‘You are looking beautiful today’, she said. Another young colleague remarked, ‘Oh! that kohl is suiting your eyes so well’. And that ponytail is wondrous’. Indeed you’re growing smart’.
I smiled and felt satisfied in the heart of hearts that the people are acknowledging change in my looks.
These very people have always jeered at me for my ill-fitted clothes that are never perfect for a lactating woman, my wild, uncivilized looks that never defined my lips, eyes or brows using a lip or an eye liner, for my hurriedly done hair-dos and for a steady lamentation for lack of time as I am a mother of two kids and all the more my total neglect for matching ear-rings, footwear or handbags. I felt so ignored and ashamed at times that I often took refuge in some dark, silent corner, hiding my pain and shame under some cheerful, jingling song and jovially accepting one thing that my husband and kids love me the way I am.
The sad realization of unwomanly touch remained and with the passage of time, I started spending some time on presenting myself as a female to the society, I am working in. My younger son, who is now a toddler cries at every speck of kohl I add to my eyes, at every touch of talcum I give to my cheeks and at every pin that I tuck in my hair for these are minute reminders that soon his mother will be leaving him by going out to work.
The society has once more overpowered me. I, afraid of mocking comments and jeering looks, worked hard to earn praise for my looks at the cost of tears that roll down my darling’s eyes.