In our most recent collaboration with 200 million artisans, we asked people to send us stories about the women in their lives who inspire them to think differently & act responsibly. This response shares the same sentiment & is an excellent example of the fact that inspiration can be found anywhere and anytime!

Written by Sunayana Prabhu

When you turn the letter ‘M’ on its head you get a ‘W’. The first letter of our basic identity Women- is also a derivative. In a male-dominated world, I find the very existence of feminist thought, contests such as these, inspiring. I am going to give this my very best acknowledging  that 200 million artisans comes from a place of such good intent. 

This is a tough one for me. The truth is, I’ve struggled with women who’ve inspired me. Women  of gifts and guts. They don’t let me settle. I feel restless, angry, charged like a tornado. Women who inspire me, make me uncomfortable but I transform. I heal. I progress. Women directly  connected to my soul— Maya Angelou, Rupi Kaur, Toni Morrison. Women who changed my definition of ambition and my life just being in it—Audrey Wells. Women who’ve met with hate,  again and again and again but thrived, regardless. Ujwala Nadkarni—my Maa. Unapologetic,  outspoken, dark-skinned, married into a snobbish light-skinned brahmin family. Delirious at  family gatherings where women huddled small-talking in the kitchen and men sat in living rooms  enjoying the party, she’d get out in the middle of frying puris and call-out prejudiced morons over politics or pop-culture and often said “dekho magar pyaar se” to flared nostrils and eyes full of scorn. Women who kick patriarchy between its legs inspire me. Women who travel the world in second-class local trains and discuss grand business plans while breaking cluster beans for dinner inspire me. 

Women who choose to magnify the beauty in being a woman. The poetry. Melancholy and  exuberance. Women who process hate like fuel for flight. The steel in their resolve. The grace in  their riposte. The grit to wear lipstick in despair. I’ve seen it for real. In my Mother, in my mirror, in You, in Varsha Pillai, in Simi and Preeti and Fatima, Sajana, a community of so many more  inspiring women I cannot count I am afforded with. When I sit to write, I bring you all to the scary  blank page and hope I can distill our lives in an uplifting lullaby.  

One that puts all inequality to sleep. 

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