In a country like ours where women at the age of 21, are told to think about marriage, I am blessed to born to a ‘Dabangg mom’ like mine. Unlike many Indian parents, she never raised me to marry. She raised me to believe in myself and my dreams.
My whole life, I have never heard her saying – “You Can’t Do This!”. Herself being a firebrand who defied social norms, she made sure she raised daughters just like her. When the whole family cursed me for being born as a second daughter, my mother was extremely happy!
When our grandmother told Papa not to distribute Kaju ki Barfi on my birth, because I was a second daughter, my mother took me in arms and went to a nearby sweetshop to order 100 Kaju Barfi boxes for the distribution. Along with those boxes, she sent across a small note that said – ‘Proud mother and father of Shrestha!’ to all the neighbors and relatives, who wanted to mourn my birth.
This is one of many cases, that my mother took a stand for her daughters against the patriarchal family. Our father was a loving parent but it was always our Ma, who taught us not to bow down to social norms just because we were girls!
Our mom was way different than the moms back then.
Being raised in Tier-2 cities, many of my friends were put under a lot of restrictions just because they were girls. But, my sister and I were like a free bird. My mother never ever put any restrictions on us. She believed in raising daughters who can live life on their own terms, even if that means bashing the social norm.
My friends used to call our mom ‘Bindaas’ or ‘Dabangg’ mom.
Our mom was labeled as Bindaas mom by our friends. Because her views of being a woman were way different from the rest of the women around her. She celebrated the power of being a woman. She always told us that women can do anything. She would tell us stories of Indra Gandhi, Laxmi Bai, and Sarojini Naidu to make us know that women can do anything that she wants.
While my friends were being taunted on being a girl and being told how they were less than their brothers, my sister and I were told of inspiring stories of Kiran Bedi, Kalpana Chawla, Mother Teresa. While my friends were being told how they couldn’t do certain things because they are girls, my mother was raising us to believe that women can do anything that she dreams.
While my friends’ parents were saving money for their marriage, my mother was running with us from college to college to fill our admission forms.
She has always been the wind under our wings. I wasn’t surprised when I completed my graduation and my boyfriend proposed to marry, I asked my mother what she thinks. She looked at me and said –
“Betaji, you know very well what you have to do. But, if you ask me – Go for higher studies, stand on your own feet, visit different countries and then think about marriage! Marriage can wait but you standing on your own feet can’t.”
Her words did not surprise me a bit because I knew her so well.
On one side, while my friends were being forced by parents to get married, here my mom was telling me to run after my dreams. While my friends were meeting boys for an arranged marriage and I was burning mid-night oil to enroll myself in post-graduation.
By the time, I completed my post-graduation and got a job, most of my friends were married with a baby. And, every time, when I hear my friends cribbing about their lives or how they are not financially independent or how their in-laws ill-treat them, I take a deep breath and wonder how their lives would have been different if they would have been blessed with a Bindaas mom like ours.
Thanks Ma for giving us wings when others were cutting off their daughter’s wings!
Thanks Ma for making us believe in our power of dreams when others were asking their daughters to forget their dreams!
Thanks Ma for teaching us how to fly and touch the sky, when others were putting their daughters in gold cages!
Thanks Ma for being the badass mom that every daughter needs in a patriarchal society like ours!