Viking at heart

In honour of the upcoming International Day of the Girl Child on 11th October 2016, I will have a series of blog posts celebrating my kind.

Celebrating her. Post #2 of 5

I raise my hypothetical hat to all the women that have stayed true to their inner voices, followed their dreams and fought for what they believe in.

When a woman so desires, she has the courage of a lion and the heart of a viking!

Palmira, at age 40 was flung into the role of mother, father, confidant and photographer. She was suddenly the only one to bring home the bacon. 7 young ones (from 6 months to 17 years) were fatherless overnight and she had to step up. She put aside her grieving heart and took to the lens- in the 1960s when a woman was far from welcome in what was then an almost exclusive men’s world. Irrespective of how little she had, there was always enough for a hungry stranger or a cousin in need. More than 40 years later, Palmira finally bade farewell to a teary family and a lifetime of good deeds. She left behind a legacy of love and photography.

Sara (name changed) a senior Syrian anesthesiologist had had enough back home. She took the toughest decision of her life and left behind a husband and two young ones. The refugee route was a sure shot goodbye to security, family and peace. Yet, the end of the road promised a far brighter future. Out set Sara on foot, by boat, by road and 4 months later, she entered Germany. The passion this doctor puts into her work is unbelievable. However, she admits that even in her most peaceful moments her mind is a raging beast, torn between two worlds. Sara must ace the difficult medical exams in German, land a job and only then can she hope to finally reunite the broken pieces of her heart.

Veena (name changed)  went through a horrifying marriage and domestic abuse. A woman of many talents, she studied law, taught in a school and opened her own beauty parlour. Life deserved to be pretty- inside and out. She used her creativity to finance a project for destitute women.  Through Veena, rape and abuse victims get justice, rehabilitation and a new chance at a better life. Today her organization has grown and helped thousands of troubled women. After a second marriage went sour, Veena didn’t lose heart. She found peace in her work.  Collecting shells at the beach and taking long drives in her car always did her wonders. At 71, she is a whirlwind of energy and looks not a day over 50.

Despite all they went through, I am sure these women had the power to simply put their feet up at the end of the day and say, “I am a warrior and I believe in me.”

Their secret? Rumi knew it centuries ago, “Wherever you are and whatever you do, be in love.”

I am honoured to be Veena’s friend, Sara’s german class colleague and Palmira’s granddaughter.

#sheisprecious #internationaldayofthegirlchild

 

Turning 30

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I woke up this morning, the 30th of June, with an unprecedented resolve to take stock of my life.

Doesn’t sound like me. At first I thought it must be the excess of beans I ate yesterday, bloating my brain with strange notions. But then I checked the date and realized that half of 2016 is over and out. Also, in 4 days I will waltz into my thirties. Hmmmm, maybe there’s some sense to this morning novelty after all.

Now, contrary to all I’ve heard about turning the dreaded 30, saying goodbye to the 20s and witnessing friends go berserk with the big third decade looming large, dark and too close for comfort; I must say I feel no panic. Is that unusual? I don’t seem to want to mourn the passing of my twenties. Some might say I’m in denial and that the shock will hit me later. Well, I will report again once I’m over the 30 fence and check if the pro-denial lot are worth their salt.

For now, I’m on the brink, the threshold, the horizon or whatever fancy word one may use to describe the state of being in-between. I decided to take stock the gratitude way. That which I didn’t feel grateful for, I filed under the “room for improvement” category. At the risk of sounding clichéd, here are random points in each section:

Gratitude:

  • To all those that have celebrated, cherished and loved me. Loved me enough to let me go because my sprouting wings were restless to fly. You know who you are.
  • For giving my once-in-a-lifetime love a chance and striking gold against odds of language, distance, culture, religion and countries.
  • For putting on my dancing shoes, flexing my writing muscle and striking my yoga asanas even when life threatened to rain on my parade.
  • To my basketball coaches and mates who believed in me even when my dribble withered and my shots fell three feet short.
  • For travelling through seven countries and exchanging treasures of experience with fellow seekers on the road.
  • To my fur babies that I’ve learnt so much from- Togo, Pluto, Patchy and Casper. See you soon someday.

Room for improvement:

  • You lose if you try too hard, especially with friends. The ones who want to stay will never go away even if you tell them to.
  • Life is crippling when other people’s opinions color your decisions and self-worth. In the end, the only one that matters is your own. Be true to yourself.
  • There’s always another point of view, if not ten. Yes, despite the fact that YOU do not see it.
  • You can’t tell someone how much they mean to you after they’re gone. Do it now, do it often.
  • There’s always something to be grateful for, no matter how low you think you’ve sunk.
  • Somebody is constantly cheering you on. A friend, a sibling, a colleague, a neighbor, the universe and the face in the mirror.

Maybe it was my coffee break by the lake (I confess, there was chocolate too) or my haircut (haircuts bring me inexplicable joy, should I be worried?) or even this introspection (which I pfffted at earlier today); but I feel pumped and eager to take on the 4th of July.

I decided to do it in a combination of ways that helps me truly grow- travel, love, trusting the goodness of people and recharging my inner child. My husband and I are driving off tomorrow to Amsterdam with a Mohammed and a Andrezej (through the BlaBla car service I find enthralling) who will share our ride and hopefully stories of their lives. We will stay at an Airbnb place, hosted by Lisa and her cat.

If I do cross your mind on the 4th, spare me a moment and send me a whispered wish. I will most certainly pick it up as I swirl in and out of Amsterdam’s famous coffee shops, if you know what I mean…..

I wait with bated breath, for my 30s are going to be wild, free and simply me.