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My Iron Lady “Baa”

Jusmi is an English teacher. Obtained her Masters in English literature from Gauhati University India shares an immense love for writing.


She was not always the child that parents would be dreaming of. She was born with physical deformities and limitations.

She was born different. She was special. She was my “ Iron Lady”. Let me unfold before you her journey from a simple girl to an iron woman. Who would be an inspiration to everyone in the coming days.

She looked quite petite and weak in comparison to the other kids of her age. Her bones were very weak and brittle which was responsible for her “ dwarfism”.

She had to fight and struggle at every stage of life. She won her first battle when after continuous struggle and hardships she decided to enrol herself in school. At that time the issue of Women Education was of “zero or no importance”.

Her parents were confused and worried as to how would she walk all the miles to school owing to her small and fragile self. Yet she conquered her battle.

She completed her studies and became independent at a time when girls were only trained to be good housewives and borne children. After, her father expired she shouldered all the responsibilities and helped her family by providing whatever financial support she could facilitate with her own dimension. She managed to get a job at Assam Secretariat which was situated at Shillong that time. But, being a hilly area soon it started taking a toll on her health. She was down with typhoid which cost her hearing from one ear. She was deaf by one ear now. But the “Iron Lady” she was she never let this deformity block or obstruct her road.

After a year or two when the Secretariat shifted to Assam, she too returned back. She was given a Govt. residence just like any other Govt. employee. That was where she met my father. They soon developed such a friendship that she was like a friend, philosopher and guide to him. My mother was her youngest sister. When my dad married her she was the happiest person on Earth.

When I was born she loved me like her own daughter. I was pampered by toys, gifts, clothes and whatnot. She never said “No” to me for anything. We shared a bond. Every time I saw her coming from office I use to leave everything and run to her. We chatted, ate pickles, chips and even puffs. I loved watching all and any movies with her. She on the other hand used to watch cartoons and animated movies only for my sake. When my two younger brothers were born. They too got a share in her love. Those were the best days of my our life.

But, like every good thing those days too ended too soon. We had to shift to our new house leaving her behind alone.

Now, as she used to stay with a caretaker. The caretaker seeing that she has started deteriorating day by day started taking advantage. Also there were many who tried to lure the caretaker by promising her money and stuff. By this time her bones were becoming weak. She was not able to support her own weight at times. On many occasions she used to fall down out of nowhere and used to fracture her bones making her bed ridden for days, for months . But, being a strong lady she used to get up every time and walk on. She always said, “ When the going gets tough. The tough gets going”.

A time came when she faced a lot of mental harassment. The caretaker used to treat her worst at times, her own body was giving up with so much of pain, trauma and tension. She decided to take voluntary retirement and return back to her hometown.

Although she took the decision owing to a lot of factors she was not happy with it. She only took the grave decision so as not to be a burden or trouble anyone. A fighter that she was she thrived alone in her life journey.

Every time we paid a visit to her she smiled to her heart’s content. She busied herself as to thinking what shall she feed us with. But, again when we left she wept like a small child.

This continued on. Slowly she started losing her appetite. She didn’t wanted to talk to anyone. She also suffered from memory loss. Her body had given up and on 02-07-20 she breathed her last leaving everyone teary-eyed.

She had won her battle. She gave a tough fight. She fought with the patriarchal society who didn’t approve her just because she lacked a few inches. She fought with people who thought of her as a clown and as something different. She dared to dream in a male-dominated society, she dared to live her life on her own terms. She was never a feminist yet she was a true definition of “feminism”. She has marked the journey where modern women dream of walking. She was an inspiration and she will always be.

( In the fond memory of my aunt whom I lovingly called “Baa”. )

© 2020 Jusmi Saikia

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