Yet another International Women’s Day is here. I know that celebrating one day can be merely tokenism. It doesn’t bring about any real change. But I also believe, it is a good idea to dedicate the day to express gratitude to someone who has made a difference, to thank her for inspiring you in some way, and for making your life better and richer.
So today I want to express my gratitude to the “ordinary humans” around me who have inspired me in extraordinary ways. And as I look around me, I find many that have impacted me in small and big ways.
To be fit and agile in later years, I was inspired by a lady in her 70s to pick up my running shoes. And she runs in her sari! Her quiet determination and peace within herself when she walks and runs every morning, is an aspiration for me.
Impacting the community and bringing everyone together as a family, is my neighbour. Her energy and enthusiasm, to ensure that the adults and children in my housing complex get together and have fun, is infectious. She has inspired me to be more involved with people in my surroundings and do something with the community.
A friend whose FB feeds are legendary. They educate me with, sometimes thought provoking, sometimes quirky, sometimes practical and other times outrageously funny ideas, and it makes me want to learn more and be keenly observant on various topics.
To always see the positive in all things, to pause and admire the various interesting shapes in the clouds and vegetables, to always be childlike, and to have a sense of humour, from my mother.
To dream big and pursue it persistently is something that I admire in my hairstylist. I wrote about her last year, and now I see she has not just one salon but 2 more. She inspires me to be determined despite the ups and downs.
A friend who overcame depression, and today is writing a book to help others who hesitate to seek help. I admire her courage to fight a societal taboo and make herself stronger from the experience.
To always be open to learning something new, from my 80 year old neighbour who is now preparing for her PhD in Sanskrit, a language she started learning only in her late 60s! To be intellectually engaged at any age is an inspiration indeed.
Passion and spontaneity from a friend who took a 10 hour flight to watch her favourite pop group’s concert and return the same day. She made me ponder about the things that I am passionate about.
Courage to step out of the restrictive social norms from my mother in law’s maid, who decided to leave her abusive husband and start a life of her own with her children. She gives me hope about women who can think for themselves.
Ability to rebuild oneself despite setbacks, from a friend who suffered a poor marriage, but built herself into an ace photographer in just a few years with her non-conformist style and thinking.
Aspiration to shine and break the glass ceiling from every young woman in the leadership programs my company runs. I draw energy from them.
Relentless pursuit of perfection in music, and immense patience to teach my son music over long distance, from my sister in law, I learn selflessness and dedication.
Clarity of thinking, efficiency of language, simplicity of communicating complex ideas and an undying spirit to make people pain free, from my posture guru, to whom I owe my transformation to a healthy life. I am truly grateful to her.
As I started writing, I realized I have a long list. Despite being a person who socializes very little, I can spot so many women around me who make a difference to someone. And just one day wouldn’t be enough to offer my gratitude to them. But I am glad that at least today “stopped my world” and made me think about them.