#blogprompt A Beautiful heart with a thoughtful mind!
"Behind every strong independent woman lies a broken little girl who had to learn how to get back up and never depend on anyone." - trending quote on Instagram
"Are you all set, Ma?" Keertan asked his mother, Shalini.
"Yes, how do I appear?" Shalini tapped Keertan on the shoulder and asked.
"You still look the best, Ma," Keertan said as he embraced her and made his way to the front door.
"Have you prepared your speech yet, Ma? Who are you going to attribute your work to?" Keertan inquired as he drove.
Shalini grinned as she gazed out the window. Many of the events were still vivid in her memory.
After 25 years, she now was left wondering how she had managed to do so. She vividly recalls the day her husband abandoned her for another woman. He had described her as illiterate and unattractive. His new wife, he said, was a beauty with a brain. She had all of the virtues he desired in a wife.
Shalini had to return to her maternal home in a remote town.
Her days ahead were not pleasant. All in the village mocked her for being so unattractive and illiterate. Because of her father's early demise, she could not finish her education and was married off at a young age. Raghu, her husband, had married her for the dowry but had never acknowledged her as his wife.
Her brother and wife had moved to the city.
They had no desire to keep Shalini with them. Her mother succumbed to her long-term illness after a few months. Shalini was now all alone in the world. She was in shambles, but she had to get up and shine. She desired to be self-sufficient and productive.
She had read in the papers about an increase in the adulteration of vegetables and fruits in urban areas. Shalini had figured out how to be self-sufficient. She had always enjoyed going to the farms with her dad. She had witnessed him choosing crops based on the season, planning the land for planting, selecting and sowing the seeds, ensuring proper irrigation, using correct fertilizers, and harvesting the yield.
She began cultivating and started supplying new organic produce to local shops. As her workload grew, she began to hire women from her village. Her organic farm expanded year after year. She gradually began to recruit women from neighboring villages as well. She had taught them how to be self-sufficient.
Those who had previously dismissed her as hideous and illiterate were now celebrating her and appreciating her value. While returning to her village one day after supplying products in the city, Shalini came across a baby crying near the Gurudwara. Someone had abandoned him by the stairs. People had gathered around the child. No one was willing to take responsibility. She felt sad for him and could not bear leaving him there.
She took him in and treated him as though he were her child. She named him Keertan. For her, he was Baba ji's prasad.Years passed, and she was now a proud mum, a well-established businesswoman, and a social worker.
When her husband Raghu learned of her success, he tried reconciling with her after his second wife abandoned him for another wealthy man. He had realised his mistake and understood that beauty with a brain does not refer to outer appearance, but rather to the inner beauty that endures. And possessing a brain does not imply being highly educated; it was the intelligence you demonstrate when you are in need and when you can assist others with your contributions. He had failed to notice Shalini's inner elegance and her ability to solve problems despite her lack of a graduate degree.
Shalini had turned down Raghu's offer and continued. She had Keertan by her side, as well as all the other women who had believed in her. They were now a happy, large family.Shalini was going to receive the Nari Shakti award from the government later today. She had shown herself to be a beauty with a brain.
"Beauty with a golden heart and a brain that valued all."
I had read somewhere and would like to quote it here, "Calling women, 'beauty with a brain', is not a compliment, because it limits them and forces them into stereotypes. Rather, let every woman have the freedom to define herself; to gain an education, and to explore her talents."
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