Updated: Jun 29, 2021
Narrated by Anonymous
Written by Anusha
I was told at a very young age that the person whom I call my mother isn’t my mother, but my aunt. My parents died in a car accident when I was two years old and it came upon my mother’s sister to raise me. I was the only child and my father's siblings refused to raise me.
These harsh truths weren’t hidden from me and were thrown on my face every time I upset my ‘adopted’ parents. I was constantly reminded to be thankful that they hadn’t thrown me out on the streets or given me to some random stranger who would have probably sold me into prostitution. My aunt and uncle till today believe that by raising me they’ve done Punya (good deed) and will go to Heaven for it.
What seemed acceptable then, but now, completely outrageous, was the differential treatment I received. My aunt has two daughters of her own. Raising three girls in a conservative middle-class family was a nightmare for them. So, they would very often take out their frustrations on me by beating me up severely for any small mistake, like spilling milk and then keeping me locked up till I healed.
Although I was a bright academic student, I was strictly told to not be ambitious. I would be a BA Pass and have a government job so that I could earn and return back the favour of being brought up in a ‘safe’ home.
I bought into this dream with a heavy sense of guilt and shame of being the burden of the family. I was not allowed to buy a lot of new clothes or shoes. Never allowed to go on school field trips or make a lot of friends. Never allowed to join any extra-curricular activities, while both my cousin sisters did all of these things.
When others asked about my lack of participation, they were told that I am very shy and did not like doing much. I would be severely scolded if I talked about the differences at home.
Eventually, growing up changed things. I saw how my school friends shared their stories about the care and concern they received and I would be struck in awe. Naturally, I would go home and ask about my real parents and would be locked up in the storeroom with no dinner for that night. My uncle just pretended I didn’t exist and wouldn’t even talk to me.
My breaking point came in eleventh standard when I wanted to pick science and study medicine. But both of them refused to pay so much for my tuition and reminded me that I wasn't supposed to think of working as a long-term goal.
I didn’t want to back down so easily. So, I would constantly fight back and argue with them. I was ready to earn by teaching younger kids of my locality.
Things, however, got very heated; I was badly beaten causing severe swelling and bleeding. I was on bedrest that entire week. Later, I got to know that my uncle had gone to school with the slip mentioning my choice to be Humanities.
As heart broken and abandoned, I felt, it was my cousin sister who began to realize the inequalities present in the household. She helped me not just with academics but also to stand up for myself.
She made sure I saw my own worth, stood up for me, sparking in me a slight glimmer of hope for a brighter future. Because of her help, I decided to move out of the house for my Bachelors. Her belief in me, made me confident to try and aspire for better things in life.