Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Living in Courage

Living in courage is such a beautiful phrase, full of meaning. I know women who live like that. Every day.

M, a dear friend, is one of them. She is a firecracker of a girl, pint-sized. Always dressed to kill. Wears the highest heels, favours huge, retro sunnies and rocks animal prints. And yes, she colour coordinates everything--from her eyeliner to her bracelet, her lipstick to her nail polish.

M has been working since she finished college. Because one fateful holiday, her father and sister drowned in front of her eyes. They were vacationing in Goa then. M and her sister got caught in a rip tide. Their father jumped in to save them. She ended up breaking the news to her mother.

Her mother, like many women who were married off pretty young, is a housewife. Her life revolved around her home, husband and children. She never ventured out on her own. Then everything she was familiar with, collapsed around her.

That was nearly 13 years ago. M was a young girl then, on the cusp of womanhood. She was a total Daddy's girl, she told me. "I was never close to my mom." She had to grow up fast and swallow her own pain, dreams and desires and learn to comfort her mother. First she learnt to drive. Then she got a job, ironically enough, in the travel industry. Now, M is her mother's best friend, only support as well as the family breadwinner. She opened a bank account in her mother's name and got her an ATM card. They go shopping together, explore restaurants together.

Last year, M took her mother abroad for the first time. Her mother used to be scared of holidays and of travelling. Now, the two women plan to do one big foreign trip a year--together. 

M has other relatives of course, but they don't really know how to help. And most are nonplussed by this gutsy 30-something young woman who drives her own car and cares a fig for what others might say about her clothes, her style, or the way she lives her life.

Sometimes when I'm utterly depressed, I think of M. She has overcome the greatest of tragedies and keeps on smiling.

She lives in courage.