To my own sparkling butterflies: Anoucheka Gangabissoon

I believe in the invisible strength of woman. I believe in her innate power, in her capacity to heal and in her ability to have wings grow out of us and have us fly, high over the lands and the seas of this world that we always keep trying to conquer but, which remains elusive at all times. I am the person I am today due to all the women who have taken care of me ever since I was born. My paternal grandmother, whom I always fondly call as ‘Dadou’ instead of ‘Dadi’ is the one to have guided me and to have shaped my spirituality. Ever since I was a child, she, being the one with whom I would spend most of my time, would take good care of all my needs, would feed me well with all that I wanted and would constantly remind me that God will love me if I remain a good girl, a good individual, having no bad intentions towards anyone who would cross my path, regardless of whether this person be my friend or my foe. She bid me to eat that which I wanted, not having to force myself to be vegetarian if I would not want to, and to be as I am, with the only condition of never having any bad wish or bad intention for anyone.
“God will love you,” she said. “Just keep your heart pure and clean.”

It is because of her words that I have become a follower of non-violence and, like the great Mahatma Gandhi himself, would readily turn my cheek to be slapped if so required the enemy to feel satisfied and to shut up. And today, I choose to keep my mouth shut at many several occasions, only to feel wise later on, for anger, especially for trivial and futile reasons, remains so ugly, as ugly as can be a created putrid monster inhabiting the dark depths of the abyss of our own imagination.

I remember her strength, when she would take me to the market with her, which was located some twenty minutes’ walk away from where we stayed back then and would carry the heavy bag of vegetables as stoically as would a Viking. Once we would be back, she would bid me to rest, while she would busy herself in the kitchen taking care of the vegetables and making tea for everyone present. In the afternoons, she would sit, by the open fireplace and would prepare around thirty to forty ‘rotis,’ enough to feed the large family that we were back then.

She loved flowers and fruit plants. Our yard was filled with same: we had litchee trees, ‘longanes,’ mango trees, cherries, jackfruit, lemons, roses, anthuriums, marigolds and so many others. Our yard was beautiful and it is because of her that I now love green spaces which hold a lot of shade as the trees back then would give us. I hate it when spaces are mainly made of bricks and concrete with some scarce plants here and there while green spaces are where I can lose myself, sit and contemplate of life, read or even write.

She is someone who loves all her children unconditionally and if I were to be given the choice of having the same ‘Dadou’ again in my next birth, I would readily say yes. Life with ‘dadou’ is beautiful, with comfort shining in prime and with love reigning in each moment. Each morning, she would make me breakfast, which consisted of a cup of tea and bread, butter and cheese but she would give such to me with so much love that every bite would feel so precious. She loves to sit and talk for hours if need be and would give loads of golden words of advice if need be. 

When I turned adult and when life broke me into millions of small pieces, the skies sent me a good friend, whom we shall call with a pen name, “Angel.” Angel is not from Mauritius and has lost her twenty-year-old daughter and her twenty-year-old niece in a car accident. But she is adorned with so much wisdom and tolerance that she has been able to make me gather my millions of broken pieces and build myself back into a better version of what I used to be. Each time I would knock on her doors, regardless of whether she was resting or if she had just come back home from work, she would welcome me with a sweet smile and offer me some biscuits and a cup of exquisitely fragranced coffee and would take the time to listen attentively to everything that I would tell her before guiding me accordingly.

She built up my confidence and made me aware that this world belongs to me as well and that regardless of how grim can life show itself as being, I am entitled to the good things that are available here for each and everyone. As I have witnessed it often with Angel, her words of advice turn out to be true, for most of the times. There was a time when I was infatuated with a person who was the total opposite of who I was and Angel, after analysing the whole situation well, told me that this would not work out and that I would move on. I chose to believe that she was not understanding my feelings back then but then when my own eyes opened up and I saw truth as it was, I realised that I do not know myself as well as Angel did.

As it is, she is the one to have pushed me towards writing.

“If you want to write, just do it,” she said.

To which, my response had been, 

“Why not try it?”

And that was how I started writing back in 2011, in the forms of poems and even collecting short stories as to what was happening in my imagination. I owe it to her, the glory that I have received so far as an accomplished poet and author.
Women have been tagged as being objects or as being attention seekers, frail and over reacting for most of the times. Being myself a woman who has a deep oversensitivity to the way I perceive life, I am grateful for all those women in my life who have shaped me. The day my grandmother would bid us adieu would be the day I would feel pain and a void in my heart. As for Angel, I wish we would be good friends for as long as life would allow me to. 

Women have been underestimated and now, in the modern era, when rights have made it possible for them to showcase not only their talents for one and all to laud but also their abilities, everyone remains in uttermost shock as to how these creatures, which were initially not meant to be given any consideration, have turned out to be magical and mystical sparkling butterflies, having enough power, at the tips of their fingers, to heal, not only those who surround them, but the entire universe.

Bio: Anoucheka Gangabissoon is a Primary School Educator in Mauritius. She writes poetry and short stories as hobby. She considers writing to be the meaning of her life as she has always been influenced by all the great writers and wishes to be, like them, immortalized in her words. Her works can be read on and she had also appeared in various literary magazines like SETU, Different Truths, Dissident Voice, In Between Hangovers Press, WISH Press, Tuck’s Magazine, Blue Mountain Review, among others. She has also been published in Duane’s Poetree and also in two anthologies for the Immagine and Poesia group. Her poems are often placed in free online contests. She has been selected to be among the Most Influential Women in Mauritius for the 2017 category Arts and Culture and she has also been awarded as a Promising Indian for the year 2017 for the same category. In 2018 and 2019, she was again selected to be among the Most Influential Women of the island for her contribution to the literary field and in 2019, she was one of the three nominees for the National Awards organized by the Ministry of Arts and Culture of Mauritius. In 2020, she was shortlisted to be among the Most Impactful Women of the year for the Women of the Year awards and in 2021, she was chosen to be an Icon of the Year. In 2022, she was awarded with the Margareth Thatcher Award.

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