“I was born into a very liberal family, I made my own choices — about everything from what clothes to wear, what to study and whom to be friends with.
I was even sent for my first solo trip, at the age of 16! Through all of these experiences I was encouraged to build my own individual identity.
After I finished college, I started working. I wanted to go abroad and pursue a PhD, but around that time I met a man through friends, and fell in love. It was a whirlwind romance, and we loved spending time with each other. I told my parents, and they were very accepting of us. In fact they even encouraged me to get married.
I wanted to focus on my career, but I didn’t want to disappoint my parents, so I agreed to get married.
At first, everything seemed normal. But it all changed when I scratched the surface.
My mother-in-law treated me in a horrible way, she kept telling me what to wear, whom to meet and how to live.
She was jealous of us going out, so my husband had to lie to her even if we wanted to go for a simple dinner. This went on for 7 years — I was on an emotional decline and had started losing all sense of my identity.
It took such a toll on me, that I ended up having 2 miscarriages during that time.
With each one, I felt like I was dying a little inside. Finally, after all of this, when I gave birth to my baby boy, life gave me a ray of hope.
I was just being pulled out of my rock bottom, when I realised that my husband was cheating on me.
I was heartbroken, because he was my biggest pillar of strength. So I told him that he needed to make a choice of which woman he wanted in his life.
He said that I could still be his wife, but she’d always be his girlfriend.
I was shattered, but I guess that was exactly the jolt I needed to get back up on my feet, and fight the oppression.
I realised that nothing is as important as my freedom, to live my life the way I want to. So I packed my bags, took my son and left to start a new life. I moved in to a house that I’d saved up and bought, I started working and fending for both me and my son.
Today, I’m living a life that I should’ve chosen years back.
I’m living in with a partner, who loves and respects me just for the way I am. I’m teaching my son to not bow down to any tag that people plaster on you, but to break those stereotypes and make your own place in the world.
I wake up feeling liberated, and go to sleep knowing that I dictated my own terms, and followed my heart. And that’s the kind of legacy I want to leave behind.”
Though Indian women have taken our country to the moon, our judgemental society still believes that a man is the only answer to a woman’s fulfillment. Sadly it still doesn’t accept strong women, for whom their self-esteem and happiness are important.