The night when we celebrated ”˜The Real Goddesses’ 

By Radhika Bhandari

yatra nāryastu pūjyante ramante tatra devatāḥ| yatraitāstu na pūjyante sarvāstatrāphalāḥ kriyāḥ ||

(Manusmriti 3:56 ”“ The divine is happy where women are honoured, there the gods rejoice; where, on the other hand, they are not honoured, there all rites are fruitless.)

Following our scriptures, myself with two other friends, Varsha Khandelwal and Abbey Singh, got together to put a night for women in our community who must be celebrated and worshipped for all what they do and achieve in their life’s journey. While all of us are working professionals and quite busy ones at that, running families and organising gatherings as a community, we wanted to utilise our skills in advocating women empowerment in the community and bring out real life stories that could inspire many others. It was time for them to speak up!

When the idea materialised into a night of celebration of womanhood, it was something so profound, rather a surreal experience when a room full of warrior women, each one with a story to tell, gathered together to celebrate their achievements. The response was unbelievable when so many of us turned up for the event.

The evening was filled with many teary eyes with our own sisters with a head held high of having fought and survived with a will never to give up. Some of these women, shared their heart-rending stories. We the rest of us acknowledged thus life lessons learnt from their experiences. Be it a woman who is a domestic violence survivor and now wears a uniform of a cop fighting for others. Be it a mother of an autistic child and her journey of raising her special child. Or a young widow who shared her grief and the story of her eternal love. A 58-year-old migrant grandmother joining university at a late age and believing that she can do it. And actually finished her studies. And the story of a plus size woman, who smashed the stereotype of body shaming, instead stood her ground to fight it out. Another one, a young woman who lived through abuse, depression, came out and spoke with conviction about her struggle. Though with the scars that had left her face paralysed, still she laughed, smiled and danced the night. We were all in it together celebrating these victories and hugged each other, congratulated such brave girls in our midst. There were others that included but not limited to, a woman in fitness, a sportswoman with lifelong injury, a migrant achiever, a woman in a male-dominated profession, a women thriving in a corporate environment and many more. The list is endless. We as organizers were of the opinion, “Tonight we are celebrating each and every woman present in this room that we crown as the warrior goddess, someone who has the courage to share her journey with us all.”

The event has inspired others as well. We all went back with a feeling of elation that together we are the force that can help lift each other and the thus be able to as a community support each other.  Also, present on the night was the famous DJ Goddess from Canada in support of this worthwhile cause. We had our own DJ Sasha in Varsha, one among the very few female DJs of Sydney, a single mother herself, who never gave up and has been able to fulfil her dream. It was an emotional evening for us all, graced by the presence of significant community women influencers as Guests of Honour in Rekha Rajvanshi, Sue Advani, Arti Banga, Manju Sharma Lalwani, Elaine Roach, Manpreet Sekhon and Kamini Raj Singh. They presented awards to the young warrior goddesses finally recognised for what they stood for, fighting, surviving and finally winning whatever fate the life had served them.

This is just the beginning everyone was in support with the consensus that more women from the community should come forward, volunteer and support the cause. After all, in this country that we have made our second home, we can be the mentor and support others in need, someone who may be doing it tough. With this resolve we decided that we will carry this torch forward.

Pics Courtesy Arvind Singh Photography

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