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We have all met a woman who left a lasting impression in our hearts. She could be your mother, sister, friend or aunt. Read on to know in whom the author met her bold and beautiful lady.
Most of the people I know call her Dadi. Clad in a comfortable cotton saree, her energetic gait and alertness is hard to miss. Initially, as the wife of her grandson, I was a bit wary of her and tried to be as much out of her way as possible being almost certain she’d want a typical daughter-in-law behavior from me and would watch my every move with piercing, judgmental eyes.
In retrospect I am certain this impression of hers had nothing to do with her as person and had everything to do with the stereotypical notions that we come across everyday about mothers-in-law and I was another victim of that mass mom-in-law scare that girls get at the time of their wedding. Although this impression of hers did last for a few months, as I gradually found my groove in the new family, my encounters with her increased, making me less cautious and to my own surprise, after a while I started enjoying her company.
There was something about her that made it very easy for me to connect with her. She being 76 and myself being 24 was never an issue. I distinctly remember an incident when Dadi along with my mother-in-law took me out for shopping. They took me to a store and asked me to choose clothes for myself. I tried to be civil and started looking for decent clothes when to my astonishment I saw Dadi enthusiastically picking up all latest backless tops and bringing them to me for my approval. Baffled, I stared at her for a while and then quickly and a bit reluctantly with a huge smile dived into a shopping frenzy.
I tried to be civil and started looking for decent clothes when to my astonishment I saw Dadi enthusiastically picking up all latest backless tops and bringing them to me for my approval.
In the course of time, a number of such incidences occurred, putting me completely at ease around her. I began chatting to her about random things and she kept surprising me with her answers and views and her good English vocabulary. Yet another surprise came when she told me that she had been an English teacher in a Government school and was a B. Ed when most girls those days were not even ‘tenth pass’. Sensing my surprise, she told me about her life.
She was an Indian housewife and mother of two till the age of 29 and happy being a homemaker when suddenly, her husband died shortly after he was diagnosed with an illness. His death was sudden and left her shattered. She had never been financially independent and had no idea how she’d make things work for herself and her two children. She did have the support of her husband’s family including his brothers but it was her mother-in-law who advised her to stand on her own feet telling her financial independence was a must.
Dadi then started studying further and worked her way up and finally landed herself a job in a government school as an English teacher. She used to cycle her way to the school each day managing her job, her children and their education. She worked all her life and did an excellent job of bringing up her children in such a way that made them both successful in their fields.
Listening to her life story made me wonder. There was so much more to her than being a woman who was at all times looking after every member of the house. Getting up in the morning and praying, making sure things are kept in their proper places, cooking the mustard fish that is her speciality and on birthdays suddenly fetching a surprise gift from her kitty; her story made me think about the woman she is. About the challenges, the hardships she faced, the determination she possessed.
Suddenly I was no longer interested in Dadi. I was interested in the woman that she is.
She is traditional, yet her ideas are unconventional. She has seen life and has much more practical wisdom than I would ever have, she has beaten the odds and survived. She is independent and guards her independence fiercely. Life has thrown challenges at her every now and then and she has successfully moved ahead taking one step at a time. She has lived her life in the truest sense and has evolved as a complete woman. Suddenly I was no longer interested in Dadi. I was interested in the woman that she is. It was then that I asked and she replied. Her name is Geetika.
Image of two people holding hands via Shutterstock
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