Woman has been part of the world, with the human race, from the beginning of time. She is by no means a man’s source of recreation. But, the sagacious citadel of procreation. A woman’s constant and unvaried ministry is that which makes the word ‘Home’ the sweetest in the world. She is our guardian from cradle to grave.
Walking back with time.
A smiling matron carries a baby. It’s a girl, she coos while being placed in the pink laced cot, all in raptures. A woman begins to be suckled by another woman. Another addition to feminine gender with the famous 64, of you know what. She grows up in a cosy cauldron of gossip, make up, fashion and dolls. A mischievous little elfin. From an unforgettable childhood to vivacious adulthood. Likes to imitate the mother. Also, the ‘real star’ artiste appearing on the large and small screens. Pampered by a doting ‘thaththa’, whose dreams are shared with ‘Amma’, beautiful dreams about the future of their angel. Then, education becomes happy memories, with trophies for achievements in class and in the sports field, and begins to think of the future.
A proposal or a sweet love affair ends in wedding bells. A lovely white saree, exquisite jewellery, a heavenly bouquet of white flowers, she walks with her spouse, clad in a stylishly tailored dark suit. A slight digression here - “Thaththa why do brides always wear white?” |”Because duwa, white signifies purity” “Thanks”.
“Amma, then why do bridegrooms wear black?” Amma was silent. A woman will fly away from the home of her parents to build a new home or nest amid embraces, tears, confetti and waves. We remember with nostalgia the song of Mignonne Fernando...”Kaddalay un Kirillee”. Then the words of Leon Liris in his masterpiece “The Egyptian” - quote, “the greatest gift a woman can give to her man is her innocence, which she can give only once.” She then goes to live with another woman, the husband’s mother. The duel of the in-laws is common the world over. From a palace to a shanty by the pavement. Of course there are gems of in-laws whose names could be gilded in gold. Truly, if a woman can remember that a mother-in-law was once a daughter-in-law, then surely this obnoxious word – ‘in-law’ could be deleted from the dictionary.
The woman as a sister, becomes a symbol of care, and protection to her parents and all those younger in age. She, with an understanding spouse helps her family to expand by assessing those who are to join. Yes! She becomes a mother. Now, history repeats itself. A woman is in labour, pain mingles with joy. How true, ‘Le Kiri Kerala’. The family grows.
The woman takes over. She keeps the home fires burning. She becomes the “Home Central Bank”. She keeps awake in times of sickness, looking after the children under her watchful and affectionate care. She keeps a close watch on the activities of her offspring.
A woman as a professional and a heroine. We cannot forget Countess Cinchona who showed that the bark of a tree could yield quinine, the bitter medicine for the malaria infected world of yesteryear. Madam Curie gave us Radium. Florence Nightingale became an Institution by caring for those afflicted in the Crimean War. She became the lady with the lamp, and ushered into the world the nightingales of today, the angelic nursing sisters in caps. Grace Darling helps her father by waving a lantern from the lighthouse and guiding the ships at sea, when the lights went out in the lighthouse. Maria Montessori gave toddlers a unique system of understanding ABC and 1,2,3.
Next come our immortal authors. Daphne du Maurier’s ‘Birds’ and ‘Rebecca’. Jane Austen’s ‘Pride and Prejudice’. Margaret Mitchel’s ‘Gone with the Wind’, Rachel Carson’s, ‘Cry my Beloved Country, and ‘East Lynne’ by Mrs. Henry Wood are unforgettable works. Many have been translated to many a language.
Queen Viharamaha Devi bore us her famous son, Dutugemunu who made our ancient history glow with pride. His mother’s guiding words made him a righteous, brave and a sagacious monarch. His meritorious deeds excelled when he decreed that all citizens passing the tomb of a very ‘just’ king whom he had slain, should pay their respects to his opponent. Truly, the son of a woman of stature.
Our women were given the right to vote in the beginning of the 1930s. This was long before women living in many countries were permitted to use their franchise.
We astounded the world. A Guinness Record which made Madam Tussaud’s waxworks of London to erect a model of the world’s first woman Prime Minister – Mrs. Sirimavo Bandaranaike of then Ceylon.
A woman will be there ad-infinitum. The hand that rocks the cradle shall rule the world, in her own inimitable way.