It’s International Women’s Day on Friday so I really wanted to write a post about important women in my life. This years theme is Balance For Better, which is about celebrating women’s achievement and taking action for equality.
All of the women I mention here have achieved and done so much in their lives. In their own ways, they have challenged stereotypes or fought mini-battles for the good of women. Or simply spoken up about something they feel strongly about.
That’s not why I am highlighting them here, though. On a personal level, they have done so much for me and been there for me through thick and thin.
So here are the 11 important women in my life. These are in no particular order, except my mum.
…is my mother. She had to be on top of this list because she was the woman who gave birth to me, who fed and clothed me. She raised four daughters and worked damn hard to give us the best life possible. As an immigrant, she did her best to teach me her Indian values, language and culture, yet encouraged us to create a British identity too. She always bought us the nicest clothes and made sure we were presentable at all times. She’s an amazing cook and she insisted we eat as a family every evening.
She supported me wholeheartedly when I chose to pursue a career in journalism, even though other kids around me chose the sciences, law or accountancy. Even today, I need her. She helps me look after my children and when I’m unwell, she’s the first one round armed with food. She’s a volatile character, my mother. And I know I’ve adopted a lot of her traits but when all is said and done, she is one of the strongest women I know. We fight like mad sometimes but she would happily take on the world to defend us.
(My mum and my sisters: Min, Suki and Jazz)
…is one of my closest friends. We met at the BBC over 15 years ago and we just clicked from day one. We have been the best of friends ever since and still see each other every day at work. Bal and I have been on an incredible journey and we’ve been there for each other through many milestones. Bal is a no-nonsense, tell-it-like-it-is kind of person. She will never just take my side for the sake of it.Once she’s heard me out, she will give me her honest opinion. If I’m wrong, she doesn’t mind telling me so and I think people like this are few and far between. We’ve laughed with each other, cried with each other and had so many good times both at work and outside of it too.
She is also the kind of person who goes after what she wants and gets the job done. We love our girly trips abroad and every year it’s Bal who pushes for that quality time away. I can’t imagine my life without her because she has enriched it in so many ways.
…is one of the kindest and sweetest people in the world. When God was handing out generosity of spirit and sensitivity, Puja was at the top of the list. We met through work when I moved to London at the age of 23. Now 18 years on, we are still such good friends. When I missed my family, she welcomed me in to hers. She wiped away my tears when I was upset. She even force-fed me breakfast on my wedding day, when my nerves almost got the better of me.Puja still lives in London while I returned to Birmingham after marriage. We don’t talk every day and we see each other a couple of times a year, if we’re lucky. But she is a person I most definitely need in my life. She listens intently when I’m filling her in on all the ups and downs and she spoils my kids every time she sees them. She’s never missed a milestone in my life and is the kind of friend who will make every effort to be there for the people she loves.
…is my daughter and my best friend. She is smart, sweet and sensitive. She will always be my baby girl even though she’s now grown in to a beautiful teenager. Over the years, she has become my confidante. She sympathises when I need it, helps me around the house and gives me that much-needed hug every day. I have written all about my relationship with Shalini in an open letter.I’m so glad God gave me the gift of a daughter because she is everything to me. We share so much together and love our little girly afternoons or evenings. We enjoy shopping and eating out together. I was a daughter, a sister and a wife before she came in to my life. She made me a mother – and that’s the best thing in the world.
GURMEET (AKA PIPPA)
…is my sister-in-law and my mentor. She married my cousin when I was just a child, so I look upon her as my second mother. She lived a few doors down from us and I would see her every day. Growing up I named her Pippa, after the character in Home And Away. Pippa was a foster carer, surrounded by kids, doing her best to help them through life. In the same way, she took on my sisters and I, even though she had two boys of her own.
As I grew older, our relationship grew stronger. She was the first person to come round and try to ease fights with my sisters or my mum. She would always listen to all sides and be balanced in her opinion.When I failed my driving test fresh out of university, she handed me £100 without a second thought to take some more lessons because she knew I couldn’t afford it. She was one of the first people I told when I met Sukh.
She helped me in the lead-up to my wedding and didn’t cringe when I needed help to go to the loo on my wedding day! Even though she isn’t related by blood, she means more to me than many of my blood relations. Since they moved away from my mum’s street, I don’t see her every day like the good old days, but she will drop everything for me if I need her.
