saata VOL: 1, ISSUE: 3 - OCTOBER 2017 facebook
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SAATA ITAA Conference-2016 team
The Strength of a Woman - Dr. Navina S home
Kousalya-Karthikeyan Dr. Navina, Completed schooling in Coimbatore and is Medicine graduate from Tirunelveli Medical College, Currently pursuing M.D. Psychiatry at Sri Ramachandra University, Chennai. Her Interests include spirituality, philosophy and social work.
Email: navina.vishnuvardan@gmail.com

Yesterday was any other day as usual at the psychiatry outpatient clinic in urban Chennai. I sat attending to old patients and "review cases" when a new patient walked in. She was a petite woman in her late thirties with a calm yet apprehensive demeanour, an air of sadness about her.She sought psychiatric guidance to help her with some unwelcome changes life had unceremoniously foisted upon her. Her husband of eighteen years, her faithful companion, had been whisked away by a brain haemorrhage four months ago and she now found herself clutching at loose ends and tender, bittersweet memories struggling to make some sense of life and all it's injustice.

She spoke of her grief and loss, her worries for her young kids in school, one just on the verge of manhood, the other still immersed in the innocence of childhood, of their grief for a father who had been more a friend and playmate, their chivalrous attempts at staying strong for her while leaning on her to fill in a void that would never be filled. She spoke of her ageing in-laws who mourned the loss of the son they expected would take care of them in their twilight years, their bitterness at having been deprived of a safe and comfortable old age, the uncertainty of the future that lay ahead and how in their pain they lashed out at her, heaping blame and stinging accusations on her for his untimely demise. She spoke of how she needed to pull her children out of the school they were in and admit them in a government school for she could no longer afford the fees, of how she was not allowed to visit her parents' home where she would at least find some mental solace in kind words, of having started attending typewriting classes to prepare herself for her husband's job that she was due to get in a few months.

But amidst the pain and tears, I could see streaks of what I hoped was the innate strength that would help her weather the storm of her life. I could sense the determination she had, to keep herself together for her children's sake, to put together their lives as best as she could. The courage of womanhood touched me as it often does on any mundane working day. Here was a docile woman, with a tenth standard pass, so far having lived a sheltered if somewhat restricted life, content in domesticity, in her roles of daughter-in-law, wife and mother, being forced to reinvent herself, to acquire skills that she would need to survive, to stand-in as both father and mother for her two sons at a sensitive age when they would miss a father the most, to take care of and support cantankerous ageing in-laws who were often hostile to her and critical of her. I wished she could see herself through my eyes, of how I was inspired and moved by her strength of character. But people in the thick of the battle have no such mercies. They are too busy fighting to stay afloat to see how amazing they are. It is an undeniable feminine quality to nurture others, to put oneself last.

She's not the first and would not be the last of many women who have had the carpet pulled out from under their feet, yet managed to keep going on, often becoming the backbone of the family and thus, the society. It made me think of how as a society we should do more for our daughters. Given the unpredictability of life, why should women be forced to face their battles ill-equipped? Why not give them education and knowledge that would go a much longer way than any dowry or material inheritance can? Why not encourage them to work and be financially independent ? Why not teach them the fundamentals of finance, of handling a bank account, of filing tax returns? Why not teach them self-reliance and self-sufficiency from childhood? After all, is that not what you would want the mother of your children to have if you woke up one day to find yourself unexpectedly dead?

 
CONFERENCE AFTERWORD
arr World Conference of TA - 2017, Berlin, Germany
- Rosemary Kurian
EXPERIENCES
arr The Strength of a Woman
- Dr. Navina S
arr Inner GPS
- Namita Shetty
arr Peacefully Messy
- Sheena Yusuf
arr A Curriculum to Release, Recognise and Respond
- Karuna Guruprasad
BOOK REVIEW
arr Healing the Shame that Binds You
- Sarmishta Mani
arr Sex in Human Loving
- Srinath Nadathur

Creative Corner
Rainbow Bridge
- Prasad Naveen

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