My mother was married in a family where her husband was the tenth child,
Making her the daughter in law who was almost two generations younger to her in-laws,
With a taste of modernity and backing of sound education,
She was young and dreamy, yet valued customs and tradition.
She was constantly told to behave like a ‘married woman’,
For she refused to stay decked up like one.
Simplicity reflected well of her beliefs, she continued pursuing her aspirations,
Climbing the rungs of a prolific career, juggling immense stress at home without admiration,
She’d race through every household chore with no hand to help,
All were busy finding flaws and consuming fruits of her labour with a greedy yelp,
My father used to try to come to rescue, being stopped by my grandparents at every step.
In her silence through the nagging storm, her feminist ideas grew more strong,
She’d offer the biggest slice of her cake, work all day even through a heartache.
As drops of water mark their presence on the hardest stone by dripping steadily,
So she did, by putting down her foot heavily.
She was there to love and respect,
While breaking stereotypes of all size an aspect,
She stayed calm, patience was her constant companion,
But, she refused to be quiet when injustice set foot in their mansion,
She fought like a warrior all battles against discrimination.
She chose to work even after bearing children,
She drove fearlessly, fixed electric points, did everything on her mind,
My father finally stood by her side, helping her with homely grind,
She refused to be the ‘helpless’ one who’d stay confined in the walls of her home ,
She gradually changed the family insight,
Now care and compassion ruled, making the future look bright.
The revolution was slow,
I could see the determination make her face glow,
She re-defined the way her ‘patriarchal marital home’ operated,
Many years after, there was reign of feminism in the very same household.
Many heartaches happened, but finally her beliefs were accepted and respected,
As should happen in every story, there was reign of love, happiness and a new beginning.
Gone were the malice and old conventions, giving way to a generation that lived life in its own stride.
When I grew up and it was time for me to get married,
My mother wasn’t preachy, nor asked me to do this or that,
She knew it well from the start, her little brat knew how to follow her heart.
Life moved on and so did my marital journey full of stumbling blocks,
Yet I played patient while my new family tried to tamper with my beliefs.
I followed the footsteps of my mother,
Giving time and opportunity for people around me try to understand my beliefs,
I tried doing the same for them, working hard to cultivate love and harmony in our home.
I wasn’t lucky to be gifted with malleable in laws,
Slowly came the point where I had to make a difficult choice,
To either let go of my beliefs and voice,
Or face the challenge and rise.
There was pain and loss of self pride in one,
In another, a difficult life free of unlimited compromise.
It was a tough call, but I had to save my dying soul,
I cried, I tried, before reading the message in my mother’s eyes.
Amidst the sea of worry and pain, she wanted a life for me where peace shall reign,
I took up the cue and my troubled heart at once knew,
I wanted to stand up for myself, like I had seen my mother do.
I had to ‘Do Right’ for it wasn’t just about me,
It focussed on the future of a newborn baby.
Even if it meant standing alone,
I took the leap, stepping out of my marital home.
As it always happens, people who cared joined in,
Making my life complete with a new journey to begin.
My parents taught me to stand tall,
To follow thy heart and save self-respect above all,
Life isn’t always predictable, but what we learn by seeing people doing,
Teaches in a way, no mentor, book or sermon could,
Moulding, shaping and refining our very being.
The Song on my mind: Karein Wahi Jo ho Sahi ~ Shakar Ehsan Loy