I am one of those people who has always frowned upon Women’s Day. I have always wondered why make so much of a fuss on Women’s Day, what is the significance of this celebration? I am a recent convert to the celebrations. Let me give you a bit of a back ground to this.
My choices in life have not always been conventional. Back in the 90s, my first job was in sales in the lovely city of Bangalore. My family was shocked at my choice and my friends found it weird that I would consider taking up the job and dismissed it saying, I would realise it was a folly and quit in few months. Well, as it turned out, no such thing happened, I enjoyed my work and made some great friends. I was the only woman in sales in entire south India, but that did not make things difficult for me because I fitted in with ease. It may have helped that I grew up with 2 brothers but then again, I had always studied in an all-girls school and college. Whatever the reason, I got busy with work and lost touch with most of my women friends from school/college.
I made very good friends at work and all were men. I could easily sip cutting-chai while they took countless smoke breaks and soon both they and I forgot whatever gender differences existed. Work was such that I had no social life outside of it. I met my partner in crime, in my first job and he was absolutely fine with me hanging out with my friends who were all men. This actually gave me wings because I did not have to worry about how my parents would be answerable to xyz uncle and aunt. I continued to thrive in sales and moved to Mumbai after marriage. Again, I was one of two women in sales in a telecom company. Initially I was taken aback by the language used, addressing each other with BCs and MCs and while all the gaalis was something I had never seen before, there was no special consideration for language used in front of me. Soon I got used to it. I competed, fought and made friends who still stand me in good stead.
At the end of a corporate career spanning 16 years, all my friends were male and my only female interactions outside the family was with their spouses. They even made fun of me saying I would not know how to interact with women and make engaging conversations to save my life. I believed so too, and was blissfully happy with very few women as friends. When I finally gave up my job to start something on my own, my interactions were limited to the families of my friends over the years and soon I was part of the women’s group where I enjoy the company of the wives while my husband talked shop with my ex-collegues who are now more his friends than mine.
That’s when also something magical happened, I was suddenly exposed to moms of my children’s classmates, all thanks to Whatsapp. There has been no looking back ever since, I have had such a wonderful experience interacting with women. I have not come across any one back-biting or any negativity in the last few years. On the contrary I see us celebrate the victories of everyone, recognise that each of us have a different challenge and support and motivate each other.
What started with just spouses of ex-colleagues and school moms has now mushroomed into so many separate sets of friends – the fitness training group, the financial planning fraternity, I am now back in touch with my college friends. Life would not have been so joyous and secure if it weren’t for you. I now know how special these friendships are and recognise that this is an absolute necessity to keep my sanity and keep looking ahead.
A big thank you to all you women who have included me in your lives and accepted me for what I am. If camaraderie, unconditional acceptance, lack of envy and genuine warmth doesn’t deserve to be celebrated, then I don’t know what is worthy of a celebration. Cheers to many more years of togetherness and celebrations!