From the time she was born, a lot was expected from Sapna, and she wasn’t ready for it. Being born a girl in a typical Indian middle class family, she hadn’t had the best experience. She was told that she broadly had two main options, either study hard and do well in life, or just simply finish tenth grade and get married. Initially she was appalled on hearing this ridiculous concept and wanted someone, anyone to protest, rebel against the concept but when she realised that the whole society had the same mindset in general, she decided that she had to get used to it too. Whenever she got unsatisfactory marks, the same warning and explanation followed, “Do better, or we would have to get you married”. As she started to grow up, as if this itself wasn’t enough, she started receiving commands, not only from her family, but from the society as well, telling her and instructing her how to do primary activities of life. “Don’t sit like that, girls can’t sit like that”, “learn to cook something, how will you feed your husband?”, “don’t talk back, girls are not supposed to”. Supposed to? Now you will tell me, what I’m supposed to do? How can you assume what I should do and not do? Who are you to tell me what to do? Aren’t you just a mindset thriving in the minds of the people for generations? These were the thoughts Sapna would find attacking her most of the time. Her own mother told her to sit with her legs closed, taught her the household chores but not her brother, because her brother was born only to earn and not take care of the house, whereas she had a different purpose altogether. Marriage, taking care of the house and children. That was what she was supposed to do. Even if she did well in life, she had to get married, even if she didn’t, then too. Marriage and gender inequality was one thing she could not escape. As she got older, she was also forbidden to dream, to be ambitious, to decide her future. She obviously was not supposed to. One day she had had enough. “Please just stop with all these assumptions and expectations, mom”, she said, “don’t tell me that you are going to marry me off every time I get unflattering marks, don’t tell me that only I am supposed to manage the household work and the children because men too are supposed to do so. The fate of every woman in this society ends up in marriage and managing children but let me be the change they need, let me change their mindsets and show women that they are capable of everything that men do, and please don’t stop me from dreaming, don’t tell me I’m aiming to high or I won’t be able to achieve it because I can, it’s in my very name.” That’s what the society needed, a rebel like her, someone to change the paths, the attitudes and the mentality of the people, a leader to uncover a new path and lead the way to a different destination, a new, more superior purpose, a baaghi to not do what they are supposed to, but to carve out their own destinies and a reach a town called triumph.
(Learning classical dance and a budding poet, the author studies in class IX at Mother’s International School, New Delhi)
Monday, 01 June 2020 | Shreya