She stands strong. Confident. Beautiful.
Yet, a woman is never free, bound as she is by so many expectations.
And the one that can destroy her -- just as much as it can make her -- can be summed up in just one word. Mother.
If a woman cannot become a mother, the torment she faces -- from society, from her family, from herself -- can destroy her. Or it can make her stronger.
It is this theme that the Singapore-based Mala Mahesh explores in her new book, Padma.
The book was unveiled by the talented Shankar Mahadevan in his incomparable style.
The singer-composer doesn't mince words when he talks about the dichotomy in Indian society when it comes to women.
While the book is a work of fiction, the problems and the emotional trauma faced by its two protagonists -- and thousands of women across the world -- is real.
For the stigma of infertility is terrible and the blame, explains Mala, is always laid at the woman's door.