I come from a family where girls and boys are treated differently and girls are restricted within four walls, like – you can be educated but still you’d be expected to cook, clean the house, give birth to kids, and raise them; and your ideal choice of a profession should be fashion designing or that of a beautician and you should groom yourself to be worthy of marriage since the beginning. No girl in the family except me and another sister has done well in studies and thought of having proper jobs or exploring our lives outside the four walls of our house.
My father was the first graduate of his family and had to move away from our ancestral home in Nagpur due to his job. He married my mother who was highly educated as well and they brought me and my brother up in an environment where we both support and stand up for each other. On the other hand, my uncle (chacha), the youngest brother of my dad has a son and a daughter who are treated very differently. The son is a spoilt brat and gets away with whatever he does while the daughter can’t even speak with her friends on the phone without being scolded. My chacha and chachi want their son to go to Mumbai and study but are hesitant to want the same for their daughter. Nobody in the family, including her brother, will speak up for her. I want to fight for her but I can’t because I am afraid that she might up end up facing the consequences. For now, one of my cousins, settled in Mumbai, and I are trying to get her to come to Mumbai so that she can escape the negative environment at home and get proper education and exposure to have an independent life.
I want to undo the vicious cycle of discrimination in my family. I’m a journalist and largely attribute my success to my mom, who has always made it a point that I should be educated and stand on my own two feet, even opposing my father strongly when he wanted me married off by the age of 25. I constantly face judgments about my choice of career from my relatives for everything ranging from my choice of clothes to the choice of my profession, but that’s fine with me as they can only talk behind my back and have no authority over me. I just want to make sure that I make my mark and be someone whom the women of my family can look upto and get inspired from.