I hail from a middle-class conservative family in India. My parents are simple, work government jobs and probably have done everything right by God and society. Which must be why they are successful and respected. They have come through a lot of hardships, lived in strange new cities, learnt to cope with different cultures and societies and are self-made people. Hard-workers. Humble. Disciplined. Living as decreed by our society.
Despite not having received exposure and freedom, they have given me and my sister a lot of freedom – freedom was allowed to us in certain measures. Which is great, because not every girl hailing from a conservative Indian family receives that. But me – I am the rebellious one in the family. “Crazy” as my mother would sometimes put it. Perhaps in this era of social media and networking, I ran wild with that freedom.
Going out with friends gradually resulted in staying out with friends. I would shift schools if I couldn’t simply “adjust”. Not enough books. Not enough clothes. Not enough money. Just not enough. The extents of the freedom given to me was pushed, blurred and broken. And no, my parents did not know about this.
I failed to understand why my freedom had extents set to it. Why are there limits on what we want to do? Isn’t that fundamentally incorrect, if the liberty I receive is set to a scale as per society’s outlook? I am free. With a list of do’s and don’ts. Mostly don’ts.
So I ran with the freedom I received. Wild and dangerous. Fearless and unstoppable. Breaking the rules of the colonized society.
And I am glad I did. Because had I not, how would I have taught myself to deal with heartbreak, stress, loneliness, loss of spirituality, reckless mistakes and misguided thoughts? It has made me strong and confident – that does not mean I am fearless. It just means that I can identify my emotions, my flaws, recognize people for who they are and recognize the worthy things in life.
Featured above is an artwork by me, titled ‘Beautiful mind’.