Those who are regular readers of my blog would be familiar with Swati Maheshwari’s name. An amateur photographer of merit, her captures have adorned many of my posts. She blogs at ColeSwa, where she writes on everyday topics and shares her lovely captures. Her posts are simple and unpretentious with a unique perspective presented with firm conviction.
I especially love her photo features where she unravels the mystery of her subjects, be it Nature or an inanimate object or even humans. She is a committed environmentalist and practices what she preaches. But first and foremost she is a Sunshine person whose cheerfulness instantly puts a smile on my face. My young friend has since become my daughter, having married the younger one.
In her other avatar, Swati is a Communications Consultant, and co-founder at Rustic Art, the creators of an environment friendly and organic range of products. Recently, she got featured in the book Super Women – Inspiring stories of 20 women entrepreneurs. Her travel features have appeared in Economic Times and Hindustan Times, among other publications.
In this beautiful guest feature Swati pays rich tributes to the women of rural India, who remain on the periphery of social and economic development in spite of possessing vast untapped potential and constituting the majority of the female population of our country. I am presenting the updated post which she had done for me some years ago and which remains one of my favourites till date.
When I look at a woman, my mind is awhirl with questions that intrigue, tease and make me wonder about the thoughts that go on in her mind. What she is like, who she is in her life, the stories, the joys and sorrows that are etched in the lines of her face? She is not just a person, but an entire saga of life itself. As strange as it may seem, every woman is alike in a certain way and yet every woman is unique in her own way. Come with me on the journey of discovery of this wonderful being and her myriad fascinating facets.
The fragility, that speaks of strength. The puzzled eyes that have a strange calm. It’s hard to imagine what goes on in her mind, how she perceives the world and its ways. Maybe she is scared of what lies in store for her? Perhaps there is hidden strength that can endure everything that comes her way?
Life is a journey for her too – in fact she is at the very start of it. And a very adventurous one at that. She is unsure of her future, where it is headed – there are a million possibilities and destinations. Or maybe she knows exactly how it’s going to unfold – that’s how it’s always been, that’s how it will always be.
She is like a blank canvas, ready to be splashed on with varied hues. She is willing to absorb it all, and also aspiring to paint something beautiful of her own. She is restless, for she can’t wait to make the world her oyster!
She redefines beauty; beauty that is not confined to the blush, the foundation, the mascara and the powder. It’s her shy demeanor, her everyday ways of living that make her charming.
She is a bundle of tales, a trail of stories. Her life is a memoir. She has been a little girl – a young lady – a mother. Her life has changed over the years, her world hasn’t.
She is untutored yet willing to learn, to take on something new. She is a perfect bridge between the past and the present. She is an adept blend of old and new. So what if the new is something to be mastered? She is probably one of those who are not afraid of change. Unlike many of us.
Every wrinkle is a bittersweet testimony to the life she has lived through the years – playing different roles. And yet her life is an enigma. Has she lived a life of regrets, or one of adventure? A life full of love, or one of emotional deprivation?
She works tirelessly through the hot days. What could be her secret to work-life-balance? Does she ever wonder if she is in the right profession? That maybe she was born to do something else?
She looks at the world around her and absorbs everything into her curious mind. When she wonders about things she doesn’t completely understand, she lets them be. Sometimes she chooses to not question anything, often she doesn’t know what to ask. She will always belong to simplicity.
She thrives on faith; it is her strength and anchor. She believes in Him – an undying, unwavering belief. She lives on hope and a little fear too as she performs the ageless rituals – nothing should be changed, lest He is offended.
What matters to her the most are her loved ones, her family. She only confines herself to their wellbeing. That’s the purpose of her life, to give her very breath to them –- whichever role she dons during the course of her life — daughter, wife, mother, grandmother.
She is a bundle of contradictions — bold, yet soft; confident, yet unsure; dutiful, yet ready to break the rules; strong, yet willing to accept her destiny with grace. She is an epitome of contrasts. She is beautiful.
She is always a woman to me.