Last September, I had the opportunity to read a book titled “Because I am a Girl – Seven Girls, Seven Lives”, which was an initiative of Plan India. It brought out the stories of seven girls from different parts of India who fought challenging situations and tried to empower themselves. What made the book even more different was that the stories were narrated by seven women personalities from all walks of life.
The stories, real-life stories, included that of a woman who decides not to kill her unborn baby girl, a young girl who drops out of school but takes a beauty course and plans to set up her on parlor, a girl who is a ragpicker but also a bright student etc. The book portrayed their meeting with adversity and their moving past it, or conquering it. In a time when inspiration is a little hard to come by, these seven stories, I felt gave a drop of it. It may have been a drop in the ocean, but a drop nonetheless. They struck a chord with me.
Fast forward six months, and here we are today. The world celebrates International Women’s Day. The theme for the day is “Inspiring Change”. I can’t think of a better inspiration for change than to take these seven girls and their seven lives as an example.
Looking around me, I’m inspired by my mom to be patient with what I do. They say no one can be as patient as a mother, because Mother Earth is patient with all of us and our antics and continues to hope for the best for us. I’m inspired by my grandmother to be loving and caring without expecting any back. God knows, with work and whatever else in the way, my sister and I don’t visit her that often, but she still continues to be that amazing grandma that she is. I’m inspired by a friend whose daughter isn’t well, but she continues to pray and do whatever in her power to make her daughter better.
When I hear the women around me wish each other Happy Women’s Day and make plans to go shopping, wear a color code (pink possibly) to work or talk of gifts that they have got on the day, it feels very odd. I see online stores having a sale on products for women on that day. Even the bookmarks in some books that were delivered on that day were in the shape of women’s clothing. Anything and everything that can be marketed on that day seems to have a woman’s touch to it (not literally, and if it’s a pun, it’s intended!). Women’s Day seems to have become, like a friend pointed out in her post, a marketing gimmick rather than to celebrate the inspirational stories.
The concept of Women’s Day is something I don’t understand at all, when it comes to that. I don’t wish every girl on the day. Women’s Day, Men’s Day (whenever that is, if there is), Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Lover’s Day (I’m sure there’d be one), Pet’s Day… if every one of us is alive and celebrating life every day, why one day of the year needs to be given a name? A friend had a status on Facebook saying “Wishing every man and woman a very very happy day and happy year ahead!” I agree with that friend wholeheartedly!
So here’s wishing every reader of this post a very happy day and happy year ahead!
(8th March, 2014)