My Feisty Warrior Woman




She picked up the cleaver and sliced the hand slithering inside through the metal bars. The robber's fingers fell on her bed, a puddle of blood slowly staining the pristine white sheet. The robber's hand had disappeared but his shrieks still rant the still night air. She trembled with repulsion at the sight of blood, yet she managed to pick up her sleeping children-thankfully unaware of the bloodbath-with firm hands. She peeled away the blood soaked bed sheet and mattress, threw a clean sheet on the bed and carefully laid the children on it.
It was the pre-independence era. Her husband was a senior employee in the railway department in a town in Multan province, now in Pakistan. Whenever he had a night duty, he would send home a peon at night to bring his glass of milk. But that night the peon was on leave and hence her husband had drunk milk before leaving for his night duty. The robber who had been observing the daily routine of the man-of-the-house for some days, obviously didn't know this. An hour after the man left his home, the robber knocked at the window just as the peon used to do and asked for the glass of milk. The woman was startled to see a new face and realized immediately his ploy to make her open the door. Keeping her cool she tried to shut the window. The robber punched the wooden door and tried to break it.
The woman swiftly picked up the razor sharp cleaver from under her pillow and with a swish of her wrist, the man's fingers were slashed.
She had always been like that-bold and brave yet calm and collected-even in her teenage years.
A free bird, once she had stealthily slipped outside her home at dusk when females were not allowed to step out. As she strolled along the narrow alley, she heard some strange guttural sounds from the stable in her neighborhood. Unafraid, she slipped inside and called out who was there. A man was trying to unfasten the cord around the neck of a mare. Startled by her call, he challenged her with a knife but she was not to be terrified. She picked up a stick and beat the thief with it forcing him to abandon his plan of taking away the mare.
In an era when women hardly ever went out alone, she would boldly travel without her husband from Lahore to Quetta and later from Delhi to Bombay (then) even taking her six children with her.
It was during one such travel that she was threatened by a goon inside the train and her thick round bangles were snatched. Undeterred by his threats, she slapped him tight and took her bangles back. On reaching home her children narrated her brave act to her family members. While some lauded her bravery, some elders scolded her for being so audacious and putting her and her children's lives in jeopardy for a couple of gold bangles. She retorted nonchalantly that the bangles were not even gold, they were brass bangles worth hardly a dime and that she had in fact kept her gold bangles safe in her tijori. When she was questioned by the shocked elders why then she bothered about the brass bangles, she replied with pride that it was just a matter of her self-esteem...nobody dare mess with her and get away so lightly.

She was truly an inspiration for women in her own family as well as others. My Nani, Mom and Maasi-all are strong women in their own unique ways yet reflect the influence of her mighty legacy, her genes in many ways.

She was my great grandmother-fearless, firebrand and feisty-a true warrior woman.


When a Greek pirate ship sails in to loot the wealth of the Cholas, it is brutally defeated by the navy and forced to pay a compensation. A payment that includes a twelve-year-old girl, Aremis. Check out this new historical novel Empire (http://bit.ly/DeviEmpire) with a warrior woman, Aremis at the heart of the novel. 

Author's Note: This post is my tribute to my great-grandmother as part of the blogathon about #WarriorWomen by #Women'sWeb in association with #JuggernautBooks.

Comments

  1. wonderful!!so nice to see words like warrior and brave being used for women, and that too more than 50 years back, when we thought women were in the purdah, cloistered and home bound, and homely, soft and needing protection etc its all in the mind and how we respond to situations. while protecting her brood every woman is and has been a warrior!!

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    1. Agree with you, Archana. It's all there in the mind. We have a rich history of warrior women in India and my great grandma was one such brave women who refused to be bogged down by any such situation. You are no less a warrior yourself, fighting for women and children. Thank you for taking time out to read and leave a comment too. :)

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