The Women Of My Life

In a world where they say a woman is a woman’s worst enemy, and that women teach each other patriarchy, I found myself a bunch out of the female class who were in an ordered world a pure anarchy. I had the chance of being brought into the world by the strongest of them all, soft inside out, but fierce when ignited, just like a charcoal. Now a charcoal might sound like a weird comparison, but isn’t it underestimated? It sits there quietly in a sack, looking all harmless, lying as a rather non-useful commodity until you ignite a spark, light it on a fire and watch it burn in all of it’s glory. Where it has the capacity to warm you up after getting drenched in a rough rainfall, it is also capable of setting you afire if messed with. Just like her. My mother was always kind and cordial, helping everyone in any way possible. But when it came to standing up for what is right, she would light up in such fierce flames no amount of water would be able to douse her. You cannot capture fire into the shackles of customs and norms, because it’s heat melts away the rusty iron of such restrictions. And melt she did, all that came in her way of raising a girl as an equivalent of a boy, in the process teaching me how to melt away the cages the world might try and trap me in. She indeed was the strongest of them all.
Then I had the luck of being raised by the wisest of them all, calm and composed on the outside, but with constant waves flowing within her, powerful enough to crush gigantic rocks into tiny pieces, just like an ocean. An ocean seems to be a sane enough comparison, but can we ever map it’s depth and force? On some days it rests like a plain carpet of water, shimmering in the sunlight and glinting under the stars, looking so inviting and friendly as if a long-lost companion. But on days it rumbles and rages, it’s waves rising high up to the skies, crashing everything that falls under it’s shadows. Just like her. My aunt was always firm and steady, giving out the best solutions even to the most grueling problems. But when it was about asserting her opinions, she would rise up to such a peak no matter what you did you would never be able to escape her. You cannot hold water into the fist of dominance and authority, because it slips out of the savage grip and finds it’s way out, flowing in such a buoyant way as if never touched by any malice. And flow she did, carving her own niche in a place where even her existence was belittled, all the while showing me how to get away and go ahead with my own flow if people try and bend my path. She indeed was the wisest of them all.
Then I had the privilege of being surrounded by the most loving of them all, often gentle and soothing, but occasionally harsh and hostile, throwing unwanted elements out of her way, just like the wind. Wind might be the perfect type of comparison, but is it possible to describe all of it’s beauty and wrath into words? It can create ripples in standing water, ruffle the leaves of a motionless tree, console a distressed animal, and uplift a weak bird into a boundless flight. But when angered the same soft breeze can swivel up into a violent tornado, uprooting the most deep-seated trees, reducing the strongest structures to mere mangled remains. Just like her. My grandmother was always doting and affectionate, nurturing and cherishing everyone she could look after. But when it was regarding doing what she wanted, she would swirl up in such an adverse tempest nothing could stop her. You cannot confine wind within a vessel, because it escapes out of all the stubborn boundaries, gliding away in it’s own merriment. And glide she did, fighting off all the clutches and grips that came her way, guiding me throughout how to break free if someone tries to stop me from doing what I desire. She indeed was the strongest of them all.
Where my friend’s mother would teach her how to act and dress, these women never tried to alter my behavior. Where my classmate’s grandma would prevent her from taking part in certain activities, these women encouraged me to do everything I wished to. Where my neighbor’s sister tried to keep her within the security of the four walls, these women let me run free, like a wild lily in an evergreen forest. They taught me all the vital life lessons, everything I would need in a big and strange world. They taught me to persevere and keep going, and not give up easily or lose my heart. They taught me to care for everyone and be kind, but never to put myself or my needs below anything. And the most important of them all, they taught me how to love myself.
Right from being my best audience to my worst critique, from standing behind me in my daring leaps to nursing my emotional and physical bruises, from being the most patient listeners to giving the best advices, from holding my hand through my baby steps to walking beside me through my accomplishments, from holding me as I crumbled down to helping me put myself back together piece by piece.
So, here’s me raising a toast to the most precious women of my life, in a hope all of us get at least one such woman in our life.

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