Saluting the will to stay upbeat!

A cacophony of sounds waft out the kitchen to the living room. Sounds of vessels being scrubbed, water being poured into the pots on the window sills, a joke that she shares with whoever’s around to listen, a song from the latest blockbuster that she hums enthusiastically and more. From the minute she arrives, her constant chatter and the hustle-bustle are impossible to ignore. Her talks are peppered with daily anecdotes or Santa-Banta jokes. Her eyes light up whenever she talks about the five year old she cares for in her other job. You can see the twinkle in her eye as she recounts tales of his naughtiness.

She is our domestic help, Reshma. Her own unique self, but one who undoubtedly represents many other such women. With her cheerful demeanour, it’s hard to believe that this girl who’s been working along with her Mom to contribute to her family income, is only nineteen. She’s someone who dropped out of school to work so she could earn and her brothers could study. When Mom volunteered to help tutor her after work, she politely turned down the offer. She couldn’t afford the time.

Street smart, extremely efficient, bubbly and young at heart, there’s little that holds her down. When I left for Australia last year, she gifted me a farewell note that she had painstakingly put together alphabet-by-alphabet. Not knowing English, she had conveyed her feelings in Hindi and her brother had helped her with the English words. An avid learner, her un-quenched thirst of learning new things is what, I suspect, keeps her going. When she learnt riding her brother’s motorbike, little could she have imagined what she would use the skill for! She now enjoys riding our two wheeler, taking my Mom pillion with her, to get veggies from the market! It wasn’t a surprise then that Reshma became Reshma the trainer, when our neighbour approached her to help learn ride the two wheeler!

It’s hard to find little things that can keep you upbeat especially when you have to do a lot of mindless drudgery day in and day out. When my ‘foreigner’ cousin stayed here for a week, Reshma had a blast. For about a month after they’d left, she’d still drawl ‘Excuse Me’ and ‘Oh, Thank you, How sweet of you!’ in perfect American accents and then giggle like a child! To have none of the churlishness or boorishness that is often exhibited by so many individuals on a daily basis is commendable. She is someone with dreams of her own. I can see the quest to learn, the passion to do, the want to fly high in the sky. And yet, without letting life become a string of regrets, she keeps on going. Here is a girl, a woman, who is as beautiful as her work. Someone who truly believes in spreading the cheer around. How then, could I not dedicate this post to her?

This is my entry to the Mia – As Beautiful as your Work contest, hosted at Women’s Web for Tanishq

I would love to hear your views!

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Very nice post Deepa, but as the above comment said, I also felt a bit sad. Sad to see wasted talent, people caught in a vicious cycle that few emerge victorious from.

C Suresh

Ha! I actually do not feel that sadness, Deepa! A person who can take her life as it comes and convert it into an ode of joy is a person to be proud of. Life, to me, is more a journey of celebration and not a journey of 'achievement' – so, may Reshma be able to celebrate her life for as long as she lives. For Heaven's sake, do not teach her to be dissatisfied with life – that would be a curse to her and no boon.


True. It's the unfairness where on one side you see so many capable, well-deserving people who could go so far if given a chance and on the other side, people who have it all while away their time and assets.


Well said, Suresh! It should indeed be a journey of celebrations and not achievements 🙂 But I often wonder if she envies or feels sad sometimes because of something she wanted or wished for and couldn't have? As far as the teaching goes, I seem to be taking life lessons from her and not the other way round 😀


On one level, one can feel sad that she has not had a normal childhood like us or access to education. But then she is doing the best with what life has handed to her. And that is always a joy to watch.


It's indeed a warm feeling to watch people do so much in life!


Such girls are a rarity.Her enviable traits are inborn and not acquired.The circumstances of her life do not affect her.You have given her a glowing tribute.
Best wishes for the contest.
One window keeps popping up non stop in your blog that it is copyrighted


Welcome to this space! And yes, we do need more such people around us. They instill optimism and hope! Thank you for letting me know about the popup! I have disabled the HTML.

Jayashree Srivatsan

What matters is not ones work or lifestyle but ones attitude and approach . She seems to Be the perfect example . Nice post Deepa


Fair enough. But it's not the work or lifestyle that pinched me. God's witness that people in white-collar, blue-collar and other high end jobs can be equally irritable! It's the lost opportunities and the wasted capability that irks me.


Hi Deepa
I am coming back to your space after a long time!! I love Reshma and her positive outlook towards life. I have a "Kala" who helps me out. She is equally cheerful but not as young. But her attitude to life is similar. I guess it is the best coping strategy that one can have while dealing with such odds!
BTW, I wanted to tell you that yours is one of the few blogs that has good stuff. It is straightforward and unpretentious. I still remember that story you had written about the beggar girl. It is one of the most powerful works that I have read in the virtual world.

indu chhibber

Hats off to those who can smile in the midst of drudgery.


Aye aye, Indu!


Nice to see you here! 🙂 Welcome back! Hats off to Kala as well! I admire people of grit and the passion to tough it out! Am so touched, Meera! Thank you for those kind words. They'll be treasured!

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