May I take your photograph, I ask (always). They pat their hair and ask why? They protest that they are old and ask why someone so much younger wants to photograph an old lady.
“Because you are beautiful,” is my reply.
They respond in various ways, some surprised, some shy, some laugh. But I repeat sincerely, “Because you are beautiful.”
I can’t explain with my dreadful Hindi what I would like to add, “Because your face tells stories, each moment, each year, each sorrow, each joy, each time you have been lost, each time you have been supported and in return, have supported those in need. It’s been hard, so hard, and yet there have been moments you thought your heart would burst. You are resilient, you are strong, you may have floundered but you have survived. At times you may have been bitchy or snide, and done things and responded in ways you now regret, or not! But all of this is etched into your face, your eyes, your face is your story, and yes, you are beautiful.
For International Women”s day, I bring you my widows, my windows into a life that is shared and yet can be solitary. Some told me they were widows with a wave of the hand, a smirk and a good riddance, some still showed their sorrow in their demeanour. Regardless, all of their faces tell their story.
So there you have it. #Internationalwomensday