“Sarla, we are moving to Delhi next week. I have been promoted and transferred to Delhi.” Exclaimed Rahul to his wife. Rahul was working as floor manager in a PSU. Sarla was accustomed to moving to a new place every 4 years but this time it was different. It was the first time that she was going to witness the life in a city, that too a metro city. She came from a small village in Madhya Pradesh and even after marriage she hopped between small towns only. The very thought of new life, new opportunities made Rahul’s eye sparkle but Sarla was ambivalent about this move.
In the first instance her eyes almost popped with the joy of living amidst the hustle bustle of the capital but sunk down with the apprehension of losing her identity in the flash of the city. A month down the line, they boarded the flight to Delhi. Sarla made sure that she wore her best saree with heavy work while stepping on the land of her dreams and entering the new society, which would be her home for next 4 years.
“For the first time I climbed a height of 14 floors and peeping down the balcony gave butterflies in the stomach. I was super excited with the glittery start to a new life. And u know what I was still in my dreamland when you rang the doorbell a fortnight ago. I was so delighted to have such compassionate neighbours.”, said Sarla while patting my shoulders.
“Thank you Sarla for your kind words. But there is nothing special I did. Now just chuck that and listen to me. Tomorrow I am organising a kitty party at my place and you are coming for sure. I am not going to accept any of your excuses. You have been here for more than a fornight and your home looks pretty settled. I am sure you can work out a couple of hours from your busy schedule.”
“But Supriti, I don’t know anyone here. I would be a big misfit in your kitty party. I have never been to a kitty party. Infact I have just seen a couple of them on the silver screen and I’m sure, I don’t look or dress like any of those fashionable ladies.”
“Look Sarla, reel life and real life are very different. We all are a bunch of normal people getting together to laugh out our worries and enjoy some Me time.” I just picked my phone and rushed towards the door saying,”No excuses accepted! You are coming over my place at 4PM tomorrow.”
Next day, Sarla knocked the door at 4:15 PM. She again wore a heavy work suit which surely made her stand out and the girls had already started judging her. But being my guest, everybody at my kitty party gave her a warm welcome. We all gossiped, laughed and joked out loud. This was contradictory to Sarla’s personality and I could sense discomfort from her gestures. Her loud dressing or hesitation in speaking, something was amiss. I never heard her speaking english and most of my friends were conversing in English only. Possibly that was making her uncanny. I tried to make her comfortable by conversing in hindi. But, nope!! It didn’t work. That uncanny feeling was unsettling. To gel in with my friends she spoke her 1st English sentence – “ Supriti. I eat samosa and it very tasty.” Suddenly, everybody was muttering under their breath. Inspite of realising her mistake, Sarla again said – “You watch naagin?? Mouni Roy so beautiful na?” Everybody exchanged looks and suddenly there was a buzz in the air. I tried to change the topic and said –“Sarla. You are such a good cook. Please taste this halwa also and let me know how it is.” I immediately pulled her aside and whispered to her – “It’s fine if you can’t converse in English. Speak in hindi. Be proud of your mother tongue. Why speak something you don’t know?”
Sarla blurted out –“ To practice speaking in English, Supriti. Yes. I know how to read English and how to write but I haven’t been fortunate enough to practice speaking in English. I studied in a school where they teach English in Hindi medium. Even the English teacher translates the phrases in hindi to teach us. I come from a town where people criticise you, if a girl speaks in English. They believe that ‘ladki ke par nikal rahe hai’. I never got an opportunity to converse in english, not even my husband because he comes from the same background as mine. Do you know how those English speaking classes in the towns are? I can guarantee you that I speak better than what they teach over there. Reading and listening doesn’t help you with fluent English. Only and only practice does. I know people who are working at call centres and are not even graduates. But their speech is so eloquent. Why? Just because they are speaking day in, day out. And no, I am not ashamed of my mother tongue. Neither am I ashamed of speaking in hindi before a crowd. Rather I love learning new things. And here I just saw an opportunity of learning the new language from you and your friends. I thought, you and your close knit friends would pull me up instead of pushing me down. I expected support and help from you. Instead of mumbling and judging me, I would have appreciated your criticism. Instead of advising me to quit, I would have appreciated your advice on correction. I expect you to rectify me and help me blossom.”
Everybody in the room was frozen for a couple of minutes and the room was illuminated with the beauty of her courage and zeal to learn the new language. Suddenly the lady who was being ridiculed for her dressing and poor communication skills had made us realise how ugly we were deep down in our hearts. Her undeterred spirit to learn made her the star of the party and we all parted with just one lesson in our hearts ‘ Beauty is not skin deep. Let’s look beyond the skin colour, dressing, makeup and English speaking ability. Let’s help each other to overcome their shortcomings and beautify their lives.’ As they say ‘Beauty attracts the eye but personality captures the heart’ and Sarla captured our hearts with her persona.
I believe every woman has TRUE BEAUTY within her in all the roles she plays. For over 18 years across 650 plus salons across the country, Naturals has been helping the Beautiful Indian Woman get more Beautiful.
Today Naturals Salutes the Beautiful Indian Woman.
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