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In the depths of my being, a strange certainty, deeper than reason, entirely animal in quality, filled me with terror. The same certainty which some beasts-sheep and rats feel before an earthquake. Awakening in me was the soul of the first men on Earth, such as it was before it became totally detached from the universe, when it still felt the truth directly, without the distorting influence of reason- The 'Boss', Zorba the Greek

Thursday, March 11, 2010


The other day I met a lady who is very much part of the 'clan' but it was probably the first time I had spoken to her as a 'grown-up'. We had a long conversation about dogs and how they are so special to us- and losing them can be more traumatic than losing a relative, sometimes.I liked her instantly and hoped when I got to her age- I might be as gracious and beautiful as she was.
I had no idea that she is a writer and was surprised to get this in an email from my mother. I have to say it is a bit of an honour to be compared to the women of the family- if I am an ounce of what they are- I am pretty much sorted.

Joyshri Lobo.

Sometimes, merely being in the company of ones peers energises us. We meet, interact, discuss and catch up on the years that have gone by, and often pick up strings from the moment where we had left off. None of us appear anything like we were three decades ago, but within the frame work of wrinkles, weight gains or losses, broken bones and arthritic knees, missing or broken teeth, we do find our selves and are joyous in the re-discovery of each other. At one such gathering, we caught up with three generations of remarkable women, who do not require an appointed day or a chronicled page to point out their achievements.

As Jewell looked out of the window, I recollected the beautiful, gentle English woman who made India her home. She sang and played the piano, creating music and pure joy amongst many children who passed through the portals of the school she had pioneered. They remember her still, those young men and women. She never raised her voice nor spoke a harsh word to a colleague or pupil and was kind to a fault. Her very life can be likened to the gem she was named after.

Bonnie, the eldest daughter, wears her mother’s mantle well. Gracious and soft spoken, she has nurtured her children, grand-children and students with care and selflessness. Still lovely and the perfect hostess, she accepts compliments with humility and grace. The care she extends towards her household spills over into extensive social work around the city. Age seems to pass her by, as it does her sister Amrita.

The tomboy of the family, Amrita has a wild sense of humour and the courage to take up challenges like car rallying and teaching, the skill inherited from Jewel. She looks ridiculously youthful and probably feels even younger. Where do these women get their exuberance from? We need to learn their secret family formula.

Amrita’s daughter Kismet is as lovely and willowy as her mother. Photography is her forte’ and she is happiest working on assignments, anywhere in the country. In a few years the world might be her oyster. Who knows? She is the image of unfettered, confident, involved, educated Indian womanhood.

These are three generations of erudite, progressive women who, every day of their lives. are breaking new grounds and courageously facing challenges.

Fourteen years after its inception, the Womens Reservation Bill has started its marathon run from the Rajya Sabha. It is a historic moment at a time when some women are reaching great heights and others are victims of gender bias, khaps, murder, rape and inequality. To some extent, the bill will allow leaders to come forth as role models and fighters for justice. But will the marathon path widen to encompass more or will it narrow down due to hurdles and hiccups fom men and women totally resistent to change in what they consider inherited comfort zones? A lot of my fraternity are opposed to the liberality this bill points towards. Should we be ashamed of ourselves? I think, the four women mentioned above, have raised the bar on their own steam, based on deep rooted convictions. They required no bills or laws to guide them. Education and explanation will help us understand the paradigms offered to us. I do hope the Government will offer a little of both.