a woman of substance

A few days back an acquaintance who is a jet setting honcho of a huge MNC was house hunting. He finally zeroed on a flat in an up up market district of our capital city. The rent a whopping 550 000 rs a month! Mind you it is not a bungalow, just a second floor in a building! Needless to say the rent is being paid by the company.

This afternoon N insisted on showing me her home. This is the place she is coming back to a few days after her hip joint replacement to recuperate. It is the tiniest of room in a tiny lane of a small middle class colony, with a sordid bathroom and a poky kitchen. She shares the room with a friend and once you lay out two mattresses on the floor there is no place to sleep. Yet it is her home, one she proudly shows. There is a TV, photographs on the wall, and little knickknacks which give it a welcoming appearance. She pays 2000 rs for it, a large chunk of her small salary!

N's story is one heart wrenching and one you would only think happens in the minds of fiction or script writers. But is also a story of hope as she has proved to one and all that one can survive the worst nightmare and came out of winner.

At an age when others still play with dolls she was abused and then came a spiralling descent to hell which for her was a heady cocktail of alcohol, drugs, and abuse of unimaginable proportion. Yet she came out of it a winner as she took on the task of helping her soul sisters follow her lead.

When she talks of her past, she does it without bitterness or anger, without acrimony or rancour; she has accepted it as a part of herself and one she had made peace with. She simply picked up the broken pieces of her life and wove them into a new life where hope and faith are the call of the day.

Her smile is infectious and her joie de vivre contagious. It is as if she has to make up for lost time and fill her life only light and joy. Looking at her you would not believe the pain she is and that she need a hip replacement that will cost the earth. She is just knows she has to get back on her feet as there is still so much to be done. She has left it to all God's angels and just carries on. And somehow I know the angels will appear in all shades and hues as when it is comes to a woman like N it just cannot be otherwise.

The morning I spent with her was one the most beautiful I have ever known as it renewed my faith in all that is good and kind. It also made me once again believe in the fact that no life is too wretched to give up on. As we shared a simple meal cooked by another woman whose childhood was usurped by predators under the watchful of eye of our personal angel Mr P, I felt at peace after a long time.

And when we finally stopped by that tiny little room, it somehow felt like the biggest castle as it was overflowing with dreams and aspirations waiting to be fulfilled.