A story of love, loss and second chances by Nikita Singh, releasing this Valentine’s Day.
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While living in Indonesia, the author was awed by the fierce and resilient Indonesian women. She talks about three things which we all should imbibe from these strong women.
It is 5:00 am in the morning and there is a knock on the door. It’s Wati, the maid, right on time like always, to start the day’s work, before everyone in the house even wakes up to get ready to work. Dressed like a super model with matching shoes and bag, she looked ready to take on the world today. Trying to control the yawn that threatened to escape me, I glanced at myself in the mirror. I sure needed some styling tips from my domestic help. I made a mental note to ask her about it.
Wati had a daughter and I often wondered, how she ensured to finish her house work, get ready to be looking fabulous and coming right on time to help us do our house work. “What time do you wake up?” was a question I asked her often. To which she always said “early enough” and that she did not put in any effort to look great. I remember how often I would google translate adjectives to tell her in bahasa, how fabulous she looked.
It’s been a month, since I moved back to India from Jakarta, Indonesia, a country, I never expected to be this much in love with. “Dear Indonesia, I miss you”- I can’t stop thinking about you, nor the fierce, resilient Indonesian women like Wati. Here are three things we ought to learn from Indonesian women.
Trust me, till date I feel my maid in Indonesia looked a lot better than I do. I mean, if someone came home, they sure would think that I am the maid of the house. I adore this trait of ‘looking fabulous always’ which Indonesian women have. To bring groceries or even to go for a stroll, they are always dressed well. As someone said, you look good, you feel good. Look good for no one else, but for you.
I usually had my client meetings either in the co-working spaces in Jakarta or in a café at a mall. The elegant, fabulously dressed professional women inspired me to always make an effort to dress well and look good for the meeting. I feel in many ways, my meeting went well because I felt confident. I dressed for myself to boost that confidence. It works.
I sometimes think about that determination reflecting in their faces, that empowered me in ways I did not expect. The writers, journalists, business women looked like warriors, who fought everyday battles against sexism, patriarchy and made a mark in this world. Aren’t we fighting battles too? Why not look great doing it?
During a conversation with my neighbour, who has 3 kids and 2 grandchildren, Ibu (Mother in Bahasa Indonesia) said, “I have one more daughter to marry and after that am off to travel the world!” I could not but stare at her in awe. Here she was turning 65 and recovering from her knee surgery, but instead of whining about old age, she was planning her world trip, mind you, after completing her responsibilities. How often do we meet people, who don’t think they are ever too old to fulfill their dreams?
Another instance I want to quote is of Yuli Ismartono, who is 70+ and started her own publication AsiaViews – a platform that compiles news, editorials, opinions from around the world about Asia and ASEAN countries, bringing it all together in one place. Ibu Yuli is a journalist with over 40 years of experience and is also a certified diver. Her energies are contagious and her zeal to do things put me to shame.
At an age of 30, I whine at being tired and here she is, young and fabulous in 70’s. Indonesian women look fabulous at all ages, more so they live their life at every age.
Indonesian women are a force of nature, who take care of their families, their career and in no way ignore themselves. I must say, there is so much for each one of us to learn from theses fearless ladies. I would be surprised to see new mothers shopping at the malls with their 3 month old kids. As far as I remember, Indian mothers are forced to stay home mostly, until the kid turns 6-8 months old. I have even met mothers who travel with their kids, with not a qualm of worry. Why should you stop experiencing or living life like you did, just because you had a kid.
Ever so often, even to this age, it is considered that when women have kids, their employability reduces. In every country, women are constantly judged for not taking care of their children first and being too career oriented. It came as a welcome surprise to know, how diligently Indonesian women went back to work post giving birth to kids. In all the mothers I met, there was never a constant guilt factor of being a working mom. They were proud to be able to contribute to home and more so for not putting a stop to their career.
Be free, be independent. It sure will influence who your kid will become.
No matter the country we are in, women are constantly struggling to be heard, to be seen and to be given opportunities. It is us who need to take the reins, take inspiration from each other and take what we want. We, Indian women have our strengths that women from other diversities can learn and vice versa.
Indonesian women are strong, determined and live life to the fullest. There is definitely a lot to learn from our sisters from another country, right?
Image Source: Pexels
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A dreamer, in love with books and travel. 🙂 A feminist who wishes there are more
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