Society has always put women on a pedestal- called them the reverend goddess and by doing this it has caused far greater harm than good. A woman is always considered the epitome of sacrifice, the ultimate purpose of her life is becoming a mother and then dedicating her entire life for the well being and prosperity of her kids and family. Do we realize how flawed this definition is?
No wonder women are judged for their choice of not having kids, choosing to pursue their passion, work, spend time with their friends. “There’s a special place in hell for women who don’t stand for each other”- Said Sheryl Sandberg the COO of Facebook. Thinking of it , it’s women who often pull each other down – by judging a mom who comes late after a long day at work( funny the dad is admired for the same trait), or the well qualified mom who chooses to stay at home and be with her kids is ridiculed for her choice. There is no end to it. As a mom I have had my own battles to fight – my inspiration in this journey has been my mom – as I call her “the Iron Lady“who unflinchingly stands by me.
My grandmother is another lady who inspires me to not give up, however disillusioned you feel- dress up and show up! Apart from being blessed by the presence of these strong women in my life who never fail to inspire me – I would like to talk about a few others who I met in the journey of life and how they made a mark on me
1) Maushi – she is my maid, in her mid 60’s, a typical maharashtrian bai who sweeps and mops the house, she has been with us for a year from the time we moved to Pune. She complains of knee pain and back pain and we tell her why do you work , that too this kind of strenuous work at this age – walking almost 5 kms in the scorching heat, washing utensils, mopping houses, massage and bathing babies . She has 2 young sons and DIL’s whom she lives with. No they do not ill treat her. “I want to be independent and accumulate some money as long as my body permits me to”,she gives a toothless smile. She inspires me – age is not a barrier and financial independence is important in whatever way you choose. Respect Maushi .
2) R’s mum: My mom runs at day care at home/ a small one to take care of kids so that she can be occupied and my daughter gets company too. Little R who is 4 comes here on weekdays. Her mom works in an IT company. A young lady barely in her mid 20’s and R says my mom is my best friend. R’s mom is a single mom. We learnt recently that she had split up with her hubby when R was just 2. Her parents live in a different city. All she has now here is R. A young lady, braving all odds, bringing up her daughter single handed. That too in a society we know is so skeptical and judgmental of single moms. Kudos you you R’s mom and the likes of you for showing me that a mother can stand tall and strong and give her child everything, yes I mean the universe.
3) Vaishali Kasturi is a name in finance – you can’t fail to miss. She is one of the few who has not just broken but shattered the glass ceiling into bits. A partner with Deloitte- one of the big 4 consulting firms and former MD with investment bank Goldman Sachs , she is a marathon runner, a terrific speaker and passionate about helping women in their career. All this while she is a mom. Vaishali is an inspiration to me as she shows me that dreams can be fulfilled, yes it’s just s glass ceiling , hold a hammer and smash it. Looking at her I know I can be passionate about something and nurture it. The best thing is with all this I do not cease to be a good Mom.
4) Kanika G who is a physicist by qualification, a brilliant lady which is very evident if you read her blogs and converse with her. She chose to stay at home to raise her little girls, at the same time nurture her passion of writing books for children and blogs on issues she is passionate about. She is an inspiration for having the courage and conviction of following an unconventional path, daring to follow her heart , take a risk and above all being truly contended with her choices.
5) There this lady in her mid 30’s- the nerdy types. Gold medalist at school, rank holder in CA exams, ambitious, strives to be the best at whatever she does. Not everyone likes her for she is not that typical chatty type, who is out to please people. She speaks her mind. Who likes a woman holding up a hand in a meeting and telling you ” one minute- let me finish what I am saying, you can talk after that” imagine a woman doing that! She s unapologetic about being career oriented , yes I want to know “if I am getting that promotion?”She asks directly. She loves shopping and eating out – her wardrobe is overflowing with clothes and there is no space for any more shoes in her shoe rack. She is an avid blogger and makes sure she writes at lest one post per week, makes time to socialize with her blogger friends online, engage in tweet chats, read and comment on her blogger friends blogs. She aspires to take her passion a step forward in the years. All this while she is a mom to a 2.5 year old girl. She is not guilty of living her dreams, taking care of herself and making time for her interests and friends. By doing this she believes she is leading by example and teaching her daughter that you have a life and identity which is all about you- not as a wife, daughter or mother. Be your favorite hun! No prizes for guessing that it’s me! At the cost of bragging , I will say that I believe I am an inspiration to myself. I have my bad days , get into that dark corner, cry in the shower, come out and apply my favorite eye shadow and eye liner, put on my favorite Dorothy Perkins dress, smile at myself and march out of the house my head held high.
Inspiration comes in many forms – it need not always be the loud , over the board dramatic heroism act but sometimes its that small but firm voice which chooses to take an unconventional stand and be unapologetic about it. That’s the one which inspires me the most!