She looked around her as women sat in groups working hard on getting the final touches of their entrepreneur journey ready!
One of them looked up and spoke,” Ma, Am very confident we will do well. Thank you so much for teaching us, showing the path and helping us.”
She smiled looking at the confident women around her, who once were meek and quiet and facing their own sets of challenges at their home.
Each woman in this group of 20 were from different background and of different ages from 17 to 55 – newlywed, widow, abandoned wife, happy mother, grandmothers, single women – from all the walks of life but in one small village. The only common thing they had was dreams of doing something of their own!
Another woman got up and said, “Yes Ma. Your family is so lucky to have you. Am so happy you came here to our lives. It feels like we are going to fly!”
A tear came from eyes as she turned to hide it from them and looked out of the window, remembering her families’ reaction the same day, 1 year back!
1 year earlier:
Everyone looked at her shell shocked as if she had committed a big sin.
She sat calmly waiting for one of them to respond. Her husband was sitting in another corner of the room without any kind of emotion as he already knew of her decision and was not happy about it.
Her son walked up to her and asked – “Ma, are you ok? What is this sudden nonsense of going to your native place? There is nothing there and then all of us; Papa, I, my family, your daughter and her family are here in city.”
She simply smiled at him. Before she could reply, her daughter also got up and asked – “Ma, what is your problem here. We have provided all the comforts for you and taking care. You do not need to worry about anything, then why do you want to go and where did this come from. Is this your new friend’s influences?”
She had recently joined the old women’s group in her son’s huge apartment on all their insistence when she kept complaining for need to do something.
She looked at both her son and daughter and then at her husband who was waiting for her to respond. He had full hopes on his kids to dissuade her from the decision she had taken.
She closed her eyes looking back at her life journey. She had just graduated from college when her parents had fixed her marriage. She wanted to teach and have her identity but her husband’s work required them to travel places and with 2 kids and in-laws, it was pretty clear that she had to manage the house. At that time, this sacrifice didn’t matter as she felt the joy of motherhood was more. But somewhere in this journey, she lost her identity. She was wife, mother and then mother-in-law and grandma but nothing else. She looked around and saw that each of them had an identity of their own in their professions and were respected for it and not just as a family member!
Her son’s voice broke her thoughts. “Ma, why? The kids want you here”
She looked at her son again and replied, “My grandkids are my eyes now but I don’t think they need me anymore. They are pretty busy with their school, tuitions and all the classes they are attending over the weekends. You are all well settled and have your own families to manage.”
“And that’s why you need to relax and just enjoy the retired life, Ma”, her son interrupted her.
She smiled and calmly replied, “That’s why I want to go, son! There are so many women who need help and I just want to do my bit. This NGO with whom I want to tie up will be the best way for me. And what better way than to start from my own village”
Her kids just shook their head helplessly.
She was not sure if her husband or kids still understood her decision but they had stopped asking her anything. Once a month she visited them and they were cordial. She tried to get her husband to come and see her work but he was quite busy in his own world to bother!
She turned back to see the women looking at her, full of happiness. She didn’t know how to explain to them that this year was all coming from the shell, growing her wings and spreading it. Finally she was also going to fly along with others just as a kaleidoscope of colorful butterflies!