Presenting the three winners of International Women’s Day Contest: #MYSHERO. *cue drum roll*

Udhvithaa’s story: Silent Superhero

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My Amma. I still remember clearly that you decided to study further when I was in my 9th standard. Until then I remember you being a simple housewife going to painting classes, sauce making classes, beautician courses(opened a full fledged parlor and went into losses coz u were too shy to ask for money from over smart friends who were customers), Baba Ramdev camps and some weird flowerarrangement courses. You would constantly change the furniture arrangements of the house, paint and repaint our rooms with our constant fluctuating favorites and convince us that that the new pillows on the floor is the trend. Dedicating Sundays to make us clean our rooms and hogging your Biryani ( which actually is a Pulao) was a norm. On special occasions, we would slather that one lipstick you had and click pictures all around the house with dad as our creative photographer. But,you always wanted to be more.

Things changed when a certain family friend spoke low about my mum not being all fancily educated at a party. My mum could have easily hated her and cut all ties but instead asked my father if she could study further. My dad being the rock star that he is happily pushed her into college. I think that’s when our lives changed. She finished her degree and joined law. I was in my high school then. She would wake up at 2.30 am , have a cold water bath, cook our meals, study, send me school, catch a bus to college, come back, make me finish my homework, cook and set things for the next day. At one point me and mom were both waiting for our exam results. After law, there was no stopping her. She then joined NALSAR and finished her PG…yes, my mother has more degrees than my father and I thank that fat family friend for that.

In one simple week, the number of hats you don is crazy. A professional Doing free cases for the poor, shooting for your shows , going to the court, counselling. A crazy housewife who has a problem with store bought ground spices, snacks and batters (she makes them from scratch and sends it over to all of us). A loving wife maintaining that green house which is basically a farm and filling in for dad professionally when he is out following his passion. On top of all this, there is service. To the orphanages, old age homes, goshalas .

To be the happiest version of yourself with no vacations to relax, no time to pamper yourself, no friends to chill with takes a lot of power. You made us your world and we are thankful. I have seen you be the best daughter who took care of her mother till the end against all odds, a caring wife who went along with her husband’s craziness and most importantly being our best friend.

I don’t know a single person who doesn’t take advantage of your name and fame in their possible little way and I am happy about it. Yet, we have them coming and giving you advices about trivial things. You tell me that such is a woman’s life. There always be disappointments no matter what. We have to be the best version regardless and yes, it’s generally the empty vessels that make the most noise.

Why all this? Because at some point of time I had to tell the story of the woman who set such high standards for me. To be a better professional, daughter, wife , daughter-in-law and now a mom. Also because many a times I am guilty of being disappointed with her that when she was trying to manage all this. I now know how difficult it is to even do the bare minimum.

This one here is my silent super hero, my inspiration and this is her story till now. I cant wait to see how it unfolds.

 

Heena Dhedhi’s story about her mother

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As she walked onto the stage I could hear the soft caress of her georgette saree and the tic-tac of her kitten heels. The overhead light caught the diamond on her ring as she greeted the audience with a Jai Jinendra. Amidst all the cheering and the clapping I heard a little girl say Mum, that’s my teacher & a man at the far end of the row proudly announced that’s my boss & a group of women seemed really emotional who weren’t able to hide their tears, and continued clapping. I looked around and felt myself rising above the ordinary in the adulation showered. Just as my husband gently tapped me on my shoulder and pointed onto the stage, my MOM began to speak.

I had coaxed her to take the audience through her journey, writing a brief for her to follow. She practiced the speech numerous times ‘Armed with an MA in the late 70s, I went on to become a teacher to fulfill my aspirations of being a change initiator. Motivated not only by my parents but also my favorite literature professor I excelled in my profession, quickly moving on to become the youngest Vice Principal of the school. Marriage and motherhood added springs to my feet and I moved from strength to strength career-wise. Content with what life had blessed me with I wanted to enjoy motherhood. Thus began my best career phase… full-time mommy and wife. Travelling all over with my husband I developed an interest in handicrafts and started a small business venture. As the venture tasted success, delegating responsibilities on the women I decided to go back to my first love. Volunteering with Teach India I am revisiting my past to shape and initiate change in the lives of under-privileged children. It’s an honor being nominated as the Woman of the Year award by the Mumbai Kutchi Jain association and taking home the trophy for what I love doing.’

That’s what we expected her to say. However when she took to the mike all she said was, ‘The seasons of life offered me varied opportunities which I grabbed with both hands. The weather chose to shine on me through love and I basked in the sunshine of what I love to do. Whether teaching a student a geometric evaluation, my children the values of life, the women who are my business drivers marketing techniques or my house help a particular dish – It’s never been about work. Teaching is my inspiration, to be the best I can be. Thank you for this. It truly belongs to everyone who was willing to learn, for without them I’d be incomplete.’

In the thunderous response that followed, I couldn't see clearly. Pearls were clouding my eyes and through those a diamond shone bright and beautiful. My MOM, my #MYSHERO.

This Woman’s Day, share a story about the woman who inspires you to beat all the odds and follow your dreams, without any inhibitions. Share a story about the woman who finds an opportunity in every situation and makes her life a vision to emulate.

 

Arunita Kalita’s story about her grandmother

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That one woman who have inspired me in my life is my grandmother. She was a brave, bold and kind lady.

She was a single mom and faced many challenges in her life. Her husband left her at a young age with two small daughters. She had no work at that time. She was forced to work at people’s houses to earn some bread for her daughters. She worked as a maid but she earned by herself without begging anyone for money. She believed that one day that rough phase of her life will go away.

She often starved herself and went to sleep but she fed her daughters always.

Slowly, that phase went away. She soon found a small government job. She completed her studies and got promotions and reached to the higher levels. She bought herself a house and lived there with her daughters and pets. She appeared in the elections and even won. She became a social worker and activist. She helped all the poor people of her society and adopted homeless animals. She became a symbol of kindness and courage. Even till her last breath she helped people.

This lady never gave up on her life. she was down to her last 10 rupees when her husband left her. Instead of giving up and begging she worked by herself and believed that one day she will be able to achieve something. She struggled a lot to achieve success. And she got it… She was a determined lady.

She is my role model.