That amazing girl named Hope
Here’s a story about a lovely girl-child born into this gendered world, who traversed every challenge, triumphed over all adversities, confronted bias head-on and came out a beautiful symbol of hope for her kind.
She was born hope….
One day she asked her parents why she was not like her brother. That day she learnt that she was a girl and her brother was a boy. She was 4. As time passed and she began to observe the world around her, it confused her. She had so many questions but her how’s and why’s were always met with the same impassive response - “it is as it is and has always been”. But she was not ready for the resigned acceptance, her thirst for knowing was not quenched……it remained. She was 6 now and the seeds of curiosity were only beginning to sprout.
All of 8, she could not understand why she was stuck with Barbie and pink frocks for birthday presents, when her brother, received her favorite toy-planes and talking bots. And when the allure of endless skies filled her heart with immense joy and thrill, why it had to seem elusive with her beloved aunt declaring “girls becoming fighter pilots was a fantasy!” She could not extinguish that little fire though. At 12, it still burnt bright within her heart and would not let the dream perish.
Mother reprimanded her for not being very lady-like at the family gatherings, but she was only 16 and the fearless, strong-headed journalist in her was just about finding her wings and ready to take flight. She must have been 18, when one day, she heard her uncle say, “boys don’t cry, they are strong”, and was both amused and perplexed for she cried many a time, as did other girls she knew. So, did that mean she wasn’t strong, or her mother, her aunt, her sister for that matter were weak? But she had witnessed them battle so many challenges, day in and day out, head-on, that to call them superhumans did not seem like an exaggeration. She could not understand the workings of this world that bowed to the divine feminine principle that is Kali or Durga, but the identity of her own kind was confined to the kitchen, the household and covered in dupattas and burqas! Should she believe her uncles and aunts for they were family and only wished her well. But her heart told her different – she was divided. So, she decided to choose her own path and discover for herself!
She had grown up reading the fairy tales of the Snow-white’s and the Cinderella’s, so it came as a surprise to everyone, when at 20, she started to idolize the Lakshmi Bai’s and the Indira’s, for those were the stories that now interested her. Why would the boys in college make fun of her and say that bravery was best left to them? The day is not far when these very boys would know her for the brave and smart woman that she is, just like the ones she had heard of, read about and tried to emulate all this while, she thought to herself. She had felt determined at that time!
25 now, she smiles and looks back at the Disney princesses she once dreamed of becoming, but those were the dreams of childhood and they are in the past. The present and its immense promise call out to her now. She is no longer that little puzzled girl as she has unraveled all those mysteries, one empowered decision at a time and has blazed her own trail to reach here. Society cannot clip her wings now for she is following in the footsteps of the Mary Kom’s and Kalpana Chawla’s who braved this very society and made their own identity in this world. She would not let this big bad world keep her from her destiny that she would forge with her hard-work, courage and determination.
As she stands at the threshold, rubbing shoulders with the bravery of boys and men, graceful in defiance and looking privilege in the eye to say that she is ready to unveil the new realm of her dreams, she waves goodbye to the world behind, the world that’s now gazing at her in awe. If only it could see her through its gender tinted windows, if only it could hear her above the sound of its prejudice, this journey could have been much easier. But wait, the challenges she encountered and overcame are what makes it all worthwhile, the struggle and hardship has only made this moment of victory on the horizon all the more sweeter!
Her indomitable spirit will not be broken, her dreams not tamed,
she will break all barriers and reach for that coveted gold.
Cheer for her or not, stand with her or not, she is okay, she is enough,
she is and has always been the warrior, brave, beautiful and bold.
The opinions, stereotypes and glass ceilings do not bother her,
she has her eyes set on the summit to conquer, a great tale is about to unfold.
A life of possibilities, of promise, of kindness and equality, a new world of glory awaits,
she is about to write a mesmerizing tale of her own for the world to behold.
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