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Shaaditimers » Member-contribution » Lifting-of-the-veil-050830
 
Lifting of the veil
When Neeta couldn't see her face in the mirror

As a writer I am often accused of seeing human beings as potential characters for a piece. I must confess that I often do that. And one thing that never ceases to amaze me is the identity of women. I know of women who are wives, who are mothers who are sisters, who are lovers but very few who are themselves. This inherent subjugation is almost second in nature. But Neeta changed it all. I was introduced to Neeta through a common friend. She was diminutive, pretty to look at and the grit in her eyes seemed to bore a hole in me. She worked with an NGO. I knew she had a story to tell me. So we sat in her apartment and I listened while she told.

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Neeta's Story
The rains fell silently. She was married off to a wealthy family when she was barely seventeen. She had raised her sisters and brothers after losing her mother at a young age. The rules of the family that she was married to were rigid and she covered her face with a ghunghat all the time. Her life pattern was simple. She cooked, she cleaned, she raised a son, graduated to wearing her reading glasses and removed two fibroids from her uterus. She had never stepped out of her cocoon and so she never experienced metamorphosis. The son stepped out to study and husband was immersed in his work. This was the time when Neeta realised with gnawing pain that she did not know who she was.

Breaking Free
She immersed herself more into household chores hoping and praying that the urge to learn who she is disappears completely. But it did not. Neeta looked at the mirror and could not see her face. The ghunghat covered her. She gingerly removed the ghunghat and that evening was branded as shameless by her in-laws. She stood ground. She began moving around the house without a ghunghat . The next step for self-realisation was identifying what she could do the best. Nothing came to her head other than cooking and cleaning. And all that was largely unappreciated. She spent days ruing the fact that she did not get a fancy degree. And then one day it struck that she was good at caring. There were thousands out there who wanted a little care.

A New Beginning
Neeta appraoched several NGOs who were willing to take her. At last she chose one, which needed her interaction with senior citizens. She explained to me the fear that enveloped her when she had to sit with management and business specialists for meetings. But she was an implementer and very soon she was travelling all over the state in ST buses meeting old men and women across. Neeta attained fulfillment and I could see that. She was working as a senior manager and handling a very special project. Her chutzpah was awesome. And then I wonder why can't each one of us experience that need to come out of the cocoon and metamorphise. The answer is the comfort in being trapped. It is high time that we shake our leg from the snare and resume our journey with dignity. Only then our lives will have some meaning.

Mini Nair
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