I am a woman: A story by Saravjot Hansrao


The shrill alarm pierced the calmness of dawn like the cry of a hungry toddler wanting the mother’s attention.

Picturesque Dehradun……..

Mithila was quick to respond and shut the alarm earnestly despite her stiff knees unwilling to relent. Nothing had deterred her, not even the constant nagging for having borne two daughters. The caviling was persistent, but her determination to raise empowered women was the tenet of her existence. She withstood patriarchal onslaughts like a ship beating the stormy waves amidst a lashing ocean, determined to drown her dreams. Neha and Maya, her daughters were raised to believe in themselves, to have dreams and walk towards them, undaunted by the hurdles of societal fixations with genders. Mithila, smiled as she walked towards the phone to wish her elder daughter, Neha on her 25th birthday. “How could I give up? I am a woman, born to raise more like me!”  


Mystical Mumbai……….

Neha woke up in a muddled state, almost tumbling over the heap of toys at her bedside before reaching the alarm. “Oooffff”, she cringed. “Single mother at this age” eyebrows had been raised but nothing had deterred Neha from this decision to adopt Maanya, an abandoned new born. Having been raised by a woman of conviction, it wasn’t difficult for Neha to firm up her resolve. “Remember, it is you who is answerable to yourself. You have to convince yourself and no one else for it is you who shall face the outcome of the decisions you take” her mother Mithila had said. Today as Neha breathed in the humid air, she felt a sense of gratitude towards the universe. She hadn’t wanted marriage but she definitely wanted to raise a woman to make a difference in someone else’s life, the way she had been raised. Thus was born her decision to adopt and she felt elated as the quite murmur of her daughter brought a smile to her face. “I had to make a difference, after all I’m a woman, born to change perspective”, she spoke out loud to the universe.

Suburban Mumbai……..

Anita’s hands searched the bedside table to silence the shrieking alarm clock. Balancing her feeble self, she tried to get to the glass of water on the table beside the bed. It seemed as painful as having to let go of a piece of herself….her baby girl, all of two weeks, left to fend for herself. Tears rolled down her pale cheeks as she remembered the curse of being pushed into the flesh trade. Learning of her pregnancy, she was determined to save the life inside her from being repressed. At the first sign of labor, her close friends had bundled her off to a trusted place. All along she had said to herself, “I can’t give up, I’m a woman and I have to safe this life.” The baby was born healthy, but she had no choice other than to leave her at an orphanage.