Whose empowerment?

Yesterday my status on a social media app was:

“Empowered Women, Empower Women”, much heard that it has lost whatever little meaning it really had.

And rightly so, my friend buzzed me – this is never gonna happen, its all a sham! I quietly agreed but didn’t stop thinking.

I have been fortunate to have a fair share of women who have encouraged me and brought me out of my apprehensions, set backs and depressive phases in life. I think when we read the word Empower, we only think of some superficial sense of happiness with no problems around, whatsoever.

Will this ever happen? To anyone? irrespective of gender? No.

When I see empowerment for women, I look at it at the grass root level of existence. Right from the childhood to adolescence to adulthood and right till the end. We need encouragement at every step. Boys also need it. As much as women. But when it comes to opportunities, somehow boys have been able to grab them quicker than most girls would. Their voice is heard before women’s. Not just because of the baritone. Because of social conditioning. And hence, I believe that a woman who herself believes in her capabilities, is confident of her own progress and has a support system – which one needs to develop, doesn’t come as a gift usually – can empower others around her.

Observing my son in grade 3, there are still no biases in his mind what he and what his girl classmates can do. They compete in games and studies alike. I hope this continues to be the trend for his generation. But I already see a little grown up kids of grade 5 and above having gender biases. I was aghast when I first heard of such biased comments curtailed under humor. It disturbed me and I warned my son that the day you make fun of a girl’s capabilities, you are directing it at your mother and your beloved grandmother. I know I need to remind him this every now and then because I cannot control his peer group’s conditioning.

Let us not give up on empowering each other, it doesn’t need to be providing a source of income or education to fellow women. It is just being there, listening and bringing fellow women to a platform where they do not fear being heard. Let us try to make each other more capable of taking care of ourselves, encourage to take risks and assure that it will be alright in the end. This little empowerment will go a long way.

I will be super biased if I don’t acknowledge that I have seen such encouraging boys – my friends who have shown me my strengths which I surely undermined. I owe my little success to these wonderful group of men and women who are deep influences in my life. Not every woman needs to become a Michelle Obama or a Mother Teresa or a Sushma Swaraj. We are warriors of our own little struggles as these women are or were. Let us respect ourselves and take tiny steps towards strengthening the female population.

Thank God for women’s day extravaganza that I am thinking deeper on these lines. We all should. A demarcated day is just an excuse, nothing more.

Let us keep believing that empowerment is real and we can achieve it!

Ciao!

 

 

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Inspiring women in my life (long post!)

As we start to celebrate women’s day with week long messages, I thought of dedicating a post to the women who have inspired me throughout, even if I realized their courage a little later than I should have.

I will begin with my Grandmother. She was widowed at an early age of 36-37. Had 7 children to look after, thankfully 3 of them were 15 and above. All 4 of them took the charge of looking after the family and yet not compromising on their education in the lean financial times. In the 60’s, insurance wasn’t an instrument used as much as it is today. So even though you have gathered a million worth of good will, it wont help you look after kids and keep your head high as a widow in a conservative Indian set up.

I admire the courage, confidence and valor with which my father and his siblings were raised. The struggles surely shaped the way they see life around them and paved way for us, their second gen to have a life of comfort and a peaceful childhood that focused on education and well being. All this definitely boils down to the undying spirit of my grandmother. I cannot fathom how she must have taken up the humongous task of raising 4 girls and 3 boys in a traditional world that was then. I wish I could realise her struggles much earlier and gave her the credit she deserved. All I could see was a mother in law to my mother. But that wasn’t the best lens for a woman of my grandmother’s stature. I wish I learnt some more from her, I wish my son played a little more with his great grand mother who loved him to the core.

I am happy that atleast I realized it sooner than later and it has changed the way I look at women who have gone through such similar struggle in their lives.

Next is my mother who has stood by my father like a rock and brought us up with her own share of struggles as a daughter in law, as a woman who had to sacrifice her career for the kids, as a woman who was the earning member of her own family but had to give it all up for the requirements of the new family. I wonder how she paved her way through all of this, knowing how talented and enterprising she is. She is also a human and has her moments of doubt but overall my mom has stood by us all and that’s a lot to ask for her, but we didn’t blink an eye ever as moms are always taken for granted, including me!

I think its this unflinching strength that has given me the strength to look after my son. We have no idea what all we draw from the atmosphere we grow up in. I have taken a lot from it all and tryin to do atleast that much for my son as he is discovering the good and bad of the world around him.

