Being a woman is a privilege.
A privilege to create lives, nurture homes, spread love, share smiles, control tears, feed souls – an endless list. A privilege to do it all with an immense amount of strength laced with a layer of softness.
A woman is a feminine spirit encompassed in a myriad of personalities that emerge from time to time in various contexts. A woman can be charming yet strong, pretty yet professional, graceful yet a go-getter, sensitive yet tough, ravishing yet raring. Juxtaposed with so many attributes, a woman has it all within her.
Yet the irony is – a) most women are not aware of this, and b) in spite of such a rich repertoire, life is tough ride for us women.
More so in today’s times where we women not only run our households, but also run teams, companies or conglomerates. Very Stressful. Yet, immensely liberating.
While the earlier part of our lives goes in chasing our dreams and working towards getting our foothold, the subsequent phase entails a newer experience. This is to be handled alone, stepping out of a cocooned setup. Be it as a working woman or a home maker. With or without kids. It is one and the same for all across the society.
Why do we do it? Because most of us want to win. It is embedded in our DNA.
We are hardwired quite differently from our counterparts. The difference comes only in the way we handle what is thrown at us. Challenges, issues, problems, they come in all shapes and sizes for everyone. But we women inherently ensure that we give them a good fight. Our life teaches us to do that.
Ironically, those are the times when we feel lonely. A fight that has to be fought alone. A life that has to be lived alone. We realise it is a lonely world where you invariably do not have anyone who understands you, although you are surrounded by hordes of people. Your mother, father, siblings, husband, children – all around you, but you tend to feel as if none can connect to your heart and its feelings.
So what do you do then? Give in? Resign yourselves to fate? Get frustrated? Or handle it practically?
Last week, I met a recently retired banker whom I have always admired for her great social and managerial skills at the bank. I had made friends with her when she was posted at the branch in my area. During the rare occasions that I would physically visit the branch – I have always found her to be pleasing yet stern manager who was a clear stickler for rules. Not only that, what appealed to me was her special focus towards senior citizens. More so, since my neighbourhood is an old locality of Bengaluru having quite a few elders living alone.
During our conversation, she mentioned that she retired about a year ago and had visited both her children living abroad and recently come back. And before I could say anything further, she added – I am not planning to go and stay with them. I smiled inwardly, must be a rhetoric question that is constantly asked, hence she blurted out the answer lest I ask the same!
When I appreciated her decision for choosing her independence, I was stunned to find that the decision was not really out of choice. Rather, it was out of compulsion. Her children could not fit her into their busy lives. And I could see that she did not have the confidence to do it alone. At the risk of sounding a tad too personal, I tried pointing out to her the host of benefits of living alone. But a brooding, sad and depressed mind is usually closed and unable to see any light at the end of the tunnel.
While I was searching for the dynamic leader of the branch in this forlorn lady in front of me, I could only wish and pray that she finds some good amount of confidence and not live in despair.
And, that set me thinking. Why do we women have to associate ourselves to something? Why do we have to be linked by kith and kin – father, husband or through our professions – lawyer, teacher, doctor etc. And when that connection crumbles, why do we lose it all? We retire from our jobs. We lose our partners. Our kids step out and make their own worlds. And we become lonely. Why?
Why should a woman not be known by her individuality? More importantly, why does a woman not recognise her own strength?
(This piece was first published by YourStory on 10 Jan 2017 titled as Woman – Dynamic or Forlorn)