India sketch journal 2013 page 37 by Meera Rao
I read just yesterday in the Indian newspaper The Hindu: "On her arrival in India recently, the words of Gloria Steinem, American feminist and leader of the women’s liberation movement, sounded like bells tolling for all women in today’s modern Indian society. “I came [to India] and what was here a half-a-century ago is still here… and yet there is everything else.” So true! India has come a long way yet there still a long way to go.
I am always amazed how the old and new live side by side and these sketches give a glimpse of the hard work the women continue to do. But I also see a new confidence in the women too. I sense it the the neat, beautiful ways most dress in the colorful sarees, salwars, or pants and t-shirts, with fresh fragrant flowers in the hair and the purposeful strides. They do what they have to do and more often than not with a big smile too! I see that their lives are never easy but they go on day after and day.
India sketch Journal 2013 Aug 19 by Meera Rao
As this sketch shows, a woman's work is never done! - I saw this lady often on her way home at dusk - I am sure after a full day's work - carrying a load on her head and a bag on her shoulders.
India Sketch Journal 2013 Aug 18 by Meera Rao
She was at the corner of the street almost every day doing the ironing for whoever dropped off a load of bundled clothes. She used hot coals in a heavy iron to press the clothes. She was very pleased when I stopped to chat with her and take her photograph. At the end of my stay I usually make it a point to make copies of the photographs for most of them or show my sketches. Their reaction is always so rewarding!
It is charming to see the old ways but I do hope we will soon see the status and lives of the women improve not just in India but all around globe.