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We often dismiss someone as ‘just a mom’. This ‘ordinary woman’ too is extraordinary in the eyes of those who matter, an achiever in her own right.
I grew up hearing on every Women’s Day, tales of triumphant women from all over the world who have brought revolutions in education, economics, political, social fields, arts etc. Their lives, their achievements and their ability to dare to stand out and make a difference filled me with awe, admiration and appreciation.
I vowed to be someone like them one day as I modeled my life philosophy on them. A reccurring dream of mine was to someday get felicitated like these women and walk with my head held far above the ground and bask in the fact that it was I who did it.
Inspired by these women of substance from all walks of life, I kept on shuttling between different aspirations in my attempts to ape them. Some days I would get inspired to become a doctor, some day a mathematical genius, someday a leader or courageous social worker staging a dharna fighting for crucial issues, a scientist, an educator and even a theatre person or a celebrity. My list kept expanding each year.
As years rolled by and I introspected on my life, I realized that I was nowhere close to following these role models of mine. I had not accomplished much to be acknowledged for. My dream of becoming one of them was still distant. I was just one amongst the others or in plain striking words; I was just another ‘Commoner’.
I was no one’s role model. My achievements merely deserved a fleeting look. I had not done wonders in my professional or personal life. I had not dared to break the grounds nor ever challenged societal dictates. I followed the route of most Indian women – study, marriage, household, children. I, like most women had a rather predictable life where my only daily battles were that of striking a balance between my personal and professional lives.
Oh! I felt… I had wasted my life. Why I didn’t do something heroic? Why did I never take extra effort to make my name also figure in the shining list of achievers? Why did I settle down to be one among the crowd when I wanted to stand out so much… Why.. Why?
I discovered I did everything they did. Except for striving to excel. I studied but probably didn’t aspire that high. I did a job but never strove to scale heights, become a top achiever, and hold the reigns of the company. I bowed down to societal pressures even when I wanted to revolt from inside. My inner voice never surfaced as I adjusted to many things. There were so many opportunities where I could have become outshining, but I let these opportunities pass.
As I was analyzing my way too run-of-the-mill life, a little hand shook me up from thoughts followed by a familiar voice saying, ‘Mama, I am hungry’. It was my little son. I hurried to the kitchen feeling guilty at being absorbed in my world of contemplation and deliberations, oblivious of the worldly duties that lay forth. I hurriedly made a not-so-delectable-looking snack which he ate. As I was about to retire to my room, the little voice called again, ‘Mama you are the Best’, followed by a warm hug.
I stood in that moment for I realized then and there how extraordinary I was for someone and what I had achieved in my life. My life though followed a predictable pattern yet it had its share of triumphs, accomplishments and moments of stupendous success in what may seem to be trivial affairs to the world but not for me.
It dawned on me that every life is extraordinary in own unique essence. I understood that I had done and was still doing lot of remarkable things in my life. I may not have outperformed in my career but yet I am doing reasonably well. I have seen struggles, fought many silent and at times violent battles on my own and yet every time I have managed to stand back on my feet.
I had my share of issues with my femininity. There were instances when I had felt aghast at being a female after a train/bus journey where I had to bear lecherous eyes and inappropriate touches. At such times unlike my heroic women, I have simply vented out my sorrows and tears on my pillow feeling rather helpless and wondering how some women got a voice and courage to raise and fight such heinous instances.
But there have also been times (although very few) when I have managed to stare back at those perverts and even abuse them. At such times I have got filled with a sense of pride at what may appear to be a trivial insignificant victory but for me they have been my accomplishments.
I bask in my role as a multi tasker, something I feel I am good at doing. I also marvel at my frequent role switches where with ease within a day I accommodate myself to manifold roles I perform. At one point in the day I am on a philosophic thinking high where I facilitate learning of concrete and abstract notions in my role as an educator, the next moment when I am home I maybe doing dishes in my kitchen or quickly peeling the vegetables for the dinner.
Other moments I get into the guise of a playmate for my kid and a companion for my spouse. Sometime later I become a little girl again basking in the attention my parents shower on me. In the midst of this I am all ears for my friends and extended family.
I am a daughter, a mom, a colleague, a professional, a student, a friend, a fellow commuter, a cook, a house manager, a teacher, a dancer, all in day. I do complain often burdened by these constant roles jumps but in my heart I know I would not trade my life with anyone else’s
My life’s autobiography if written would talk of nothing extraordinary. It could easily pass off as that of all us common women there I took the road often travelled.
Yet I think I am special. I may not have done things which can be termed as milestones for my female counterparts but I have celebrated my gender. My small steps may be nowhere in comparison to giant leaps yet I take pride in them. I have silently supported the endeavors of all women who have worked an extra edge to make the world a better place for women. I have followed and applauded them.
I have made myself a complete women and by complete I don’t mean that I have been a daughter, sister, wife, mom, daughter-in-law etc., but it means that I have explored all aspects of life with their own sets of bliss and pains and I have cherished each stage and each moment.
This Women’s Day I salute myself for all the little and big things I have done as a woman. I love myself for being the way I am. So all you women out there who feel they haven’t accomplished much, just look at yourself in the mirror. You will see the person who contributes to making the world a better place to live. Now isn’t that an achievement in itself?
Image source: Indian family by Shutterstock.
I am a post doctorate in social sciences, specializing in education. An assistant professor at
“Writing to me came when I least expected it.” – Akshata Ram, Featured Author, June 2017
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