It was just an ordinary day, sunny, hot and humid. Yet for Fati, it was very special.
She remembered the time when her family had decided to grow a different crop. They had met some workers from a company that made peanut oil and peanut butter. The workers talked highly of the increasing demand for roasted peanuts and confections. Which made the family of Fati make this decision together.
To grow peanuts, Fati remembered how she had prepared the fields with her son ‘Jahan’ and her husband. They took a lot of fresh, unroasted peanuts, placed them in a very neat way after which they covered them with inches of soil.
It was an immense moment of joy to see them sprout in a few days. The part of the land they owned was exceedingly dry. It did not benefit from canals and irrigation system, which made it a pluvious land, all the more dependant on the rain.
It was this reason that most of the farmers of her village had migrated to other cities, to find employment, or to get enrol in armed forces.
Fati had worked very hard to help her son get a quality education. He was a now a graduate with good know-how of agriculture and farming, yet had been very unlucky to find a job in almost a year.
It was then that he had decided to come back to his village and give a hand to his parents. He had seen the efforts of his mother, an uneducated old woman, who sowed every seed with a prayer. He had witnessed her praying for rain. Where rain was an issue in a desert, too much or untimely rain could cause havoc. It was an additional and continuous stress for the farmers.
It took five to six month for Fati and her family to see the peanuts grow to there fullest. The crops were a huge success. All the neighbours and family friends congratulated the family for their effort. The animal and crops were the main investment of the people of the village, they were just like a big house and a shiny new car for the people of the city.
Fati was sitting in the fields, having a look at the crops and having a moment of gratitude when her son stepped in.
‘Do you not feel proud mother, everyone must be so jealous of you’, he glanced at the crops and then looked at the face of his mother that gleamed with sweat.
‘A farmer can never be proud my son, we see the struggles and suffocating times of the seed, it’s a challenge to tear apart the hard soil to appear. Its persistence cracks the soil to allow it to come out. It stands the cold and the hot times and fights with all might when it succeeds and blooms to the fullest, it will then be cut down and consumed. It will be no more. Such is also life my son, what is there to be proud and arrogant of? I am humbled to be able to make it with all of you’. Fati replied.
It was not long the crop was harvested and the family managed to make a good profit. For a farmer correct timing was everything. Shortly, Fati’s son and husband came to her with an envelope.
‘Mother, all three of us have worked so hard. I have witnessed your work even more. You took care of the house, prepared hot meals and then helped us in the fields. I and father never felt you were any less worker than us. It is why we have decided to give an equal share of the profit to you, you deserve it’.
Fati was lost for words. She looked at her husband with surprise. She had always seen women working relentlessly in the fields just like men, delivering extended duties of a woman for the house and the child care. Yet she had never witnessed any women getting her fair share. Her son had left her lost for words.
Seeing her bewilderment her son continued, ‘Do you remember mother, not long was an international day for women. To acknowledge their participation and hard work. I could not do much then, but what would you like to get with your hard earned money’?
Fati looked confused, ‘do they ask women on this international day for what they want in their life’? She asked.
‘Not exactly but allow me to put it that way.’ He said.
Fati had worked all her life like a nameless soldier who was not publicly recognised. She had worked hard, delivered on time with great proficiency, dedication and commitment. She was being courageous and efficient. She had fought for her family rights and interests. Yet had never been recognised and cherished.
That day her son had made her feel very tall, proud and important. She felt they all wore the same uniform, with similar flowers on the shoulders. ‘I want to go for holy pilgrimage’, she said, ‘I owe thanks for endless blessings’.
‘Of course’, her son replied. He wondered how the richest people he knew had hoarded money all their lives and never thought of it, while the only savings on the hand, a fruit of extremely hard labour did not deter her mother to undertake a tiring spiritual journey. The only holiday of her life.
Fati was indeed the most deserving unknown, unnamed soldier. We have many examples of such brave, wise and generous women, who work day in and out for their loved ones. This story is a silent salute to all such silent soldiers that are making a difference in the lives without being noticed.
Happy women’s day 🤝