Fearless to be ourselves

This is the story of a woman

As they were discussing the details of the presentation, he suddenly looked at her and said, "It's so unfortunate you are a lesbian".

Had you not been a lesbo, we could have gone on a date together. How can you not be attracted to me? This lesbian thing is all crap". He laughed.

“How old is your daughter, Sir?", she asked pointedly.

“Six", he replied, looking at her. Try hard as she might have, the expression on her face could not conceal her disgust, the anger, the rage she felt

"It was a joke, Rahi. Come on, you need a sense of humor. Really!"

"Doesn't the blue background look better in the presentation?" She changed the topic.

Rahi wanted to slap him. Yet, she was quiet. She had to put up with this -for her family, her parents, her partner.

"Doesn't the blue background look better in the presentation?" She changed the topic.

This is also the story of a woman

“Aunty cannot see or hear. Poor thing. You take care of her, Madame. I do not need any payment. But why do you allow her to travel alone?" The cab driver said, looking concerned.

As Amma got out of the vehicle, I took her hands in mine and finger spelt on her palm. She immediately gave me the money and asked me to thank the driver

The driver, watching this silently, looked at me amazed, with questions written all over his face.

“Everyone can do everything, Bhaiya. She is my mother and she has brought me up. This is her special language and she can do everything", I told him, feeling the need to explain

As he looked at her, amazed, perplexed and slightly teary, I felt a surge of pride and love for my mother. Becoming deaf-blind at the age of 25, she had fought her way through, to bring me up, to retain her job as a banker and to live a life which was authentically ours. I just wished the world would understand her a little more. The jokes she cracked, her love for life, for joy. Just a little more.

One more…

Since 9 am, Aadi was trying to draw the perfect doll. It was 2 pm and after thirty attempts, the attempt was still on. Maddy was irritated with this brother of hers and moreover, she was hungry.

Irritated, she tried pulling the paper and he screamed in response, "Leave me alone. Why are you coming in? Stay away. Let me draw!".

"What are you trying to draw? The perfect doll? There is no such thing".

"I want the perfect pretty look. Slim, tall, fair. like Kareena Kapoor" he smiled.

Maddy felt slightly hurt. "Aaadi! God!! Is that your definition of perfection? God bless the world and your partner.

"Go away and don't irritate. I am in no mood for a conversation. Go eat. I don't want to do anything with you".

As Maddy solemnly left the room, she turned around and said "Try sketching mom and me some time. We might be short, fat and might meet only 1 criterion of your definition, but you might still find a perfection” She smiled.

These stories and several others are, beyond many other things, a reflection of the fact that there is no one single definition of a woman. That the diversity within the spectrum of women is huge: women who are single, women who are in a relationship, women with a disability, women who are mothers, cisgender women, transgender women, widowed women, women who are divorced and I can go on. If there is one thing, which my experience working in diversity and inclusion has taught me, it is this: each woman is unique. Each special. Yet, within the uniqueness, there is a strength, there is a connection, there is compassion.

This woman’s day, as we press for progress, I hope each one of us challenges the definition of what a woman is for us, looking outside stereotypes, breaking out of the boxes with respect to a definition and finds the courage to explore and accept women in our life (including ourselves) for who they/we truly are.

We are ok as we are.

Happy Woman’s Day!

About the Author -MadhumithaVenkataraman is a diversity and inclusion evangelist who works in the space of gender, disability, LGBTIQA+, and generational diversity.

She writes short stories and is the founder of a collective called diversity dialogues:

You can reach out to her on: https://www.facebook.com/madhumitha.venkataraman.5