BY MEGHNA PATTAVI
She mopped the room as she knelt on the floor. Her dark brown skin shone with the sweat that soaked her. Her feet were cracked and I wondered if they hurt.
Bali. She was my house help now for a long time. My support system.
“Didi, your tea cup is looking at you longingly,” she chided me and we both laughed. I flipped through the glossy pages of the magazine as I sipped my tea. There was an article that caught my attention. It spoke about powerful women. Sonia Gandhi, The Ambani women, Bollywood stars, Indra Nooyi and the likes. The hurdles these women overcame to become epitomes of power was written about.
I then looked at Bali. Widowed at a very young age she had five children to fend for. Her eldest son now in his twenties has been bed ridden since his birth. She earned her living doing household jobs and brought up her children. Isn’t she a powerful woman too? An example of women’s empowerment at its best.
“Didi,” she said as she shook me out of my reverie. “I need an advance of my salary,” she said hesitantly.
“I’ve just given you some money,” I said.
“I want two hundred rupees to buy a feeding bottle,” she said and it shocked me.
“Why in the world do you need a feeding bottle?” I asked .
She looked down. Shuffled her feet. ” Didi my sister died during childbirth and I’m adopting her baby girl,” she said.
The earth slipped from beneath my feet. Here a woman who had an uncertain future was willing to take a little baby in her care, whilst I was thinking twice about a few hundred rupees.
I suddenly felt so small, insignificant.
Power is a state of mind. A confidence to beat the odds.
A confidence I never had, in spite of my education.
Something she had with just her self-belief.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Meghna is a dentist by profession but a writer at heart. She normally likes to write stories that are are centered around people’s everyday feelings. Her belief in life is “some people feel the rain, others just get wet “.