When I was born I was a daughter to my parents, to my brother I was a sister and after marriage I became a wife, a daughter in law, a bhabhi, a mami a chachi and I don't know how many more labels were given to me .I was constantly put into one box or the other and expected to act accordingly.
I remember as a child my brother could do anything and everything that he wanted to do. He could go out and play with his friends, take cricket coaching, ride a bike and fly a kite. His life was full of AND's and he could at any time perform any role that he wanted to and take part in any activity that he wanted to indulge in. However for me it was always about being dutiful, learning about the household chores and remaining confined to roles and activities that were given to me . Perhaps this was the difference between a Boy and a Girl. I remember that ever since my early childhood it was always thought appropriate for me to act and obey the elders and do as I was told. As long as I adhered to the rules and the expectations set for a girl things were fine however when ever I tried to set foot across boundaries set for me things got difficult and I was never granted permission. When I wanted to learn to sing and dance I was denied permission by my grandmother who thought that girls from good households did not indulge in such activities . That was the first time I stood up for myself and presented my case to my grand father with the support of my mother . He was initially reluctant saying that I am a girl. To which I said yes, “I am a girl but also AND an individual “. Finally he relented and let me pursue singing and dancing classes. When I graduated out of college I wanted to work but my parents were of the opinion that I should get married first and then do things according to the wishes of my husband and In laws .However the rebel that I was I took the stand,Yes I am a girl AND I am also educated. As an educated person I have the right to pursue a career and be financially independent. They finally let me work,were they convinced with my argument or they thought that a working girl will get a better groom, I am not very sure. Then I got a job at a school, where a proposal was put forward to train the girl students in self defense. The proposal was presented to the school principal who in turn presented it before the school board for approval approval. However the school board expressed its inability as it lacked the funds. After brainstorming it was decided to see if some of the teachers could be trained in this field who would in turn train the students. Now the proposal came to us teachers asking us to volunteer for this cause. I volunteered my name to which the principal showed his surprise and said, “but you are a girl”. By now I had got used to the you are a girl label . So I calmly replied "Yes I am a girl AND I would be the self defense trainer for the school". My resolve and determination convinced the principal that I was the right candidate for this job. Today I not only teach academic subjects but also impart self defense training to the girls and the first thing I teach them is to have the faith in themselves that they can defend and protect themselves in times of need. My mantra to each girl is "Yes you are a girl AND you have the ability to do anything that you want to be". Just break out of the label that people give you. Once you step out of the box that people place you in, You can do this and that and everything you like and want to do.
“This post is a part of #UseYourAnd activity at BlogAdda in association with Gillette Venus“.