In this lovely story of a woman coming into her own, there are many queens, but no prince waiting in the wings to anoint them.
Women in our society are mostly known by the middle names or surnames of the men in their lives, and so, someone is a Mrs. Sinha, Miss Chopra or Ms. Bhatt. In fact it’s even considered disrespectful to call out women by their first names after a point in life.
Later on, children define identities when someone becomes known as a Rahul’s mom or an Aryan’s grandmother. That’s how women wear their identity, when tagged by family names, successful partners and family members but the fact remains, ‘Is this how women wanted it to be?’
Strangely, men feel no such threat and their transition from master to mister is smooth, steady and seamless with no loss of identity or name change. Men have the privileges of retaining their dignity by birth; they don’t have to earn it like women, who need to establish themselves while making their journey from Miss to Mrs an earth shaking experience.
Mrs. Renu Nair, wife of a decorated army Major Ram Nair
Mrs. Kavya Nair, wife of Gulf resident professional Pradeep Nair who belonged to an established noble family
…and Mrs. Priya Nair, wife of good for nothing Arun Nair…
made an incongruous trio.
Renu derived her importance from her husband’s career record of wartime exploits, Kavya had married well into an affluent family of blue blood and Priya was the odd one out who found it difficult to register an identity, having no powerful surname or middle name to boast of.
Priya’s husband Arun was the proverbial grasshopper and never a believer in hard work. He zoomed around the town on his motorbike gifted by the father-in-law (among other things included in the gift list were a house at Whitfield and 100 sovereigns of gold jewellery.)
Arun lived off multiple credit cards, pawned the jewellery and made several borrowings. However, he was full of self importance and of the opinion that running his home was the responsibility of Priya’s parents. Priya’s father had provided for her difficult times by dipping into his own savings, but the more he did, the more demanding Arun Nair became, and Priya felt this had to change.
While Renu Nair and her labrador made an impressive appearance along with her moustache twirling Major, with both children settled abroad the achievement only doubled. Kavya had married well, with a successful man on her side and blue bloodline. All of it only made Priya feel like a mongrel, being counted among them with nothing worthwhile by way of fame, success or blood lines. Yet, being a plucky woman she knew she needed to make a beginning somewhere and was not willing to get bogged down because of a stupid Arun Nair.
The women had become friends at the garden bench, sharing stories from their lives. Renu and Kavya knew of Priya’s struggle to pay the society maintenance dues, school fees and household expenses, but also knew Priya as a wonderful cook having had her cater at their house parties. Renu and Kavya often nudged Priya to take up catering as a business venture, but Priya wasn’t ready for something that big as yet.
However, as luck would have it, her friends spread the good word about her food. Kavya helped her create the menu and website for the business and Renu got her the initial clientele being a popular member at the local club and so was born, Priya Tiffins & Foodz.
Priya did what she loved best cooking with her soul – her idli-dosa-vada, appam, stew, curries, chutneys, pickles and spices powders for idli-podi, sambar, pulavs and payasams fetched rave reviews and became popular among friends, neighbours and working women and soon, it was a thriving business.
Priya had many happy moments – people called up to thank her for the hearty meals or compliment her food and women asked her for tips, tricks or recipes. Her next big moment came when she filed her income tax returns and rolled out her visiting card as Priya Tiffins & Foodz at the local club’s felicitation for ‘entrepreneur of the year’, where the bouquets and photo-ops made her feel no less than a celebrity.
Priya felt proud and validated when her daughters introduced her at school meets as “my mom, a businesswoman”. The moment of reckoning came when she was able to return the money that her father had provided her from his retirement Gratuity and Provident Fund for hard times.
Priya was all gratitude for Renu and Kavya for their thoughtfulness and unstinting support that made her transit from a Mrs Arun Nair to Ms Priya, Proprietor, Priya Tiffins & Foodz.
Some sisters are born of another mother…brought together by care and empathy creating an everlasting bond.
All stories are not fairy tales…you don’t need a prince to make you feel like a queen.
You don’t have to be lucky either, like Cinderella, all it takes is the right amount of determination and perseverance to make your dreams REAL.
Image credits: Canva
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