2020 was an unforgettable year for me. I had good plans for it. Everything was going to get fine and certain. But then we all know what struck. I had my whole life come to a standstill. I was at home when I was not supposed to be. My husband and I were separated again by lands and seas. The question of priorities kept haunting me day and night. I was constantly asked questions to which I had no answers. I would feel the world to be mean to me. But still I never allowed all of it to take over my happiness. I knew the struggle is different and costing me at many levels. But it would pass. I derived strength out of people. Particularly out of happy people. One such person was our maid.
Introducing to you all Ms. Champa. Champa has three adult/adolescent sons. She is a widow of a drunkard. She has extreme body issues due to being highly overweight. She would leave for work at 10 am in the morning from home. Take autorickshaws and after travelling for 1 hour would reach our neighborhood where she would do cleaning jobs in 4-5 homes. Lockdown had crashed her kitty. Only one of her son used to work and even he was out of job then. I can write pages and pages on her hardships. And unlike many, her hardships were not a result of only lockdown. Her life was no “better” much before that too. But I derived my happiness from her.
Champa is not a woman defined by her hardships or even her job. She is defined by the 24 X 7 smile and laughter that she carries. We two would talk about her ordeals and would laugh at it as though the world’s funniest jokes were being cracked. She would tell I had no money nothing, no flour, no lentils during lockdown, but all with an unbelievably humorous speech. She would roast herself and we both would have a blast. It would not be wrong to say that every day I waited for Champa to come and joke about her ordeals, ordeals that were not just real but matter of survival too.
Such is the power of women. They face uncountable and unseen disparities every day. At home or at work. You don’t see it. I don’t see it. But it is real. But whatever it maybe it is the women in whom we find strength, love and compassion. And today to that incomparable feeling and power, I proudly wish all women from young to old, from achievers to achievers, a very Happy Woman’s Day.
P.S. Champa is really very poor. That happy face has a lot going on beneath. The least that I know, she really wants to get the Below Poverty Line Ration card made. But it has been impossible for her so far as she has no money to bribe anyone. If you dear reader can help her out, I will be so grateful to you.
“बर्बादियों का शोक मनाना फिजूल था, बर्बादियों का जश्न मनाता चला गया”