Women – Burden or Backbone?


Being a woman myself, I have never considered myself to be a burden. I believe that if you give a woman exposure to the world and empower her to think independently, she can never be a burden.

Am I being overtly effusive here about my own ilk? No, I have had the good fortune to personally interact with many such women, who are backbones to the very existence of their families. Without them, life would not be the same. One such person is Rupa Ashoka Mandal.


Rupa with Malini, her sister-in-law. Her constant companion in the hospital.

Rupa has been the pillar of strength and love to her sister-in-law, Malini, ever since she was diagnosed with 4th stage of bone cancer. A of people talk about being caring, but very few people walk the talk, Rupa is one of them, who has walked the talk, and shown what it is to be the backbone to the family. Unlike any other disease an individual does not get cancer, the entire family does; in other words it makes the whole family suffer.


Rupa with Malini, post one of Malini’s many excruciating chemotherapy sessions.

It is not easy being a caregiver to a person suffering from terminal stages of cancer, more so when your own children are at the threshold of giving major public exams. Not only did Rupa manage to mother her own children but she was able to give care and love to Malini through her debilitating and painful chemotherapy sessions and her mood swings.

Mothering Malini’s young kids too. Rupa and Malini in the early stages of the cancer diagnosis

As if this was not enough, Rupa even mothered and looked after Malini’s young children aged 6 and 10. When it was difficult to manage school schedules of the young ones with their mother’s intense and difficult chemotherapy sessions, she home-schooled the young children, just so that they do not lose out on academic development. Who says sisters-in-law do nor get along and cannot be the best of sisters/friends? Rupa sure broke the cliché’.

Emory Austin (popular inspirational speaker) says, “Some days there won’t be a song in your heart.  Sing anyway.”   Cancer is a disease like that, it requires you to sing, even when there may be no song on your lips. It takes strength to become the backbone of not just your immediate family, but your extended family as well.

Not just for her family but even in such emotionally and physically draining times, Rupa has been around for her friends too.

There are many such women like Rupa around us, who are the backbone of the world’s they inhabit. We just fail to see and appreciate, perhaps because they are not shouting from the rooftops or not in public spotlight.

Whoever says a woman is a burden, is not pausing to appreciate, feel and understand what the woman in their life (can be anyone mother/ spouse/ partner/ daughter) is doing.

Malini succumbed to cancer; but the image that remains in my mind is that of someone who put up a brave fight against the disease. No matter how much she was hurting inside, she always had a faint smile/ or tried to smile, whenever someone went up to speak to her. Personally I believe I have been enriched as a person just by being a peripheral part in Rupa’s journey. Life is all about evolving and being inspired by the ‘seemingly everyday’ people around us. 

As some has rightly said, Strong women wear their pain like stilettos. No matter how much it hurts, all you see is the beauty of it.

Those who would like to share their views by participating in the woman’s day contest, can check the details here: http://www.indusladies.com/forums/blogs/induslady/indusladies-4th-annual-international-women-8412/


About nishi01

Savoring and writing…
This entry was posted in Cancer, Health, Life, New Learnings, Relationship, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to Women – Burden or Backbone?

  1. madammommy says:

    What an inspiring woman. Wonderful job writing about her contributions, Nish.

    • nishi01 says:

      Thanks so much P for reading. Had it not been for a dear friend, who egged me on to write a woman’s day post, I perhaps would never have ended up penning it. There are so many of us ‘ordinary’ women, who indeed are so extraordinary…and people think women are a burden!

  2. Women are nurturers by nature, so how can they be burden? Nishi such a beautiful story, made my day..:)

    • nishi01 says:

      Thank you Anu, that the story touched you. Personally, I think I became a better person along the way. Unfortunately, the young mother is no more, but the love and the care she received, I think very few are blessed to do so. Have a beautiful day!

  3. reshamblr says:

    This is so inspiring and beautiful. Women are care givers and although there are various facets to someone’s life, it is only when you come face to face with acute distress that you come to know who are your actual pillars in life. Very well penned Nishi

    • nishi01 says:

      Thank you Reshamblr for your warm words and reading. there is truly nothing like the ravages of time, to reveal the true nature/face of a person. Life indeed is a learning curve. Have a wonderful day!

  4. jayashree says:

    Hey Nishi…..Malani would have loved to read this; this is how she wants to be remembered. As far as Rupa goes …well power and love comes in inverse proportions and that too in small and frail packages!!!

    • nishi01 says:

      Thank you for reading Jayashree. Malini, yes, she was a true embodiment of courage..it is not easy to smile in such pain. And so agree with what you say about Rupa. Warm wishes to you.

  5. Ishita Datta says:

    Nice article Nishi!! What Rupa did really neede to be documented ………………………..Love you all!!


    • nishi01 says:

      Thank you so much Babli for reading.I am glad I ended up penning it… being a peripheral part of Malini’s journey has been a moving experience. Hugs and much love

  6. debjani dutta says:

    Rupa’s love and Malini’s courage touched all of us somewhere in our heart. Thanks Nishi for documenting their bitter sweet journey for all of us.

  7. moushumi says:

    Rupa is a role model …she has been a mother ,sister and friend to Malini . She has re-defined ‘care giving’ for all of us . Her relentless effort to be next to Malini inspite of all the perceptible demands of her children has made her a super mom as well . Kudos to her !

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