A question on Quora turned my childhood dream of becoming a writer into reality. The question was, “How does it feel to be a woman?”
Being a woman, my immediate response was, “It sucks!!!”
Before I could type the answer, the doorbell rang. I opened the door and all of sudden, my opinion changed. I felt like writing more about it.
What is the big deal about being a woman? Over one trillion people are born with two X-chromosomes. We mostly have the same capabilities as our counterparts. Maybe once in a while, we have to deal with blackmail on social media where our morphed photos are circulated or sometimes, we have to deal with a few troublemakers teasing us on the street.
We have to stay calm and composed when someone rubs against our private parts in public transport. And a few unfortunate women like me have to become victims of an acid attack.
As women, we hope that things get better after our teenage years. Unfortunately, things only get worse with age.
After getting a job, we may feel independent but that feeling does not last long because we have to deal with a new animal called ‘marriage’. Our parents offer a huge dowry and get us married to a good-looking guy who is well to do and well-educated assuming that he is the ideal match for their daughter.
They force their daughter and if she tries to resist, an emotional drama ensues with the obvious result of the parents winning the game.
So, assuming that this guy is a perfect match, we are married to a stranger and are often moved to another town or sometimes country. The backdrop for the perfect crime is set. This so-called stranger turned husband starts torturing us, restricting us from dressing up as we like, not allowing us to socialize or even speak to our male friends.
And if you are as unlucky as me, you may also have to bear the pain of being whipped. Bearing all this drama, you are expected to talk to your parents every day. This is when you acquire the imaginative skill of storytelling.
Whenever I’d talk to my mom, I’d make sure that she got no hint of anything that was happening to me.
I would just try to prove is that I was very happy with my stranger and their decision for me was absolutely correct. I’d gather all my courage to act normal while talking to her. But moms have an innate ability to catch the slightest variation in our voice, which is followed by rapid-fire questions that are unable to answer. This storytelling continued for three years after our marriage.
It took three patient years to bring change in my husband.
He became a different person; I was allowed to work, wear what I wished etc. Moreover, he truly loved and valued me. I didn’t have to make up a story to tell my mom. At one point, my life was perfectly sorted, personally and professionally.
I was a proud daughter and a happy wife.
But as always, things unfold in an unanticipated manner. Somehow, life is always unfair to women. One fine morning, I received a call from my mom’s mobile. I answered the call only to hear the news that she passed away due to cardiac arrest. She had earlier survived two cardiac arrests but I was never told about them.
No mother would like to share her suffering with her children. After all, she is a woman blessed with the gift of hiding her pain.
After this devastating incident, it took me almost a year to get back to my normal life. My husband wholeheartedly supported and cared for me during that phase. These are the little moments every woman craves from her husband; not the lavish gifts but calling us every now and then, texting to check if we have taken our medicine, cooking for us and so on.
To cheer me up, my husband booked tickets for a T20 match between India and Pakistan. He knew that my mother and I loved watching cricket. Moreover, the match was being held at the same stadium where we had previously watched a cricket match with my mom. Unfortunately, India lost the match and my husband was so sad that his attempt to cheer up me clearly failed.
In yet another attempt, we planned to eat kulfi (ice cream) before returning home. The shop was about to close, so my husband drove a little faster and that turned out to be a dangerous drive that cost me two transverse fractures on the neck, whiplash, temporary vocal cord paralysis and my husband’s life.
Coming back to the present, I opened the door and saw Ram (My 3-year-old son) who had just returned from playschool.
The biggest and most delightful feeling for a woman (undoubtedly for me) is becoming a mother.
After my husband’s death, I adopted Ram when he was 10 months old. I have no words to describe the feeling of being a mother. Even his smallest action is priceless. I can’t forget the moment when Ram called me “Amma” (‘Mother’ in my native language) for the first time. Your child doesn’t need to buy you previous gifts. After a hard day at work, just seeing him running towards you washes away all your pain.
You forget the harassment, the acid attack, the pain of being whipped, injuries of the accident, loss of your loved ones, and start appreciating your life to the fullest.
So, to all the ladies out there, wait for such precious moments in your life. The moments may vary but I promise it'll be worth the wait.
Above all, be the 'heroine' of your life and not the 'victim'!