The Common Woman: Just Doing What It Takes


I have come across many a common woman – who does normal everyday things. If you meet them on your way, you won’t find anything extraordinary in them. They are just doing what it takes to keep going. They may not have become a rocket scientist or the CEO of a Fortune 500 company, but this Women’s Day I believe these common women are worth celebrating. Here are 3 such unacknowledged stories I would like to share with you today, while we all join in enjoying ‘Our’ day.

The Maid

She will walk past you and you will not even notice her. She is one of many maids who works in our community to keep it clean. She usually has a smile on her face, but her eyes get quite large and animated when she gets angry. She spends every Friday, her weekly off, not to visit the nearby temple, but to meet her little girl who is studying at an English-medium boarding school 50 km away.  She says, “my daughter cannot walk since birth. She needs to study well. My son is studying in Kannada medium only. Also, I can’t leave her safely at home. I am working here because I have to pay 3000 rupees to the school every month for her.” She looks quite proud.

The Widow

“20-21-23”: Those numbers had defined her life. She was married at 20, during her final year at college, had her first kid at 21 and second at 23. She was a homemaker and mother. Now at 40, in an accident, she has suddenly become a widow. Neither of her kids had completed their education, their savings weren’t as much as they had thought. Equipped with an obsolete education and little-to-no computer knowledge, her family connections managed to help her get a job as an assistant to an accountant in a small firm. Now, she has more numbers added to her life: at ‘43’, CA at ‘45’, and is going strong.

The Superwoman or that “Common” woman:

“I used to take tuition classes in the evening and clean the porches of our neighbors”, she declares in a matter-of-fact manner. Her work life started when she was 13. An alcoholic father meant her mother’s income wasn’t even enough for food. She never paid the fees on time at school and was ashamed of it. The biography of her life is simple: she went on to marry, brought up 2 kids, worked as a teacher, nursed her parents and parents-in-law when they were sick or old, cooked for a joint family, maintained a home and was the principal of a school. Now she travels often to the US, where her children stay to help them with the grandchildren. She is one among us, yet another common woman, also known as the “superwoman”.

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