It has been almost 15 years since that day. It wasn’t a particularly remarkable day either, except for the heavy rain and dirty roads, but that is pretty common here too.
I remember how she hated going out in rains (unlike most kids), she still does. Which is why it was a real struggle getting her into that starchy blue raincoat. I remember getting it for her because I thought she would like the pretty pink flowers on it.
I remember how she struggled with her backpack, jumping over puddles and covering her hair – boy did she hate getting wet. We were waiting for the school bus to come outside our building gate, when suddenly she let go of my hand and ran away. I was quite stunned.I was worried she might get hurt or fall down. I followed her. Initially I thought its because she hated going to school, so she wanted to run away. I was wrong. She was helping a little girl who had fallen on the road, get up. My little angel in the blue raincoat was helping the girl clean the dirty puddle water,even though she hated getting dirty herself.
I was inarticulate. It was a small incident, but it filled my heart. Here I was worrying about her falling down, where as she was helping some one selflessly. Maybe she will be okay after all.
Years passed by and I forgot all about that day.
One day when she was in secondary school, she came back home crying. It broke my heart to see her this way. After comforting her for some time, I came to know the reason behind her breakdown had been a few kids at school who had picked on her for being a know-it-all. I was infuriated.
What had she done to deserve being treated this way? I promised to talk to the teacher the next day. However suddenly she composed herself and asked me not to. I thought it’s because she was scared of the mean kids. What she said next has stayed with me ever since, she said she appreciates me being there for her, but there are some situations she needs to handle on her own. She feels there are many kids out there that are treated the way she was, she’d like to help them all.
She got her school to start an anti-bullying campaign and a full time guidance counselor to help kids with similar issues. I felt an incandescent love and admiration for her that day. My daughter, the girl in the blue raincoat, fighting to bring change. Maybe she will be fine after all.
As years went by, I did everything I could to make sure she had a happy life. I was an overprotective parent, still am. At times I do things to make sure my daughter is fine that may seem a little over the top or exasperating to some people. Well, that’s me. If it means I get to ensure my daughters’s safety/well being, its okay if I come across as a little overbearing.
However I have realized lately that, most of it is for my benefit. My peace of mind.
Last year we were at a party hosted by a close friend. There she happened to meet a guy who had somewhat strong opinions about women and their career. He said that women were lucky that they didn’t have to study hard and struggle each day. They could just marry a nice guy and be a housewife.
Where I am from, it’s somewhat common for men to say such things. But this guy was a young, educated man from a well to do family. It was surprising to hear such regressive things coming from him.
I know my daughter is a strong feminist, and by that I mean she believes in gender equality, equal opportunities and treatment for both men and women.
What she said next left me awestruck. She told the guy, she did not agree with what he had to say, but he was entitled to his own opinion. She was sorry that he felt that way but she believed that he had it wrong. Where as it is a perfectly acceptable choice for women to be a homemaker, and it is a thankless job that appears to be easy but isn’t, its not the only choice for women. On the contrary, women often find themselves juggling a successful career, a family, kids and other responsibilities. She further went on to say that if that guy wanted he could be a stay at home husband too, everyone is entitled to a life of their choosing. No one else’s opinion matters.
When I hear her handling situations like these in such a graceful manner, my twenty year old daughter,I know that the girl in the blue raincoat will be fine after all.
A fictional story with elements from reality. Leave a comment 🙂
Copyright (c) Sneha P