And God Created Women

It all started with a march that took place in 1908. Thousands of garment workers went on strike, marching through the streets of New York demanding better pay and working condition. Four years later, in 1911, the first International Women’s Day was celebrated.  

Every 8th of March, across the globe, women stand together, fight for the end of discrimination and celebrate those who have achieved economic, social, cultural, and political success.

Yet, in some parts of the world and indeed in many households, women still face discrimination and inequality. While they perform the bulk of household duties, it is often the men who get special credit for the little they do.

My mother did not have a beautiful life. Growing up, I occasionally witnessed her feeling helpless, afraid, and insecure. I did not know why. No one asked, ‘What can I do for you?’. Instead, she was made to feel bad with ‘What’s wrong with you?’.

It is only after learning about myself while exploring areas that stunt me from growth, that I got a glimpse of what would have been my mother’s despair. Through a long emotional process, I have learned to get through the feelings of helplessness and sadness. It is a constant battle, fighting not to be sucked in by the negative energy of others.

Not only was she a wife and mother, but for many years she was the main breadwinner. On top of childcare and household chores, she provided us with basic material needs such as food, shelter, and clothing. She was a proud woman who never asked for help. She portrayed herself as a strong woman when she was probably on the brink of despair. She gave up her independence dedicated her life to the ones she loved.

Why didn’t she challenge the discrimination and inequality she must have felt? Her sole purpose was to love and guide her children and stand behind her husband. She inspired us to go to great lengths to attain our potential. Did she struggle with mental health? I have not a single doubt though she hid it well.

My mother laid the foundation for the person I have become, through her hard work and selflessness. I cannot thank her enough for the love and support over the years; for working so outrageously hard to give me a life worth living. She should have been celebrated every single day, not just on Mother’s Day. She should have been celebrated for being an exceptional woman, a jewel, a rare pearl.

On 14th of March, it is Mother’s Day in the UK. While I will be celebrating the bond that I have with my children, I will also take a moment to think of the one woman who dedicated her life to motherhood. A beautiful soul who was never celebrated as a woman. My role model, my mother.

“Each time a woman stands up for herself, without knowing it possibly, without claiming it, she stands up for all women.” – Maya Angelou

“There’s power in allowing yourself to be known and heard, in owning your unique story, in using your authentic voice.” – Michelle Obama

To my mother, the woman God created. Happy Women’s Day. Happy Mother’s Day

Let Your Light Shine

The Festival of Lights, also known as Diwali, starts this weekend for a duration of five days. It is celebrated by Hindus, Sikhs, and Jains around the world, to commemorate the triumphs of light over darkness. In other words, a celebration of good over evil, knowledge over ignorance and hope over despair.

“Your word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” – Psalm 119:105

As a child, I was mesmerised by rows and rows of small clay lamps. I did not know, that not only did they light the homes and yards of my neighbours, but also the hearts of the communities. The rich smell of incense and the aroma of sweet and savoury delicacies bonded different religions and cultures together. We became one community with one objective: Fellowship.  Of course, all I was interested was to tuck in a platter of delicious gulab jamuns, laddoos, barfis and halwas.

“Light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it.” – John 1:5

Diwali is an example of a time to reflect on our thoughts and actions. In 2020, we have been faced with unexpected challenges. We have gone through illness, isolation, job losses and death of someone close to us. Often our lives have been taken over by fear and anxiety. Depression has made us hopeless. Our self-belief has disappeared.

When we lose hope, we forget that we have a light within us that never dies. We forget that we have the power to overcome darkness. We stop loving. We stop smiling. We stop living. The only thing that stops us is ourselves when we wallow in sadness and self-pity. We must overcome self-destruction and reach out for the light. We must let go of our negative tendencies.

Arise, shine for your light has come

When we tap into our spirituality, we become aware that we can change our way of thinking. It is like turning on a light in a darkened room. The darkness disappears. And as the light appears, it clears out all the negativity within. It fills us with peace and positive energy. We let go of fear and judgement and welcome faith, hope and love.

Be the Light That Help Others

On World Day of the Poor, Pope Francis wrote on Twitter:

“The ability to stretch forth our hand shows that we possess an innate capacity to act in ways that give meaning to life.”

It is a sign that speaks of closeness, solidarity, and love. It is also an inspiration to better understand some of the initiatives that have been taken to offer concrete support and help to families who find themselves in objective difficulty.

So, today, be the light for someone who could be hurting. Reach out to them and bring them comfort and hope. Enrich their lives with love. People are attracted to others who radiate light. Let us not be selfish and hold on to the light for ourselves, like lighting a lamp and put it in a cupboard. Instead, set it on the table for it to give light to everyone around.

“A smile is the light in your window that tells others that there is a caring, sharing person inside.” – Denis Waitley