worst lot were the backstabbers. But as they say each one teaches you a lesson and in hindsight you are always thankful to have met the good and bad ones. The good ones leave with you memories and the bad ones with lessons. Both are vital.
I have always spoken about the strong women in my family – my mom and grand mom and their unflinching support throughout. Today I want to take time to thank these 5 women who are not tied to me by blood but in ways big and small they have helped me tide through life, difficult situations, heart breaks, career setbacks and getting to office in a foreign country when you are stranded without change!
So here is my list in no particular order:
Nidhi – I met Nidhi less than a year back when I joined a new company. She is an Indian who is born and brought up in London. In a candid one on one chat, she took me by surprise. I was amazed to see a woman who is assertive, has a clear vision of what she wants in her life and does not shy away from asking her due. In the corporate world where we struggle with finding our foothold as women and see the ever dwindling population of women in senior positions- people like her come as a breath of fresh air and hope. I was always hesitant to talk about moving up the ladder to the next level, I thought I am new to the organization, I should take time, prove myself but she showed me a new picture. While doing those things is necessary it’s also important to be vocal about your goals and aspirations and lay down the path to achieve it and networking is key. I find myself not shying away from talking about this now and thanks to her I see myself in a new light now.
Kritika – I started blogging around 2 years back and it has opened up a whole new world of friends for me. Among my friends in the virtual world, Kritika remains someone whom I can relate to more closely and who has always encouraged me – even those times when I felt I had told my best stories but they just disappeared in the virtual world like a whiff. When I told her I was disappointed that I do not get enough votes for some of these voting kind of contests probably because my social circle is so limited, but that’s just me. She told me something which will stick to me for life-Your talent lies in your writing ability and that’s something no one can take away from you., you may or may not get that coveted award, may or may not get the trending title but end of day it’s all about the joy of telling our stories from our heart that matter.
Telsa– Telsa and I met when I was working in my previous company – she worked in Legal and I in Finance, there was nothing common except that we shared a cab. 1.5 hours in the maddening Bangalore traffic and the funny part is we remained strangers for close to 9 months. We did not speak to each other which is quite common for people travelling to work in Bangalore. We met occasionally and that could be a reason. I was carrying that time. And then one fine day when I was back to work after maternity leave she asked me about the baby and that’s when we started and what a joy that 1.5 hours of ride back home used to be after that. I was not happy with my job, I wasn’t getting recognized and that was eating away at me, disturbing my mental peace but I wasn’t able to take a decision as I had limited options in the city and my baby was small. She too had similar issues , had been in the organization for 10 years and we started sharing our woes and found solace in listening to each other and looking at the brighter side of life. Life was about to change, I took the plunge finally and decided I will move ahead and took up a new job in Pune, She followed suit by picking up one in Mumbai. I will always remember her as someone who listened to me in my bad days, gave me hope and taught me about the power of God and love
Lavanya– We were and are very close friends- 2 CA’s who were working in the world’s top Investment bank but what I will always be thankful to her is when I was going through a weak phase in my personal life, she helped me dust that scraped knee, stand up and run again. She showed me that my life was not dependent on any man who backed out from a relationship, I cannot be judging my worthiness and ruin my life crying over him. This one’s for that one girl friend who helped me get over heart ache and showed me how to dance in the rain
The stranger in Zurich– Sometimes you are thankful not for the big things but the small things that a stranger did but helped you in a big way when you were stuck in the wilderness. I was on a business trip to Zurich in Nov and I had just landed in the morning and had to find my way to the office. Sleep deprived, jet lagged, braving the cold and without internet, I set off bravely. How tough can this be? You do not have the privilege of taking cabs in a country like Switzerland and I found out I need to take a tram to the main train station. I had 100 Swiss franc and no change. I tried my AMEX at the ticketing machine but it wouldn’t work. I need just 2.68 Swiss franc and though I bought some cookies I couldn’t get enough change. There is no concept of conductor issuing tickets there, you have got to buy it from the vending machine and the penalty for ticketless travel is huge. I broke into a sweat and then is when an unknown young lady who was also a tourist there offered to buy my ticket. It was a blessing in disguise and though I never met her again, I am thankful to a woman who helped another in need.
As woman it’s important we stand by each other and provide the much needed support in whatever way we can. And yes don’t forget the note of thanks, a hug, and a kiss for those women who helped you in life.
Here’s to the above and all the women who helped me in life- a heartfelt thanks!