Atelier Diva: Work, Play, Love
Fifty shades of courage
December 22, 2021 COMMENT comment
Fifty shades of courage
Meenu Mehrotra(Author of Sunlit Hearts)
Adear friend of mine, let’s call her Deepa, got married at 18 to a man seven years older. She still recalls how she would leave all the lights of the house switched on when Vivek travelled because she was too scared to sleep alone. And this was a regular feature till she turned 42. With a son (Rohit) in her lap before her 19th birthday, Deepa turned into a full-time wife and mother on pure instinct. Sensitive, selfl ess, and a diehard romantic, Deepa held herself together in a marriage where her hubby did not have enough time or emotional energy to sustain her. She saw duty in everything, unfailing in her various roles as wife, mother, daughter-in-law, daughter. She was more passionate about the dust on the furniture than the poetry in her heart. She would put romantic notes in Vivek’s bag or shirt pocket- "This is me, keep me close to your heart" – 
and planned surprises for him every night. She craved for his attention and time.
As she watched her son grow from a little boy to a man, she also realised her own need to be, growing strong. But she focused her energy on bringing up her only child and when Rohit married his long-time girlfriend, Sonita, Deepa’s life seemed to come full circle. She went through a certification course to become an Aura Analyst and started her practice. It nourished her and for the first time she was truly happy and fulfilled.

So when her husband decided to move to Nigeria for a new assignment, Deepa decided to stay back in India. The decision shocked everyone but she stuck to her guns, refusing to put an end to a new life. Her daughter-in-law Sonita rued the decision as she had wanted to be alone with her young husband. Sonita resented Deepa’s presence. It pained Deepa to see her new life break apart. No one saw Deepa struggling with her own loneliness. Sonita accused her mother-in-law of being ultra-modern, selfish, of abandoning her hubby, and of not being a typical mother. Deepa was shattered but she took a tough decision. Her son and his wife were asked to vacate the house and Deepa moved to Nigeria to give the kids enough time to find a new place. She plans to be back in India soon and pursue her practice.

I admire her resilience and tenacity to get what she wants from life without any maternal guilt pangs plaguing her heart. Deepa found her calling late in life – after becoming a wife, mother and a mother-in law, but does that make her purpose any less important or powerful? A woman, who keeps her dreams on hold for raising a family and nurturing a marriage, has to be doubly appreciated and valued for making a courageous, informed choice. It’s not easy to forgo your dreams at a young age for an organic role as a wife and mother. How many young girls today can or would make that choice?

Deepa's story reiterates the fact that age is no bar for dreams and that mothers deserve compassion, especially from their kids. It’s high time we asked ourselves: Why are mothers supposed to be perfect caricatures of devotion, sacrifice and selfless love? Why can’t kids be truly modern to realise that mothers are not gods and they have emotions and dreams of their own?

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