I believe that every woman is a warrior in her own way. She fights her battles in her own ways- many fight their own fears, many deal with their inner self to grow better, many fight the social stigmas against them, many also fight the injustice and judgemental society around them. All these women are warriors in my eyes. I salute and respect each one for taking charge of themselves, yet I choose to mention one woman of courage today as I believe she has an important role to play in my life. This tale of mine is for real, a warrior woman who I also love to address as a ‘woman of strength, an epitome of power’. More than a hero, she is a ‘shero’ to me for coping with all the odds. I will share who she is to me in the end because most importantly, she’s a ‘warrior woman’ above all the other relationships she has in her life! She was married just like any other normal girl would, living in the then small town, she weaved her dreams along to get married to a soldier. Her husband was a true gentleman, an army officer who she truly admired and looked up to. They were happily married for almost six years, being blessed with two sweet boys who were the apple of their eyes. Life was as rosy as they thought but ofcourse with work on his mind, the husband would sure keep busy and occupied serving his country with pride. He got less time to spend with his family but everytime he got some, he made sure to make it most memorable for them.
It wasn’t very long when, there came a day in their lives and the officer had to set on the border for that was his real calling. Like any other soldier, a true patriot and love for his motherland, he too marched ahead with complete valour, undeterred and strong as a rock. His wife told him only one thing before letting him go and that was to ‘fight like a lion’. One can imagine the plight of a soldier’s family, with a marriage so young and children even younger, but that’s what is a soldier’s life all about. He forged ahead on his mission. Days and nights went by and he would hardly get to contact his family because of the extreme locations he was in and in those days, technology also wasn’t as developed as it is today. Moreover, they do not have the time to even think of their loved ones because the only feeling of fighting for their nation remains strong ingrained in them. Whenever the lady heard the phone ring, she would tremble with fear but has to keep strong for she had to look strong for her kids until one day when the worst news broke. He was martyred. She couldn’t believe it. It felt like the sky had fallen, it felt like her life had shaken; she was shattered and lost herself completely. Survived with a wife and two young children as young into their toddler hood. What can one imagine at this moment in life?
Just like any other soldier’s family, she had to muster courage too, she had to cope with the worst of the challenges that she had encountered with life. A tragedy that cannot be forgotten for a lifetime. But like they say, life must go on. He was a brave officer, fought wars for his nation, protected his country selflessly. She thought of how courageously he fought the enemies and now, here she was who needed to fight her own trauma for her children. She now had to raise two children, doubling up her role. It has been more than thirty long years now and like they say time heals but I believe that time doesn’t heal, it just helps one to cope with time. One sure has their good days and bad days but one learns to cope. What else can one do but accept the bitter truth. It definitely wasn’t easy to see life shatter before her eyes, even after so many long years, it is not easy. She understood how nobody can help her in this other than she, herself. This was her battle.
Days and nights started haunting, but she was brave to overcome her fears and grief. She then decided to shift to the capital to give her children the best of education. A lady who was once leading a very comfortable life, never worked though highly educated, now had to work double the effort for her children and she did. From a protected army environment to a drastic new civil environment, it has not been a smooth sailing for sure. Starting life from scratch, setting an example, giving the best of world’s to her children, right from the best education to a worthy lifestyle, she did it all with grace and dignity. Kids were sent to the best of the schools, did very well.
Though army is always with the family while the officer is on duty, but the martyrs’ families are not seen anywhere after he’s gone. They just disappear once the officer attains martyrdom. The army reaches out to the martyr’s families only on certain occasions when they were called and honoured for their husband’s services. Though not deliberately but life is so monotonous that the wives and families are forgotten soon after the soldier’s martyrdom. It really moves me to see how she, as a young mother, with two small children, was trying to cope with life. Being a widow in India is not easy; it is tough to overcome the stigma. Life is such that she may come to terms with the loss but the society will not allow her to be her own self.
In initial years, it was definetely tough for her to manage and work all by herself managing kids at home. She started working as a manager in a five star hotel for couple of years, then slowly moved on to print media and gradually with her hard work, willpower, escalated to as ‘media manager’ for a renowned newspaper. She continued to give all her prestigious service for 26 long years with this one organization who recognizes her work and appreciates the dedication. She is a real hero, a woman of grit. While she did this, she also realised how important it is to share the skill she has with her own people. She even started taking English classes and educative sessions for war widows in her free time. She also encouraged them to pursue a passion so it helps them cope better with reality.
She’s not a survivor, she’s a warrior. Today, she’s leading a happy retired life with her children, one of whom is a great doctor and the other has proudly joined the forces to serve his nation, following his father’s foot steps. Not that she’s forgotten how her life has been, but her bravery has held her strong and let her live life on her own terms, holding her head high as she ages gracefully. All she has to say to the people of her country is that, “Terrorism has always been bleeding India. It is bleeding our brave soldiers and costing their lives, many of whom departed even before their hair turned grey. But this shouldn’t be seen as a mark of weakness of our soldiers. She relates to every woman who’s lost her husband to this motherland. She wants to tell them to follow their passion for this is the only way you can heal your wounds and live for your family. Be strong, be courageous. It is the cause, not the death, that makes the martyr”.
Finally, I want to share that strong women need not declare that they can carry all the burden in life, they just do it quietly and survive with a smile – my heart swells with pride to call this strong lady my ‘Mom-In-Law’. I’m absolutely blessed to have her. She’s an inspiration for me and many to follow. Through her story, I believe that’ Warriors are not made and not even born but they create themselves through trial and error, pain and suffering and their ability to conquer their own fate. Cheers to every single woman warrior battling her odds in her own ways!
Note: The name of this brave officer, his rank and details of war and family have not been disclosed for all obvious and understood reasons.
Read about one such great historical woman warrior here:
When a Greek pirate ship sails in to loot the wealth of the Cholas, it is brutally defeated by the navy and forced to pay a compensation. A payment that includes a twelve-year-old girl, Aremis. Check out this new historical novel Empire (http://bit.ly/DeviEmpire) with a warrior woman, Aremis at the heart of the novel.