What is winning? Is it getting what we always desire or is it achieving what people around decide for us or is it losing out on those small battles and still coming out as a stronger person and continue living on our own terms? Each time I have been in a difficult situation, my reaction has always been to sulk, cry and finally convince myself that this is all I deserve in life. It always felt like everyone around has an easy-going life. Agreed, that their life might be full with difficulties and complexities, but not as bad as mine.
This small incident gave me a whole new perspective. I work in a team of 13 people out of which 11 are women belonging to different walks of life. We often meet regularly in official meetings or have an informal chit-chat in the office aisle. All of them come across as happy independent working women. While a few of them are chirpy and talkative and can express all possible emotions, there are others who hardly open their mouths, the silent introverted ones. Recently, I got to know a part of their lives on my way back from a team lunch.
As it is with girls, who have to chat when they have nothing else to do, we did the same. It started with official discussion but was abruptly interrupted to share love/marriage stories. Meenu, the talkative one spoke for the longest duration about how she met this guy who went from being a competitor in college to her best friend and now her fiancé. A rare case of love affairs in India where the families agreed and encouraged the couple to complete their higher studies before getting married. Surprising, isn’t it? They have cleared GRE and would be moving to US to pursue MS.
Priya, who had always come across as a woman with a strong mature mind shared a horrible truth with a straight face. She mentioned that a few years back her ex-fiancé’s family had called off the wedding suddenly. His family suddenly decided that she is the one bringing bad luck to them as the groom’s ailing mother passed away a few days before their marriage. It took her a few years to get over this disappointment. Her strong determination and faith helped her to try again. She is getting married in another three months and is extremely happy about the turn of events.
Sara is the quietest of the lot. None of us had ever heard her uttering an extra word unless required. Her story started at a very interesting note where this guy approaches her family for her hand in marriage, waits for three years to let her complete her studies, but calls off the wedding a week before the wedding day. The reason was that he despised that she is socially very active. Sara, belongs to a very traditional family and was always given the privilege to do whatever she likes. After the marriage was called off last-minute, she was married off to a stranger within a day. She started sobbing while sharing her story but ends her story saying that she is happy with whatever she has.
After hearing their stories, especially that they are happy, they have moved on, and they are still living their dreams though not with the person they had wished to, makes me think if they have decided to compromise with life. Or was their past a trap, and this was the only way to get out it? Or is it a realization that only comes with time that life works itself out in the best possible way? There are no regrets, there aching hearts are healing, self-esteem and confidence is redeemed. In my eyes,they all are strong women who have emerged as winners in their own small way.
~ Arundhati Panigrahi
This is the first featured reader’s contribution for the Initiative Life as it is. Please feel free to share your stories with all of us. The idea here is to get our stories out of the closet to heal and help, your inner self and others.