Rediscovering Self

                                                     

                     REDISCOVERING SELF                        


As she crossed the threshold, the world opened its doors for her. The battle won, now she had to brave the world. The bright sun welcomed her; the pleasant breeze gave her a fresh lease of life. The first step will take her on a journey into a world of opportunities, of liberty, of new responsibilities. Her aspirations, dreams beckoned her. She spread her wings to soar in the open skies. She was her own companion now. She had defied the man’s world to create her own!  

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Reet’s joy knew no bounds when the Civil Services results were declared. She had cleared the mains! It was her life ambition to be an IAS officer. Her dream was coming true.

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With pride in her heart, head held high she walked into her office. Ms.Reet, Sub Divisional Magistrate, the name board was not only her achievement but also a gentle reminder of her role. It was not a fancy job, along with the designation came responsibilities and duties, which would test her competence and integrity. It was not to prove to the world but to render service, and she believed in it.

The most challenging task was to deal with her male counterparts and subordinates, who showed their reluctance to take orders from her. The reluctance gradually became resistance and sometimes they would show their displeasure of having a lady officer monitoring, supervising their work.

It was a known fact that women weren’t accepted as superior officers and it hurt the male ego. But she did not expect the open hostility. Though she treated them courteously her colleagues, nurtured a grudge against her.

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Her first encounter with dishonesty and corruption left her shattered. She knew well the value of the chair and respected the trust vested in it.

She devoted time for acquiring the minutest details of all land registrations, verifying the authenticity of documents to signing. Her job responsibilities were akin to God’s orders; she felt she was not just doing her duty towards the country but also the custodian of human rights of individuals, the not-so-fortunate.

Land dealings, settlements, SC/ST certificates, each one had a rate. It was a common practice among the other officials to take bribe and get things done in their favor. Reet’s disciplined approach stung them. She kept such officials at an arm’s length and monitored their work.

This led to many conflicts and she tried to resolve these issues without further rupture. Everything looked smooth and efficient, at the outset, but she did sense uncanny silence in the office.

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Her marriage with Susheel was another “landmark” in her life. A family with a traditional outlook, bur accepted her as a member of their family. Susheel was an understanding husband and was quite a helpful person. Her frequent tours, late office hours led to some kind of dissatisfaction in the family. That was the beginning of the end!

Under parental pressure, Susheel suggested that she should resign. She knew it coming.

“Susheel I do understand that your parents are under societal scanner and feel that daughter-in-law should devote time for household work and the family. Together we can overcome this challenge….” she tried to persuade.

“ I am helpless in this matter. We can’t ignore their opinion of a loyal, trustworthy daughter-in-law. Of course, they knew your qualifications and designation, the responsibilities of your job, but in the present situation, your presence is very much required. I can’t go against their wishes.”

The tug of war continued…. endlessly. Both the work front and home front suffered. She was questioned by the higher officials; at home unpleasant situation prevailed; she felt was at crossroads of her life. Should she give up on her aspirations or continue with her job? Her dilemma deepened each day as she fought a battle within.

The storm at home was unmanageable and his fury was on the rise as the days passed. Now it was a question of prestige and ego. His male ego was hurt, and the volcanic eruptions turned into a physical assault. Reet, decided to resign and save her marriage.

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“Madam, we are so proud of you. Your name has been suggested for promotion. Congratulations”

Reet’s dilemma deepened.

“Susheel, I am due for a promotion. Let us reconsider ……”

A tight slap was his enraged reply.

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“Women are the largest untapped reservoir of talent in the world.” Hillary Clinton

“ As I quote Hillary Clinton I have questions in my mind, unresolved! Empowerment of women? For decades we have been hearing this slogan. What is empowerment?

Giving the same status, treating women equality, providing equal opportunities, safeguarding their health, and giving them due respect. The value of women has been undermined and they have been looked upon as objects. Empowerment is not just providing Constitutional Rights, it is bringing back the lost glory, respect, and honor.

"The Hand That Rocks the Cradle Is the Hand That Rules the World" William Ross Wallace

Isn’t it true that a woman has multiple roles to play in society? As a daughter, wife, and mother? If she can nurture and groom a child she can also bring about a change in the society either through her contribution to the well being of the nation or through her professional acumen.

The power of women has existed from time immemorial, undeniably she is the force that brings about change in society. Then isn’t it ironic that today we are asserting about re-establishing her entity?

Time and again her dignity has been ravaged; honor razed.. She has been imprisoned in the name of tradition and culture. But now the time is ripe. Let us be aware of our abilities, skills, knowledge. Let us be proud of being women. Let there be no regret for being born a woman.

I have fought a battle and have asserted my identity as an individual. I don’t mean to belittle anyone, but it is equally important that we don’t allow our male counterparts to humiliate and nullify our existence.”

“Today as I stand here on this platform, addressing the young and the old, my only aim is to reiterate the power in us to transform and create a comparatively honest society. Corruption ridden society is the biggest threat to internal security and growth. Let us come together to reconstruct a society that values women, respects them and treats them with dignity.”

My journey has been a challenging one but a successful and satisfying one. Join me on my journey.”

Ms. Reet, the Additional Collector, paused and looked around. Thousands of women awaited their journey from oblivion to recognition!

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