A Woman


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I spent a long while trying to dramatize the title but nothing seemed right so I let it be, after all what can be more dramatic or animated than a woman! An adult female human, the woman is a creature that elicits interest in one and all. There is a certain unpredictability in this creation of God; a certain madness, that intrigues both men and women alike!

A Woman is described in so many ways and has so many synonyms, some that flatter her and others that are insensitive and rude. Yet, nothing can truly capture the essence of a woman. She is an enigma not only to those of the opposite sex but to herself as well. She is made up of so many contradictions, a smattering of indecisiveness, a little more than a tad bit of self consciousness, more than a few insecurities and self doubt about her many perceived imperfections, pride, ego which she readily hides to cater to a man’s inflated one, immense love for her own especially her young and a tremendous amount of strength that perhaps she herself isn’t aware of. And yet, this is such a sketchy description! There is so much more to her.  


I have had the good fortune to mother a boy and a girl. It goes back to that very stage. Boys are simple, very simple lovely bundles of joy. They are demanding in a sweet sort of way; they let you do anything with them and despite all the naughtiness (remember “frogs and snails and puppy dogs tails, that’s what little boys are made of”) they listen, they obey, they don’t sulk or brood for too long. Now take your little girl. That lovely innocent face would melt anyone. The calm angelic being undergoes a transformation by the time she is two, her personality waiting to make its presence felt. She wants everything, she will sulk if she doesn’t get it and she will have tears at a drop of a hat paralyzing you and your efforts at disciplining her. All demanding, seldom obeying- every bit the rebel she wants to be. They are as different as chalk and cheese.

Then the society, through parents first then teachers and peers, comes in. The girls start stifling some of their natural rebelliousness, tend to clip their boisterous side and look towards domesticating themselves like their mothers. Naturally, too, most of them have a nurturing bent of mind. They would love to mother their own fathers, mothers or siblings if they could. They try it on their dolls or on their pets. They may still make your life miserable with their dress sense, hair styles and continuous demands plus they are by now also adept in becoming tell tales (along with punishment suggestions) and little Miss. Gossips! They are aware of things around them and far more practical than their brothers, who cannot find their socks or glasses or anything at all; who are lost cases and have blank looks on their faces and grow up to be those blank faced husbands which most of us wives are aware of!!

As teenagers, the boys are pretty much the same except for facial hair, monosyllabic answers, expressionless faces that they have perfected by now with an occasional irritant air, if goaded, followed by short barks if absolutely essential. The girl is now set to be a diva, the studious lot has an ambition already; the rest just want to be famous stars overnight. They are articulate, more often than not vociferous; confident even though some are quiet; sharper awareness and an increasing amount of intuitiveness.

In college, the young ladies have blossomed into carefree, charming butterflies. I mean all- even though some of us may find some more charming than others, the fact is that each one of them have reached that lovely stage of being in full bloom- their adulthood. They are self conscious, mature (far more than their male counterparts) and are more receptive of ideas- more wisdom oriented than knowledge oriented. I am in no way suggesting they are less knowledgeable or less skillful than their male counterparts but emphasizing that wisdom comes to them sooner.

Whatever I say about girls and boys or men and women have exceptions and what I write isn’t the gospel truth neither is any of it researched save for my own experience as a daughter, sister, friend, professional, lover, wife and mother- as a woman! It is just my opinion all through my 44 years -how I see women and what I feel when I do. Immense affection, a whole lot of admiration, empathy and intrigue; even though I am one, my kind never fails to impress me.

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We come across so many people in our lives and some of the most colourful people in my life have been women. While I have had many a skirmish with women at different levels, when I detach myself and think of each one I am amused. Some fill me with laughter by their immaturity and childishness though they come across as bitchy (for want of another word) and shrew like while interacting, others just stun me with their simplicity and naivet√©! The one young lady that comes to my mind is twenty three year old Rajini, who worked as our domestic help for two months of which she didn’t turn up for twenty five full days and fifteen half days. She had the brightest, happiest face and dressed immaculately in beautiful sarees which she seldom repeated and it was an effort to stay angry with her, which was an absolute necessity, for if you smiled, she’d bunk the following day. She had absolutely no sense of time either! One day after waiting for nearly forty minutes past her usual time, I called her and I could hear a coughing, ailing voice say that she was horribly unwell and couldn’t make it to work. I don’t know what came upon me (a woman after all) but I said, “I just saw you earlier today” and I couldn’t believe my ears when she said “Oh okay then I’ll be there in ten minutes”!!!!! When she came up after ten minutes, I started laughing asking her why she acted so she tried to cough but it wouldn’t come so she pretended to struggle with the language and then got down to work. My daughter used to love her for all the funny things we caught her doing! Well, that’s just one story. 

