The door opened, and she stepped out – barely recognizable in her new avatar.



 “What happened to you? I mean…you look different. Very different.”

“Ah! Thanks.” 

“I mean, you look kinda weird. What are you up to, mom?”

“Nothing much. I decided to start afresh. What say?” 


Years back, when her husband died in a fatal accident, Keeka had no one to turn to. Her parents and in-laws were long gone, and those alive ghosted her. That is when she picked the baton and took the journey for the strong. The journey of a single mother with her year-old daughter, Shania. 


“Seriously? My friends will laugh at me if they see you in this avatar. Mothers of your age don’t do such silly stuff.”  

“Silly stuff? I never said anything about your strange hair colours and tattoos. So why judge me now? What’s the use of writing about woman empowerment if you can’t support your mother?” 

“This isn’t empowerment. This is called a makeover. And that too all of a sudden. I’m used to your traditional look, not this quirky avatar. Trimmed hair, sporty outfit… It doesn’t suit you, mom.” 

“It’s not a sudden decision. I’ve been thinking about this for quite some time. Amidst all the hustle of the last fifteen years, I never got time to think about myself. But things are going to be different now. I’ll be alone at home once you leave for university next week. So I enrolled in Salsa and yoga classes to keep myself engaged. And a new beginning called for a new look. So…”  

“I don’t know. I think you’re just being selfish.” With that, Shania walked off to her room.  

Keeka held back her tears. I should give her some time to process everything. She’ll understand eventually. I’m sure.” 

Back to her room, Shania put her headphones on and started arranging her stuff. Just then, her eyes fell on an album. She pulled it out and turned the pages, one by one. 

The next day, Shania left for college early. When she returned, she found a note on the kitchen table- ‘Will be home by 7. Ordered dinner. It’ll arrive by 8.’ A smile flickered on her face. 



Keeka was in for a surprise. Covered with frills, she stood gaping in awe. “What’s all this? Decorations…cake… What’s going on? 

Shania walked up to her mother and gave her a tight hug. “It’s for you, mom. I’m happy for you. I really am. You made countless sacrifices, stood strong throughout the years, and took care of us singlehandedly. And now, you’ll be an inspiration to many. I’m proud of you, mom. Sorry for being rude the other day.”  

Keeka was in tears. “Aww…my baby. I’m sorry too. I should’ve talked to you about it. It’s just that…” 

“It’s alright, mom. You don’t have to explain. Now, let’s cut the cake. See, I’ve ordered your favourite one.”

That evening, through mutual empowerment, each earned a friend for life. 


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Moumita Dutta
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