Updated: Aug 28, 2021
Three Tiny Tales of Tough Ladies
Stories have the power to move us, and not just emotionally. We’re often transported to wondrous places and meet interesting people through the stories we read.
Owing to the present situation, we’re having a hard time stepping out of our homes, let alone travel to other cities. But, don’t you worry - we have you covered! Through these stories, we’ll transport you to quaint towns, and jostling cities to meet women who have amazing stories to tell.
Today, we’ve scheduled an appointment with Dr. Shabnam of Lucknow, who’s due to give us a shot of inspiration. Once we’ve made ourselves immune to patriarchy, we’re due to meet Anita, who shuddered at the tag of ‘Dependent Daadi’, and so grabbed at the opportunity to learn to ride. Next up, we’ve some lessons in advocacy by the advocate herself- Hemalta. Hailing from the Blue City of India, she shows us feminism is not always pink!
So, settle in and close your eyes as these little tales wash over you. We hope you enjoy the ride from Lucknow to Jodhpur.
Dr. Shabnam Khan was proud that she was equal to her life partner - they were both doctors, both earning well, both equally respected by society. Only one thing bothered her - while her husband drove a car to his clinic, she was left to hop on to autos, wait for relatives to drop her and waste large amounts of time waiting for elusive cabs to reach her clinic. If only she knew to drive or ride, she’d never have to depend on anyone! Her sister-in-law recommended to her Aatm Nirbhar - where she’d learnt to ride a scooter. Now Shabnam rides to her clinic herself, and has a lot more time, and peace of mind. She smiles and says,
“As a doctor I help people, but Aatm Nirbhar has truly helped me!”
Anita Chandra, a government employee, was habituated to navigating the gullies of Lucknow in her car. When she retired, she had to give up her car and she became dependent on her grandchildren to ferry her across town, for any job, small or big. “Aa rahi hun daadi, tution se late nikli thi”, or “Daadi, bas aadha ghanta, match ke baad aata hun!” would often come in reply to her weary question, “Beta, kahaan reh gaye?”. But Anita had always been a go-getter. At the age of 52, she decided to learn to ride the scooter. She is now back on the roads she knows like the back of her hand, hopping from the bank, to the subzi mandi, or even just dropping in to meet an old friend over a plate of mouth-watering kebabs. But her favourite thing to do on the scooter? -- Taking her grandkids for a ride on her scooter!
Responsibility was thrust upon Hemalata at a tender age, after she lost her mother. As the years passed, she became the woman behind the independent, successful lives of her siblings. Though Hemalata studied and became an advocate, she felt incomplete - she’d helped make her family independent, but she herself would wait for hours on end for people to ferry her across the city. Life had taught her that she would have to work hard to get what she wanted. Hemalata travelled 50 kilometers from Jalore to Jodhpur to learn to ride a scooter from Aatm Nirbhar. She’d thought that being independent was the ultimate achievement, but now she has the power to dream more dreams.