Kitni girhein kholi hain maine, kitni girhein ab baaki hain.


(How many knots have I untied, how many still remain?)

Arunima Sinha, the first amputee to climb 5 top summits in the world including The Everest. She was thrown on the tracks from a moving train by some goons and survived near fatal experience. Kalpana Saroj, from a child bride to CEO of $112 million company. Prakash Kaur, abandoned as a baby herself,  runs a home for abandoned baby girls. Sunitha Krishnan, refused to live a life of victim after being gang-raped at 16 and instead found her mission of rescuing and rehabilitating sex-trafficked girls. Bharati Singh, became successful in male dominated profession of stand up comedy transcending mindset of physical beauty. Rupa, an acid attack survivor, Prema Ramappa, the only female bus driver in Bangalore. And then there is Indra Nooyi, Chanda Kochar, Sania Mirza, Saina Nehwal, Kiran Mazumdar and so many others who are living testimony of the potential that lies in each one of us if only, we would take time to recognize it and nurture it. And if we can expand our horizons and look around the world, its full of similar amazing stories. Every day new barriers broken, new examples set, new horizons explored, new summits scaled.

In my understanding, all these women have one thing in common and that is, they refused to limit themselves by believing in all that the world told them about their own self. Instead, they actually connected with their inner SELF, listened to it and followed it. They untied the knots from within and set themselves free to discover the endless space of opportunity and potential. And look what they did………they not only transformed themselves, they also became such an inspiration for millions around. And that really is the impact of transformation that comes from within. When we become the best we can, we inspire others around us to do the same.

I spent some time travelling to small remote villages in and around Haryana early last year. At a physical level it is very evident that there is a shift taking place. For instance its commonplace to see girls wearing jeans and t-shirts in the smallest of the villages. Speaking to some girls in government schools, I could see they are raring to change the quality of their lives. Coming from low economic backgrounds, they were keen to study, go to big cities, work and earn for themselves and their families. And yet, when it came to support they had back home, they were tentative and not sure how they would do what they wanted. I also see around me …….. maids, security women, so many women working in small and big firms, small time entrepreneurs, professionals………everyone breaking barriers in some form, untying the knots to seek something more than they already have, to be a little more than they already are. But there is an important distinction. While some of them are doing it out of their choice, most of them are doing it as they are pushed into situations where they “have to” do it. The husband not earning, is an alcoholic, father has passed on leaving them to take care of the family, financial compulsions or some other compelling circumstance.

It is curious to see how situations drive people to do the unthinkable. And yet, is it necessary for us to be driven to extremes to experience our inner strength? Why not do it while things are more conducive? That way atleast we are not dealing with the panic, stress and anxiety of the situation.

I feel it’s also important to understand where and how the transformation is coming from. The feminist movement, as I see it, has been an important happening as after years of subjugation, women stood up for themselves. And that is very very important. But what doesnt resonate with me is when feminism is interpreted as taking a swing to the opposite end and indiscriminately imitating men. Male bashing, men hating and over the top shouts do not do any good to women. There is no great merit in shifting from one set of chains to another set of chains because it still keeps you imprisoned.  Initially, as a reaction, it was perhaps ok but it’s important to move away from it as soon as possible.

There is enough inspiration around us if we pay little attention and observe. The next thing required is direction. Thanks to technology, most of us have easy access to all the information we may need. If we just seek, we can get to relevant people and resources that can help us find direction. The last element required to make any change in our lives is action. And that no one else can do for us except we ourselves. Each one of us can find our Inspiration-Direction-Action if only we are willing to.

What is needed is to break the barriers from within to become the best you can be. That alone can provide a wholesome experience of life. That alone can bring sense of personal empowerment, growth and evolution at an individual level. We all deserve it. Each one of us.

Its time women go beyond the barriers of self-limitations and find the immense possibility they are.

Its time women review all the knots they have within and begin their journey to discover their own freedom and joy…….untie one knot at a time…..and experience the joy of being themselves!!