Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Women

It has always been nice to receive a 'Happy Women's day' wish on this day, the 8th of March. Never stopped wondering why declare a special day for Women, given that the world would not exist without women.

Reminded of one song in one of the Women's day celebrations :

Lately I've been wondering whatever could we do, if we hadn't any women in the world..
Every blessed fellow would be looking very blue, if we hadn't any women in the world..

True.. the world will cease to exist without womenfolk.

There have been umpteen write-ups, forwards, poems, and stories on the various achievements and capabilities of women. We have all known, seen, heard, read, and probably realized too.

I had one such realization recently. I was on a train to Mumbai from Chennai. I love train travels for the reading, the chips and snacks, the window seat and the beautiful scenic views that sweep past you in a bearable speed that makes the train travel totally worth every minute.. And most importantly trains give you scope for observing people and people interest me definitely.

I started off with the Danielle Steel I had in my hand. I picked up the book because it was voluminous enough to be giving me company throughout the 24 hour journey of which 16 hours actually count. I looked around to see that everyone around me was a woman. It was a nice feeling. Two of them were college graduates working towards their placements, one was a grand mother of two but didnt look old for her age and the other was a doctorate holder. The remaining seats were free. After thirty minutes of reading, I put away the book and looked around.

As if it were a coincidence, my friend, the doctorate holder ( she told me later) looked up from her Agatha Christie. I have not read many of Agatha Christie, so just out of curiosity asked if it was an interesting book. My idea was to note the name and pick it up at the store later sometime. She said, 'I like these kind of stories'. And I didn't know what kind, but with my basic knowledge of books, I knew it was a nice mystery. I love mysteries too. So, that was the starting point of the discussion.

All I remember is this conversation that started off our journey of thoughts.. I was lost in my own world for a while and after a while, slowly the whole clan of women in the compartment started talking. Topics just came up and we became engaged in a nice conversation. I didnt fail to notice a thin line of 'something was just not right' on my friend's face. Yet, you can't ask much, can you? I intended to be a nice traveller companion, so I preferred to leave it aside and continue our conversations on jobs, career, places, weather, travel and many more. For dinner, we shared food that we all had brought along. It has been quite a while since I had this kind of a friendly group of co-passengers. It was a nice feeling. I didn't think of my book at all that day.

After a game of Antakshari ( a game of songs threaded in sequence, based on the last syllable of the previous song) in three different languages - Tamil, Telugu and Hindi, we decided to retire off for the day. I dont sleep like a log usually when I travel, so I did get a chance to notice that my friend was not feeling very peaceful. I just hoped that all was well with her. Somehow, for someone whom I did not quite know well, I felt that she needed prayers.

The next day, the girls and the old lady got off at Pune junction,three hours ahead of us. At some point, I noticed the tear waiting to get out of my friend's eyes. I just touched her hand slightly and the tears rolled off.

After she told me some of what is going on in her mind about life's practical issues that one and all would face at some point of time, and the pressing need to take decisions, and the emergency of visiting her bed-ridden mother immediately after the present trip to Mumbai, I realized that only some women like her can keep their calm, when all around them demands their attention. She just cannot rule out anything that is going on in her mind. Her situations had me locked in silence as I sat shocked and surprised all at once.

It was very surprising to know that a lady with so much going on in her head had been able to adjust with the environment around and was nice enough to participate in a game of Antakshari with a group of youngsters.

A lot to learn from her that day for us youngsters:

1. Whatever it is, you must face it.
2. What lies ahead, you dont know, but you surely know the moment now. So be there. [ That's what she did - played Antakshari with us and conversed on generic subjects with us all.]
3. There is so much to go, so also, so much has gone by. You'll see through this as well.

These were the messages I learnt from her.

I was not particularly thinking about anything serious, but then I was not exactly sure I understood the idea of moving away from your family. There were so many people giving farewells in the station when we left, and I just could not take the idea of moving far away from our near and dear. And we keep making new relatives and friends and keep moving close and away from them. When the train started from Chennai there was a vague feeling that 'Something was just not clear' about the idea of why we need to move away as often as we do, from our close folks... When the train reached Mumbai and when my friend said her 'bye' to me, I knew the answer.

There is a norm of life for women. They must light up the places they get to be in.

It can be home, a train, a school playground, a college dormitory, a marriage relationship, a market or just about anywhere. They have the ability to light up someone's life and be fruitful to others. Everyone has the ability to be of some use to others, but then women are beings brought to this world just for that noble cause. She can be everywhere, everytime, and is capable of giving her consistent best to everything she does.

This lady I met, has so much running in her head, all of which has to do with her role for her folks and there was never a mention of her 'self' anywhere!!!!!

Figured out that, per the norm of life, a woman makes life complete for all around her in various roles - Mother, Sister, Friend, Wife, Daughter. Each of these roles need different abilities and all women have it. How many of us exercise it to the best of our self, is yet to be analyzed, but then a woman surely has them all.

I am not sure if I will get to meet her again, but then surely would want to let her know my thoughts about our travel together. I chose to write about my realizations on this day and wish her and a lot of women like her - young and old - a very Happy Women's day.

[For women who are so capable, one day is not enough, but at least a day to appreciate womanhood makes complete sense, I believe. Else, they don't take time for themselves at at all - to appreciate themselves - after the initial phase of make-up and playful times in life.]

Let's just cherish the idea of being a woman, inspite of all the challenges womanhood has to offer us. They are there, for us to know what we can be, if we handle them all well. All men who read this, take a minute to smile. That's the best appreciation to all the women in your life - past, present, and future.

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