When I was a child (not so long ago!) I remember reading this RD article called “When God created women!”. I was so moved then and also felt quite proud about being a woman, even though at that time I had no idea what it really meant to be a woman!
Now, having gone though childbirth, being a mother, a wife and most importantly having keenly observed and studied women around me, I am convinced, we are a unique species. We shouldn’t be put just as Homo Sapiens out there on the classification list of living beings. Species “Woman” ought to be listed at the very top, followed by chimpanzee, orangutans, dolphins, penguins etc etc and somewhere in the middle we can tweak in “Man” and then go one by one all the way down to single-celled organisms.
Women as a species have proven to be stronger both mentally and physically. In most cases, they inadvertently at some point in their life face one of the man-inflicted adversities. Be it Molestation, Rape, Battering (husband, father, in-laws), Rejection, Prejudice, Discrimination, Shame etc just to name a few. Through it all, it is seen that most women come out stronger and more dignified. Even in emancipated societies we hear of gender insensitivity and sexual harassment in workplace and at home.
A fitting example of this is in the last American election where a black “man” was chosen over a white “woman”, in spite of of Hillary being the more experienced and the better known face. Of course we are well aware of her mettle and poise from how she dealt with the horrifyingly public personal issues.
In this modern age one need not imagine the life of women in disadvantaged societies. Every day headlines scream of selective abortion, genital mutilation, child marriage. None of these abhorrent practices seem to abate in spite of intervention from all quarters.
Women seem to adapt and learn to deal with whatever adversity they face ever so easily. I somehow could never get over this National Geographic photograph of a 14 year old mother of 2 who seem so at peace being a mother. The responsibility of motherhood obliterating everything else that a 14 year old can be.
http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2011/06/child-brides/sinclair-photography (the 4th pic in the group)
I started to write this post as a tribute to some great women I have met, ones who have shaped my thinking, small lives who have helped this small life.
The first one is this woman I met just once in my life. Ann. I met her at a party one evening while we were in Cambodia. She is an American woman, very beautiful, who backpacked to Asia as a teenager and never went back. Ann and her husband Alex run an NGO in Phnom Penn.
What stuck me about Ann was not aspects of the social work she is associated with nor the that she is an American woman who has set up her nest in Asia but the fact that she is a mother of 8! Her oldest is about 30 and the youngest a teenager, all of whom she home schooled! These kids grew up at a time when even diapers (forget about rest of baby care gadgets) where unheard of in these parts of the world, when money was scarce, with no help from family, while setting up and running her NGO.
When I met her she has the look of satisfaction on her face that you see on mothers who are confident that they have done a good job! I came back inspired to have more babies and to try home schooling. The second i tried for 6 months, very satisfied with it too.. but.. More babies .. I guess it will just be one of those unfulfilled dreams!
This post is getting too long..
I have more women to write about. My Grandmother Marykutty for her courage and strength. Ann from Bali, Meera and Shanti for their amazing talents. How can I leave out Josie and all that she has achieved? I know there are other women who are more talented and have accomplished much more but these women are complete women in my eyes. They are people who will stay with me forever even if I have met them just once!