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My advice to all women reading this article is that never confuse love with worldly possessions or money. Build your financial literacy soon!
“Time is like a flower, Krishna said once. I didn’t understand. But later I visualized a lotus opening, the way the outer petals fell away to reveal the inner ones. An inner petal would never know the older, outer ones, even though it was shaped by them, and only the viewer who plucked the flower would see how each petal was connected to the others.” — The Palace of Illusions, Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
So how did the petal of 2022, that is set to fall away soon, unfurl for me? If there’s one colour I’d assign to this petal, it’d be the indigo-green colour– the colour of placid water of an ocean. No choppy currents, no waves.
On the surface, the year looks mundane. The same sun rose everyday. The same sun set everyday. Day after day. Night after night. It isn’t a year of any momentous happening. Just the same humdrum, dreary life went on. Yet as each year of our lives makes us evolve in some way or another, so did 2022.
By the end of last year, I fortuitously came across a free session on managing personal finance by “Women on Wealth”. I was deeply impressed. Finance was something I was not comfortable dealing with, though I started earning very early in life. Almost immediately after attending their free introductory session, I visited their website and enrolled for their course on Personal Finance. This was followed by another course on Stock Investing.
After completing both these courses, I’m confident of taking charge of my finances. What’s more, I’m now glad to be part of a thriving community of intelligent women who discuss finance.
Less than a third of the population of India are financially literate. According to this report, only 27% of Indian adults– and 24% of women– meet the minimum level of financial literacy as defined by the Reserve Bank of India. But it’s especially important for women to take a stand when it comes to financial decisions.
The position of women in the Indian society is especially vulnerable as they are expected to always please their husbands and in-laws. What may seem like an innocuous suggestion, may turn out to be a life-changing mistake on the woman’s part. And so finance is not just about learning jargon or investing, finance is a mindset. This is my most important takeaway from the courses.
In my youth, I committed one such financial mistake that I regret to date. All the jewellery gifted by my parents and relatives during my marriage were in my ex-husband’s safekeeping. After we got divorced, he refused to return any of those pieces of jewellery. And all my valuable pieces of jewellery were just lost. Now I realise that in my naïveté, what a grave mistake I committed at that time.
My advice to all women reading this article is that never confuse love with worldly possessions or money. And never keep your streedhan in your husband’s or his family’s safekeeping just to please them. Either keep it in your individual locker, or with your parents, or in any place that is not accessible by your spouse.
And I’d be eternally grateful to 2022 for marking the beginning of my journey to be financially literate.
Mid-year I got transferred to a new place. In my perpetually peripatetic life, 2022 marked another posting to another new place. And a new posting always mean to me exploring new places, meeting new people and learning something new along the way.
“In the entire circle of the year there are no days so delightful as those of a fine October.” — Alexander Smith
In my part of the world, the month of October is associated with festivities, the greatest among them being Durga Puja which is celebrated with much pomp and splendour all over Bengal. On Dashami, the final day of the Puja, the idol of the goddess is immersed in the river followed by the traditional ritual of “Sindoor-Khela” where married women apply vermillion on each other’s faces. The sepulchral afternoon sunlight always made me melancholic. Add to that, I can’t any more take part in “Sindoor-Khela” due to my marital status.
But these past couple of years, I’m actively trying to create newer, brighter memories of Dashami celebrations. Attending the Dashami get-together of “Status Single” has become almost a ritual for me now. “Status Single” is India’s first and only community for urban, single women. On Dashami, we, the singletons of ‘Status Single’ Kolkata Chapter, met at a cafe, chattered and laughed together, clicked selfies and shared our stories of struggle and survival with each other and most importantly, participated in the festive revelry.
“If you want to change the world, first try to improve and bring about change within yourself. That will help change your family. From there it just gets bigger and bigger. Everything we do has some effect, some impact.” — Dalai Lama
2022, for me, was a year of many such small changes, of trying to forget the painful past, of finding closure, of forging new connections, of looking for newer meanings in life. With that, adieu 2022.
Image credits Diego Zarulli, via Canva Pro
An engineer by education, I am a civil servant by profession. A doting mother. An avid reader. I try my hand at writing as and when ideas tussle inside my head. read more...
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Rajshri Deshpande, who played the fiery protagonist in Trial by Fire along with Abhay Deol speaks of her journey and her social work.
Rajshri Deshpande as the protagonist in ‘Trial by Fire’, the recent Netflix show has received raving reviews along with the show itself for its sensitive portrayal of the Uphaar Cinema Hall fire tragedy, 1997 and its aftermath.
The limited series is based on the book by the same name written by Neelam and Shekhar Krishnamoorthy, who lost both their children in the tragedy. We got an opportunity to interview Rajshri Deshpande who played Neelam Krishnamoorthy, the woman who has been relentlessly crusading in the court for holding the owners responsible for the sheer negligence.
Rajshri Deshpande is more than an actor. She is also a social warrior, the rare celebrity from the film industry who has also gone back to her roots to give to poverty struck farming villages in her native Marathwada, with her NGO Nabhangan Foundation. Of course a chance to speak with her one on one was a must!
“What is a woman’s job, Ramesh? Taking care of parents-in-law, husband, children, home and things at work—all at the same time? She isn’t God or a superhuman."
The arrays of workstations were occupied by people peering into their computer screens. The clicks of keyboard keys were punctuated by the occasional footsteps moving around to brainstorm or collaborate with colleagues in their cubicles. Most employees went about their tasks without looking at the person seated on either side of their workstation. Meenakshi was one of them.
The thirty-one-year-old marketing manager in a leading eCommerce company in India sat straight in her seat, her eyes on the screen, her fingers punching furiously into the keys. She was in a flow and wanted to finish the report while the thoughts and words were coming effortlessly into her mind.
Natu-Natu. The mellifluous ringtone interrupted her thoughts. She frowned at her mobile phone with half a mind to keep it ringing until she noticed the caller’s name on the screen, making her pick up the phone immediately.
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