I was at a pub last night. Paid the bill, booked a cab and was waiting at the front porch. Cabby needed 10 more minutes to be there. I looked around and saw the lights of a small shop and decided to check if they served some tea.
Few people sitting around gossiping on the makeshift chairs — sharing tea and smokes. A girl, probably in her twenties, was behind the counter. This was a small shop with a few grocery items and served tea and smokes on the side. I was served a cup of tea on request and as I sat down sipping it, I overheard the conversation of these young men in the group. The so-called life talks begin and then it went something like this:
One of them pointing towards the shop said to another “If you don’t upgrade your skills and study well, you are going to end up like this girl.” [They laugh in unison.]
Very well knowing the fact that she can hear them, they opted to continue. The guy responds saying “I don’t know why she’s even doing this, these type of people should get their girls married off. Poor girl, selling tea and cigarettes in the middle of the night.”
Yet another guy pitched in saying “May be nobody wanted to marry her.” [Chuckles]
I was feeling awful by this time, slowly turning my head towards the shop to see if the girl was still there. She was there alright. Standing and sorting the boxes. Her face hid any emotion that might have been inside but yet I could see the uncomfortable body language.
I walked over to the counter and said “Hi”.
Very cordially she responded with a “Hello”.
I asked her name and she said: “I am Lakshmi”.
Then I asked her about her shop.
She told me, “it’s her father’s shop.”
Then with curiosity, I asked her “Why are you up at night? Shouldn’t you be closing?”
She told me “she generally take over from my father after 9 PM and run this till 1 AM or 2 AM”.
“What do you do in the day?” I asked.
Here comes the interesting part. I wasn’t ready for how she answered my question.
She replied, “I have been currently working as an Investment banker for a major bank for 4 years now.”
There it was pin drop silence. Me, them, her, the air everything seemed to stand still and her voice echoed in the vicinity. Booming into the ears of the young men who were staring at the utter disbelief of what they had just witnessed.
I was filled with pride. Not for that, she was working for JP Morgan but for the fact that how great she was and how she made everything look so easy. She might be pulling a salary much more than that the whole group combined and yet didn’t mind working at a small tea shop helping her father after work.
She was doing everything perfectly balanced. She is the epitome of the word “woman”. She is the real woman, not the feminazis or the ones advocating rights of the modern women. She was strong, bold, confident and courageous. This one scene can be an example of each of these words if you look closely.
I turn my head slowly towards the group with the same sarcastic smile that was on their faces a few minutes before. Oh, the look on their faces, unparalleled.
We talked for a few more minutes and then my super-late cabby arrived.
Both laugh, shake hands and bid adieu. The confidence was still reflecting in her handshake. I replayed the scene in my head, sitting in the cab. Once again filled with pride and joy for the fact that the real women are still out there, who can grab the world by the balls.
Pic credit: pinterest.com