Then comes my neighbors. The ladies who worked in 80’s and 90’s were far and few, atleast in India. Yes, there were teachers, but lady doctors so few. And where I grew up, ladies were mostly looking after kids as there were very few opportunities for women. No internet, no work from home, fewer schools, fewer needs.

Even though I didn’t really realise back then that of the hundreds of aunties I knew, only a handful were doctors. less than 10 out of the hundreds! When I look back, I see that they were way ahead of their times. Standing by their choice of profession, keeping kids waiting a little and not minding it – world was way safer too – and reaching the pinnacle of their career, retiring as directors in their organization. I didn’t have to go far to look for ideals. And their kids are as smart and confident as you can ask for.

Then came my own circle of friends. The girl friends who inspire you, support you and challenge you. I have been lucky to have a solid group of girl friends right from school days. We studied together and achieved the best of results in school. We all went in different directions with higher studies and yet stayed in touch with letters and phone calls. The encouragement that came with those letters, the sense of belonging was a comfort zone I longed for in a new territory as a freshman. Soon we all made our new circle of friends who added new dimensions to life.

I am so grateful to these friends who are few but they are my rocks! They make me stand up when I fall, and best is they don’t let me fall much. With a tendency to go into victim mode time and again, friends like mine are sent by God! They have managed to bring me to a point where I can stand on my own when I recall their words of wisdom. After a point in life, parents cannot be bothered with every problem and friends adopt you.

And every one comes with their own share of struggle. Life isn’t a bed of roses, I learnt it very late. Somehow I thought I could create my own life with more love and less struggle. But I guess, struggle teaches you what happiness and peace cannot. I truly value the good times now, something I might have taken for granted as I grew up. Probably.

So hats off to my girl friends for being so strong and rock solid. You are the reason I am going ahead in life now.

And then, there are women all around who have gone through typical gender biases that I thought will be ruled out as I grew up. As a kid I used to abhor the comments that made me look useful to my house only because I was a girl. I used to tell my mom, I am not doing chores because I am a girl. I am doing these because I am your child. That’s the end of it.

Well, I ended up marrying into a very traditional mindset family. they didn’t look so when I chose them. Having gone through my share of challenges I have realized that my growth and happiness lies in my own courage to step up and make a life for myself. Only I can make it better for me, with the courageous women by my side. The first thing I think of in a difficult situation is, what will my friend say for this. Am I allowed to waste my time on a thought from the bygone years? If its a no, I move on. Its so empowering.

I cannot thank my friends enough.

If you ask who are the real ideals in my life, these women are. Rest is a little tangential!

Happy Women’s Day in advance! Acknowledge the women in your life, their sorrows and their achievements alike. This is what a woman wants, IMO!

Ciao!

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Ciao ’18!

2018 is almost was.

The year gave everything one can ask for in a human year. Immense pain, grief, happiness and exhilaration! What an year to remember!

I wish I didnt have to go through the sad parts but then the better parts wouldnt look as beautiful or as deserving as they do now. I wouldn’t have come across the real faces had it not been the difficult time I was going through. Reached a few milestones, like meeting my school friend after years of planning, even after being just 8 hrs away!

Making it to an institute of immense pride and yet feeling, do I deserve it? Have i done enough to take my life in the right direction? This one question will keep on bothering me till my next achievement.

Scolding my son a little more and realising a little more that he is growing at a rate faster than I can fathom! Already 8, just about 9 years more with me and he will be off to build his own sweet world, and I will be a minuscule part of it! Well, I guess I will be content to be a minuscule part of his life, wont i be tired of worrying, scolding and loving him for all these years! That will be year 2028 or so!

Let me come back to today! I am entering 2019 at a much more positive note than I did in 2018! Thank God for all the blessings in the form of my family and friends who stood with me and didn’t let me fall. And I hope everyone has such friends who have your back, no matter what! I do feel my son should have had a sibling, but when I look at the friends I have made, I am sure he will also be fine with his friends when he doesnt have me besides him.

What has not changed as I enter the new year is my constant worry whether am a good mother or not. Hope I become better and guide him better and make him a strong individual with a heart of Gold. Not sure if these two things exist together. But I hope it does for him, and he continues to be a sweetheart!

Enough of whining and pouring my heart out here!