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Have you ever stopped to observe a woman without her noticing you? (She’d be self conscious if she got the slightest whiff of it.) There is so much going on in that mind of hers and so much of it visible on her face and so much more she’s taken great pains to hide. She is adept in the art of camouflage- when it comes to what she is feeling on the inside vis-√†-vis what she shows on the outside. If  you happened to reach a married friend’s house unannounced and if you happened to walk in when they have just finished a fight, you won’t find a trace of it on her face (unless she wants you to know) but it will be written all over his. We have just been taught to smile and hide our pain, either as a lesson or as something we observe as we grow up. 
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When I am travelling, I notice women from all walks of life, dressed in a million different ways and my heart goes out to them. No we are not all innocent- we can be devious, drama queens, hard as nails, stubborn as hell, unreasonable with great aplomb, terrible on the roads, messed up in our directions as well as our calculations and yet, we are a great lot. We have survived for years being oppressed but we still have a soft side; we are fighters and have a never say die attitude despite our hormones and everything else. We ought to celebrate ourselves for being these unique madhouses. Mihaela Noroc, a Romanian photographer has taken this a step further by bringing about her picture book “The Atlas of Beauty” which unites women the world over.

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One thing is universal, all a woman wants is to be loved and more importantly respected by those who mean something to her. She wants to feel wanted; wants to know that what she says is being listened to with attentiveness; she wants complete acceptance and trust from those who mean the most to her. A woman is a sincere and committed worker and can scale great heights with the tremendous potential she holds. When we get the “first woman whatever” everyone screams on top of their voice and makes us feel special as though this was one oddity that managed. That is so far from the truth. There are many of us who do a great deal in all walks of life and we just need to be included in mainstream and our achievement is to be celebrated like anybody else’ would be, nothing spectacular with a show of surprise. Women being great are not a one off thing, it is as normal as a man achieving the same. Instead of going berserk over every achievement give more and more opportunities to those who are interested.
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If ever I would like to change anything in a woman it would be how she regards another woman. Actually, I’d like to change this portrayal that women cannot coexist amicably. TV shows, soaps or reality, all thrive on the concept that women are their worst enemies. I know it is not true naturally but it is so accepted (am sure men are behind this!!) that people look in wonder if a woman stands by another. Men have used this divide and rule policy and we readily seem to accept this as the universal truth.

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Daughters-in-law and mothers-in-law do not have to be at each other’s throats. My mother has always painted a beautiful picture of her own and has always asked me to treat mine with respect. Secondly, this animosity that we have towards the “other woman” is senseless. She doesn’t owe you a thing. If your husband/partner has cheated on you, he is to be blamed, for you have invested in him, your compromises have been for him and if he cheats, he is solely responsible and not her for you haven’t done a fig for her.
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I recently read a beautiful book by Nadia Hashimi “A House Without Windows” which is woven around Zeba, who is sent to prison for murdering her husband. While the tale is poignant what touched me was the fact that women stood by one another in face of adversity. It is true that no one can understand a woman like another. Yet, in day to day life, we seem to bicker about one another instead of egging each other on to greater heights. Somewhere our insecurity or under confidence in our own abilities make us rely on the man and turn us against our own kind.

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Times are changing. I have been fortunate and blessed to have a very strong woman support system beginning with my mother, who is one of the strongest women I know, to friends, teachers, course mates, mother-in-law, sisters-in-law, nieces, aunts, cousins, more friends (some whom I am yet to meet), domestic helps and last but not the least, my own daughter, who have given me strength when I needed it the most. 

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Credits: pinterest.com
Men, intelligent and wise men, have supported women’s causes in the past making us a formidable force today. Even in our daily lives, we are grateful for the men in it- our fathers, brothers, friends, husbands and sons and celebrating women has nothing to do with bringing men down. We all have our righteous place on the planet. In fact, we ought to learn from men the art of sticking up for our buddies. That will truly liberate us.


Comments

  1. Yet again you've nailed it! More power to you

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    1. Thank you dodo d...look at you egging me on always...forever grateful :)

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  2. Very true.... We lack respect for each other.. But am sure times are changing... Women are strong.. I keep telling ppl that a woman on a mission is the toughest... Happy womens day!!!

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  3. Women are very strong....and if we think of doing something then nobody can stop us.Enjoyed reading it... Happy Women's Day

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    1. You are an example of the same Priya :) Thank you :)

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  4. Nice one dear lovely women!!!

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