…is my mother-in-law. She is a quiet, sweet and sincere lady who welcomed me in to her home and family with open arms. She has always treated me like a daughter. We were close from the first day we met and I have no hesitation telling her how I feel whether I’m happy, angry or upset. We have had a few arguments along the way and that’s normal. I’ve had fights or disagreements with all of the women I’m writing about here. That’s how I know these relationships are real because we can be honest with each other.My mother-in-law is one of the hardest working women I know. Even at her age, she is still grafting. Not only does she work in the shop she jointly owns with the family, she makes sure there is a beautiful meal on the table every day.
No matter how long I’ve known her, she will fuss over me like I’m a guest. I don’t know many people with as much willpower, energy and strength as she has. Oh, and we love a good little gossip too sometimes and she literally has me in stitches at her random one-liners.
…is one of my closest friends. We also met at the BBC and worked together for a number of years. Shivani had always dreamed of running her own business ever since she was a teen. She was at the BBC for years, before finally deciding to leave her full-time post to set up an Indian street food restaurant with her husband. And boy, was that a brilliant decision!
Her place, Zindiya, is one of the best eateries in Birmingham. The city was crying out for something like this and everything, from the decor to the menu, has been meticulously planned and executed by Shiv and Ajay. The restaurant is always busy whenever I go and I’m so happy she pursued her dream and made it happen.Shivani is very blunt. She will say what she thinks and it’s a quality that I really admire in her because life is too short to waste time tiptoeing around people. She is also the best gift-buyer I know. Whether it’s a birthday or Christmas, she buys the most thoughtful presents, which are really personal to the recipient.
…is another of my closest friends, who I met through work at the BBC. She has since left but we remain very good friends. I don’t get to see Meera that often anymore, as she lives in London, but we know that come what may, we are there for each other. She is also my girly holiday companion, along with Bal and Shivani. She’s the kind of girl who just puts a smile on your face, with her strong Northern accent and funny ways.Whenever I need to stay overnight in London, Meera welcomes me in to her home. In fact, while she worked in Birmingham, she lived with Sukh, Shalini and I for around a year. We would spend our spare time watching films and snacking. Shalini was obsessed with the amount of shoes Meera owned and they would spend ages in her room, singing the theme song to ‘Hairspray’! Meera is a dear friend and someone I always look forward to seeing.
…is another friend through work. She is much younger than me but we have so much in common. We became friendly quite early on but over time, our friendship really blossomed. Zayna knows the ins-and-outs of my life and is great at dishing out advice, always remaining neutral in any given situation.
Zayna is also a blogger and aims to visit 30 countries by the time she’s 30. You can follow her journey on Instagram. She is a makeup geek like me and we’re forever talking about skincare, hair and beauty products. She taught me how to take the perfect selfie and that is a skill not easily mastered by everyone!
Zayna is passionate about her job and is always looking to improve her skills, learn new things and isn’t afraid to put her ideas forward. Seeing Zayna’s passion every day is an inspiration.
(Amrit and Zayna)
…is also my friend through work. We hit it off from day one and we always have such a laugh when we’re together. I don’t know anyone else who has such a huge social circle and is always at events up and down the country! She’s so active and full of energy and zest for life.
Hands down, Amrit is my favourite go-getter. She doesn’t wait for things to happen for her. When Amrit has an idea or a goal, she goes and and grabs every opportunity to make it a reality.
Amrit is one of the people who inspired me to start my own blog. She is confident in her own skin and campaigns for body positivity. I have relied on Amrit many a time for my hair and makeup needs, as her talents extend to more than radio production, blogging/vlogging, charity work and modelling.I invited Amrit to write a guest post for A Rosie World. You can read it here.
MOON AND GEETA
OK, so I’m cheating here a bit but I have to mention these lovely ladies. They’re my sisters-in-law and married to Sukh’s cousins. We have a huge extended family and these girls only joined the family in the last couple of years. Even though I am much older than them, they evoke a new youth in me and prove you’re never too old to make new friends.
Moon is a fellow blogger and style queen. We’re always talking about social media, the blogging world and sharing ideas. She’s a go-getter like Amrit and I admire her proactivity. You can follow her work here.
Geeta is open and honest. She loves a good chat and we have so much in common when it comes to our family values and expectations. It certainly doesn’t feel like I’ve only known her for a year. The five of us try to meet for dinner or coffee as often as we can.
So there you have it, a list of important women in my life.
(Zayna, Min and Amrit)
I have many more special female friends, who bring so much joy to my life. I could only shout so many in one post but those I haven’t named know who they are and what they mean to me.
On this International Women’s Day, I’m sure you will also show love and appreciation to the special women in your life.
On that note, make sure you take a look at my post on how to be positive on a daily basis.