Remember Piku (Piku)? Yes, that angry, grumpy girl from the neighborhood who used to live with her ageing father? They used to fight so much, didn’t they? So much noise, baba re baba!
But once you get to know her, you realise there’s so much more to her than her demeanor. She is incredibly strong, runs her own business, fights like all the world’s problems are on her shoulders, has no qualms about her needs – personal, professional or sexual – and is pretty no-nonsense with her now childlike father. With time, he has become needy and at times is even selfish when it comes to letting his daughter bond with another man. Because then his only support might end up leaving him. But you know what? As much as he seemingly annoys her with his relatively normal-looking health scares, she gets it. And she’s there for him irrespective of it all. He was always there for her too, after all.
She’s stronger than you think she is. Of course she has her problems, but she knows where her priorities lie. And whatever she’s built, whatever she’s chosen, is by her own will.
Remember Shashi (English Vinglish)? Yes, that aunty from the next building who makes amazing laddoos? What a sweet woman, isn’t she? It’s sad to see her husband and daughter not value her much though. You can see them sidelining her because today’s generation needs good speakers – English speakers – and she isn’t very comfortable with the language.
But does that stop her? Nope. She decides to take a stand, and while on a holiday, her niece makes her discover the value of her self-worth. She decides to learn the language that always made her a bystander. And once she does, she gains the confidence she never knew she had. All this while making laddoos and being her adorable self, of course. Ask Laurent, won’t you?
Remember Rani (Queen)? She faced quite the tragedy when she was dumped a day before her wedding. It must have been so incredibly heartbreaking, don’t you think?
Everything was supposed to be sorted in her life when it all decided to come crashing down. One thing that didn’t was those honeymoon tickets that her parents had bought. The quintessential Europe tour it was going to be. And as she wonders about those tickets with kohl-smudged eyes, the otherwise subdued and completely dependent Rani – who had to be accompanied by her younger brother even on her dates – instinctively decides to go for her honeymoon, alone, nonetheless.
Sometimes, all you need is perspective – and she too probably did – as that one trip transformed her into the confident young woman who she always wished to be. Solo travels do that to you, don’t they? They, at times, teach you the ways of the world better than the secured walls of your home ever will.
Remember Mili (Mili)? You know, much before Aman Mathur (Kal Ho Naa Ho) landed in our lives only to destroy them with his death – something that I still cry about – came Mili. The bubbly, full of life girl who taught children how to dance? How can anyone forget Maine Kaha Phoolon Se, a song that perhaps still manages to bring a smile to several faces?
Not only was she happy, she made others lives better with her magnetic personality. The only hiccup here – a very small one for her, though – was the fact that she was dying of pernicious anemia, a then incurable disease.
But did that stop her from being her inspiring self? Well, clearly not.
Remember Kaira (Dear Zindagi)? Yes yes, that modern day girl who had so many ambitions that she could change the world with her camera, if given a chance?
But something was stopping her, holding her back. Something inside of her was screaming to just make everything stop. Belonging to a society that considered mental health to be a taboo, she decided to seek help. She not only spoke about her problems, at times reluctantly, at times rebelliously, but also helped her heart come clean to her mind, and vice versa. She did what many want to do – reach out.
She was courageous enough to take a step backward for her mental health – and eventually was able to take a step forward for her life, and on her own terms at that.
Oh, and how can we forget Sehmat (Raazi)? She looked like this young, beautiful girl who wouldn’t hurt a fly. She was soft-spoken, very delicate looking and used to teach music.
Who would’ve known what was going on within her? Who would’ve seen it coming? She was an agent in disguise, working to make her country a better place, going against her husband who she fell in love with, in-laws who adored her, and friends who were there for her. But nothing deterred her spirit, as she had vowed the safety of her country first, not even caring about the anonymity that may forever stay with her.
To know that Sehmat was actually a real person might have given you the chills. Raazi, was, after all, based on a true story based on Harinder Sikka’s novel Calling Sehmat. She lived and died an anonymous death. Her name was kept a secret till the very end, as per her wishes. But she fought, and her story became a tribute to the several anonymous lives who never took credit for their bravery.
Similarly, we have all known and read stories about several Pikus, Milis, Shashis, Kairas or Ranis at some point in our lives. They are all so inspiring, yet so real, that they can pretty much be sitting beside you. Or they are you.
And so, on Women’s day, here’s a little reminder to celebrate and cherish them – and yourselves – just the way they are, not just today, but everyday.
To end on an inspiring note: Auron se kya, Khud hi se, poonch lenge raahein… Yahin kahin, maujon mein hi dhoond lenge hum, kinaare… Khud hi toh hai hum, kinaare.