Wishing all my readers the best of everything in 2019, be kind and be brave! Be good to people around, you never know what battle they are fighting!

God bless!

Ciao! Happy 2019 to one and all!!

 

 

 

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My love for Castles!

The moment I see an image of a castle, I google it, go into the history and admire its pics for a little longer.

Something about castles just fascinates me and makes me stop everything else before am done with my research! Today on my windows wallpaper I saw this Neuschwanstein Castle which even inspired Walt Disney. Here is a pic I picked from world-visits.blogspot.com :

And this one from flickr.com

And this from indulgy.com

Image result for Neuschwanstein Castle Winter

Isnt it a super dreamy castle surrounded by heaven!

More like Disney princess movies filled with a fantasy world!

I leave you at that and go back to admiring the image till I actually get to visit one!

Ciao!

 

 

 

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Lego craziness!

On my son’s 6th bday we got him the Lego Medium Creative Brick, Multi Color as we were buying the singular kits of iron man or fire extinguisher or some other smaller versions for such huge prices.

This box has been a constant entertainer for me too. How I love making just about anything and impressing my son 😉 lately he is so glued to the Lego Fire Ladder Truck, Multi Color as well as Iron man and Loki set which he keeps modifying whenever he gets hold of it.

Our next target is to get the entire fire station in place and make a decent size lego city with the medium box and other kits. I used to think my son wouldn’t really get back to lego but thank goodness he loves it as much as I do!

Here is the link to both the products we love so much!

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The bets we take!

I wonder how we put our bets on certain things and events in life and that becomes the centre of our survival.

I am pursuing something these days that will totally define my future, and yes its  a bet because I don’t even know whether things will turn in my favour. The fun lies in its mysteries, in preparing for all that I want to happen and simply continuing my efforts to achieve what I want to.

I know it would be a major heartbreak if events turn upside down, but then maybe there is another plan. I hope am able to think this straight if things do turn for the worse or not my way.

When your little son is all geared up for a life you have promised to him, you bet the stakes are pretty high. So fingers crossed, I hope I write next with further hopes and not rejection. And if there is rejection, I hope I write with some optimism for something other than but equally motivating to keep going!

Swinging between hope and despair…! Well, that’s life! I am happy I have hope!

Ciao!

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Deriving Happiness

When we face a challenge in life, we are told to stay strong, come what may. Especially women have to deal with the stay strong phrase. For men, its taken for granted. But no one quantifies how much is enough! When do you give up on the strength and behave like a human.

of course dwelling on problems doesn’t help anyone, increases it on more ways than one. There should be a place where you an go and blurt out all the frustration and get back your peppy self. Sometimes we don’t want to discuss anything with anyone, sometimes we want but the one who could give an ear and a shoulder isn’t available. And sometimes, its just too much to handle with a response.

I did hear about such organizations who just listen to you, that helps subside depression.

When I read the mythical scriptures and their derivations, it surprises me how we run towards money, fame and power. Instead of moving in, we try and move out for happiness. Again, that’s easier said than done.

Even sages have domesticated for their wives and children and left it only when the responsibilities were over. They knew they have to give it all up once the children are on their own, and their focus didn’t dwindle.

DO we have such a focus. And yet, do we need such a retirement from the world when we can still contribute. Ofcourse we should continue to be the mentor, counsel and guide just like the sages did as they taught the younger family members. Well, that’s how I derive the value out of the readings. I see Bill Gates as such a modern sage. He is into philanthropy, engages the young in innovations and has decided not to serve his entire wealth on a platter.

I am sure even Bill Gates has his share of problems and worries. Still, he continues with his efforts towards a better world. This makes me believe that to really serve the country, people, society, we must continue our efforts nevertheless. Our problems are not getting over until the last day, something will always be at the back of our mind to resolve and be sad about.

As they say, choose your battles. So we must. Happiness becomes relative at every moment.

Signing off!

Well, before I do, let me share my recent reads here:

Pashu – stories about how animals are significant in Indian Mythology. Very much engaging for children.

Sita – Ramayana from her eyes, moreso how she felt throughout the journey. This isn’t all about Sita though, it tells a lot more. Its a revision of what we know and introduction to what we don’t. The latter forms a big part of my reads as I discover a lot of philosophical views that match with mine, resonate with how I would interpret situations.

Writer: Devdutt Pattnayak

The links below are for Amazon.in:

                   

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