From the multiple sales, discounts, Instagram posts and social media campaigns, you might have realised Women’s Day is around the corner, even if you are from a parallel universe. As the world chooses to appreciate and applaud women who have made a mark for themselves in a society that finds it difficult to sit up and pay attention to women, I choose to acknowledge two women who inspire me. Their works may not be known to many. Their names may not feature in a popular list or they may never receive the ‘Woman of the Year’ award. But here we go.
The first woman….she greets everyone with a smile and a sparkle in her eyes. When you meet her for the first time, you instantly connect with her. That’s how accommodating she is. Rich or poor, she blurs those lines when she interacts with the opposite person. Years ago, she started a project, taking free tuition classes for the children residing in slums a few kilometres away from her house. No big names or organisations supported her. She had only two young girls help her.
Gradually, they started talking to the mothers educating them on menstruation, maternal health and nutrition. Many women started to turn up for the sessions, wanting to take care of themselves. They began to share their family problems, of which a majority involved their drunk husbands. With continuous support, some of the men decided to give up drinking and started to earn for the family.
Ask this woman a moment that stuck with her even after a decade, she’d say, “I remember when one man fell on my feet and apologized for drinking. He said he’ll now look after his family.”
She was also involved with the local school for the visually impaired taking free classes for English. To those who don’t know, this woman is my mother who has inspired me and many others to care for people around me and make an impact, without looking for a name and fame. She has played a crucial role in joining broken-up families and giving a hopeful future to those children who couldn’t even afford to dream big.
While most of us failed to notice a visually impaired grey-haired man begging at the metro station, she felt she needed to do something. The kinder ones gave him money to buy food. But this woman decided she wouldn’t let the elderly man just live under the metro station begging for alms. She wanted to do something. She first interacted with him and realised he wished he could see again.
Running away from home at a young age, he wanted to go back as a man who could see. She enquired around about organisations that dealt with eye care for those who couldn’t afford the private hospitals. After much back and forth, she got the man’s eye surgery done. She spoke to the nearby shopkeepers who’d take care of him to ensure he took good care of his eyes. Today, he sees! And I don’t think many of her friends and family members know how instrumental she was in bringing eyesight to someone who had lost complete hope.
These women may be the average you and me. You may see them in the metro or in the market. And you may never recognise them as they quietly made an impact. But that’s okay because their rewards are from the smiles of those who’s lives have changed.
Not just this Women’s Day, but every day, look around you. You’ll find women making an impact, standing up for themselves, breaking glass ceilings and not taking ‘no’ for an answer. They’ll probably never make it to the list. But take the cue. They are here to stay, making the world a better place, one day at a time.
So, this one’s for all the women around:
A star wrapped in skin,
a unicorn walking amidst humans,
a flame ready to spread around.
Who are you, woman?