Read on how to enrich your life by purpose, i.e. to find depth and, a reason to get out of bed each morning, your own Ikigai.
Just when I thought my job in the world was over, I asked myself if I had achieved everything I wanted. I realised, I hadn’t. So I set out to do that.
While exploring some nice articles, I came across the story of a daring woman who fought all odds and fulfilled her desires in her 60s.
Hats off to her!
There could be no better example than this to question ourselves of the many thing we avoid doing due to excuses. Read the story to know why I say this.
Lakshmi Devi held her graduation degree in her hand. Her eyes were moist and her throat choked. She had been standing on the podium for the past few minutes and the cheering and clapping didn’t seem like it would die soon. Finally, the host asked everyone to hold their applause and let Lakshmi speak a few words.
She moved to the mike with some hesitation before she began speaking, “Dear friends, well technically, you all are as old as my grandchildren. But since you are my batchmates, I can call you friends, can’t I?” As the crowd answered with a loud cheer, Lakshmi smiled.
She continued, “Thank you. I never thought I would ever enter a school, let alone hold a degree! It was this far-fetched dream I had. And most you do know my story. But for those who are unaware, I’d like to tell you my small insignificant tale.
“I come from a small remote village on the Rajasthan Haryana border. In this region, girls aren’t allowed to live. And if they do live, they raised like cattle. They face discrimination at every step and it isn’t easy for any of us to come out of it. But I did. I came out of the social trap and I tried to start afresh.
“My family married me off at the age of 11. And before I could comprehend what was happening, I was pregnant with my first child. Year after year, I delivered kids and even had miscarriages. But I produced eight kids! I would work in the field like a farm animal while raising the children and looking after the house. My husband did nothing to help me.
“Then one fateful day, my life fell apart. My husband went out to drink with his friends and never returned. They had been drinking heavily and a fight broke out in the group. In a fit of rage, one of his friend’s slashed my husband’s throat. And a few days after his body was cremated, my in-laws threw my five daughters and I out of the house. They decided to keep my sons with them! I begged and cried and pleaded with them to return my kids but they did not budge!
“And there I was- on the streets with five daughters and no food, water or even a roof over our heads. I even went back to my parents, but they denied any help and said I should make peace with my in-laws. With nowhere to go, I wandered from place to place struggling for one square meal. As an illiterate lady, no one wanted to give me a job. By this time, my body was tired and my soul shattered but I refused to give up- I had my will power!
“Eventually, I got a job and I worked hard at it. I did everything I could and brought up my daughters in the best way possible. Today, they’re all well-educated and work in different fields. I am so so proud of them,” she took a pause to catch her breath as the crowd waited to hear her story.
She looked at them and continued, “After all these years, just when I thought my job in the world was over, I asked myself if I had achieved everything I wanted. And I realised, I still hadn’t. I always wanted to study, to be able to read a newspaper, to sign document and speak in front of an audience without hesitation. So now that my responsibilities were over, I decided to study.
“Initially, I thought people would make fun of me for having such dreams! Of wanting to go to school at this age. I am a grandmother now. But, my friends, when I got married or even when I delivered my first child, it wasn’t the age to do so. And with those thoughts in mind, all my fears and doubts flew out the window. Well, here I am, a graduate now, at 60!”
The moment she stopped talking, the audience was on their feet cheering and applauding the woman who decided to follow her dreams and become who she wanted- at 60.
A version of this was first published here.
Picture credits: Canva
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