When my world was falling apart, I only had one person by my side who taught me that women aren’t women’s biggest enemies!
“A woman was wronged, left to die alone,
The others gossiped and gnawed at her bones.”
‘A woman’s greatest enemy is a woman.’ While this saying is often repeated, no one knows where it originated from. It is still taken as gospel truth and used liberally whenever a woman wrongs another.
I also faced several women like these in my life. Women, who for the sake of satisfying their personal jealousy and grudges, would work overtime to plot and plan, to dig and dig deeper for me to fall and suffer. And I also started believing in this statement until I met her.
I still remember how it was when my world was falling apart. When I had no idea about the whereabouts of my husband and what he was doing. Or when I would stumble upon evidence after evidence of his betrayal but had no clue what to do.
My life was a mess and I was afraid to involve family for I could not bear to see my parents in constant pain. To add to my woes, I had just moved to a strange town and had no social life to fall upon for solace and distraction.
It was during such an ordeal that I met Mrs D. She lived next door. Tall, thin, soft-spoken and extremely humble. She was always dressed in the simple yet traditional Indian way and her beauty radiated subtly and outshone everyone. I feel it was her nature that enhanced her beauty and made it even more prominent.
Although she was just about a year older than me, she always gave me the vibes of an elder sister. I remember the first time she kept her hand on my head when I narrated my woes to her. It felt as if it was my own mother’s touch. I knew right at that moment that I could trust her and slowly, I opened up in front of her. All my pain, my tears came flooding out but she was there to stop them from consuming me, from drowning me.
The organisation my husband worked for is highly prestigious and is one of the most respected organisation in our country. Apart from the duty, there is a lot of socializing that happens within the campus. The nightlife is especially very active with get-together, bonfires etc.
Until our marital conflict was hidden within the four walls of my house, my social life was abuzz. No matter where my husband was posted, I was always busy in the happening parties. The wines and the barbecues were pretty common. However, the day the world found out about my matrimonial disputes, my front lawn was deserted.
All those ‘gentlemen’ who addressed me as ‘ma’am; were nowhere to be seen. And all the friends and acquaintances I made through this journey were all gone. All the women who would compliment me on my sarees were staying away and happily gossiping about my shattered life.
I was left all alone but she remained. Her presence felt like a light at the end of a long and dark tunnel. She played many roles in my life over the next few months. When I was crying, she would come to me and give me comfort like a caring mother. And when my kitchen ran dry, she made sure that I ate properly three times a day. Like a strict elder sister, she would drag me out of the bed and take me for a walk to change my mood.
I still remember the day I received the legal notice from my husband informing me of his decision to divorce me. My hands were trembling while reading the letter. In that huge bungalow, I was all alone with a piece of paper that was hammering me with its words. At that moment, the first person that came to my mind was Mrs D. I was inconsolable when she came and just held my hand. If not for her, I don’t think I could have survived that night.
To be honest, I survived all those months because of her. In stark contrast with the other ladies, she tried and understood my pain. While the others had fun at the expense of my trauma and indulged in whispers, she helped me gain strength silently.
I regained the health I had lost thanks to her care and affection. Like other women in that vast campus, she too could have kept to herself and indulged in gossip but her nature did not allow her. At the end she was no longer just Mrs D to me, she was a mother, a sister and a trustworthy friend, all rolled into one person.
She was like an angel sent to hear my pain and give me solace. That was all I needed at that point of time for I had almost resigned to my fate. She nursed my wounds with her caring touch and provided me with hope and strength.
All I needed at my lowest point was someone I could speak to. Someone who wouldn’t judge me or give me unsolicited advice. Just some who would just listen and allow me to vent out without any fear. And she listened.
It was because of her that I could express and declutter my mind. She helped me think clearly and plan my future course of action. You see, sometimes you don’t need to advise someone regarding what to do. All you need to do is listen.
Today, I am at ease having fought back against my oppressors. I am free of constant abuse and neglect. And whenever I look back at those dark days, I see her as the sun that shone brightly even on the darkest night.
A woman’s greatest enemy is a woman they say. Well, I disagree because for me she was my greatest support and strength. She was my saviour and to be a saviour, all you need to do is listen. And she listened.
She listened and saved me from spiralling out of control. Today, when I look back upon those days, I wonder how beautiful the world will be if everyone is like Mrs D. Just imagine if one person can make a positive change in my life, how this world can change if we all start to listen and help those who need support and solace.
A woman can play many roles in her life. She can be a daughter, a sister, a wife and a mother. Then why is it that when it comes to showing compassion towards a fellow woman, very few are like Mrs D? Just imagine how beautiful the world can be if each woman thinks and acts like her.
Instead of being the enemy, why not try to be the best friend of another woman. I have learnt a lot from Mrs D and I for sure will follow in her footsteps and be there for anyone who needs support and care. And I will be the reason someone feels welcome, seen, heard, valued, loved and supported. I hope you will too.
“A mother, a sister and a friend she became,
A woman was wronged, to rescue she came.”
Picture credits: Still from Bollywood movie We Are Family
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