A Woman of Substance      

AwomanofsubstanceLoudest was the silence,
That shattered her spirit,
Harshest was her fate,
Only loneliness her heart merit!

Arohi rode high on the successes of life! Her colleagues called her a human dynamo, a potent combination of beauty and brains! She could juggle with ease between the complex figures on a pie chart and be packing her daughter’s tiffin box every single day. She could shop till she dropped and yet have the energy to go home and cook for her family. Time management was essential, the need of the hour and she had perfected it. All was well until one fateful day she solemnly announced that she wished to renounce all worldly pursuits and wanted to spend the rest of her life in the service of the Almighty!

At first, her family thought she was joking or maybe had become manic, but when they realized that she meant what she said all hell broke loose! No one could comprehend the circumstances that made her take this decision. Yet she simply packed her bag with bare necessities and forayed into another realm totally unknown to her.

Yes, folks, this could well be the story of any working woman tired of the grind that we call “routine”. Since the start of the 21st century, things actually started moving forward for the fairer sex. She was allowed into the public domain freely without the fear of being ostracized even when she smoked a cigarette or two with her colleagues at break time. On the surface, everything seemed perfect but under the simmering boiling pot that we call “tradition,” a woman’s role has never really evolved. A married woman chatting up with her colleagues may be branded as fast and available behind her back, while a single woman may be branded by unimaginable combinations of names.

The larger question is, are we Arohis in the making? Is the Indian Society really ready to embrace the sensitivities of a woman? Irrespective of what we pretend to be as a society the basic fabric is mired in a patriarchal mindset! So it does not matter whether you are qualified or you can wax eloquent on the macroeconomy of the world, you still have to go back home to the quintessential “Chula”. If you cannot run your house properly you are not fit to be a mother, wife etc!

Of course, it was Arohi’s duty to look after the family and the world at large, but where were the others? Where did they disappear when she struggled with what was going on within and the outside world? Why were they so naive as to think she was superhuman and that the onus lay only on her to give the semblance of a happy family? And then, if she was so content why did she have to give up everything that mattered so much to her for something so incomprehensible and that which defied logic?

We need to think about this, don’t we? We are a country where a woman is worshipped as a Goddess yet we would harass her for dowry, or in some parts of India force her to perform Sati, or even be sold to some toothless bidder at a tender age of 11 or 12. Maddening when we think about all of this, and we wonder why Arohi actually renounced the world!

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