Ours is an extremely traditional South Indian family. We are two girls with no boys in the house. I hardly knew how to talk or deal with boys during my childhood. My dad, who was extremely protective of us never let us even look at men, forget about making guy friends. I was mostly obedient, good in whatever I did - be it my education or hobbies. However, something was always missing and it bothered me.
I knew I looked for freedom - to express openly without having to think a lot about if I am allowed to do this or not. Having secured an admission and a scholarship later, I , with extreme difficulty had convinced my father to allow me to pursue a post graduate degree in my chosen subject from a foreign university.
Travelling alone for the first time was a humongous deal for me. When I heard the announcement of the flight landing, I still remember cursing myself thinking why I even started off at the first place. With the help of a few new friends who agreed I could stay with them for a while , I set out to start off my new life in this foreign land. Each day was a new learning for me. Sad or happy, I loved every minute of it.
I knew I could do it and I had to show it to my dad after all. I had to show him that it’s okay to let go and it’s okay to take some risks in life. I wanted to make him proud and that I was indeed able to do it. However, my default nature would always set in and I found myself going back to a safety shell.
I kept promising myself that tomorrow will be a new day.
While I was busy figuring out life myself, my housemate, who was also studying in the same university came as a fresh breeze of wind. I learnt from him indirectly that it’s okay to talk and ask questions when in doubt. It’s okay to get embarrassed, to get lost or take criticism. It was he who showed me that there is always a different perspective to anything. He was full of life. Fearless. He taught me to explore, wonder and experiment.
While I sat on the beach looking at the sea, because that’s what I have been told - to be safe, he convinced me it’s okay to go into the water and play against the waves. This man made me do things I had never even imagined to do before. He was the most amazing guy I had come across and there could not be another one like him, I was convinced.
Fast forward but nowhere close to the present, yes, we fell in love eventually. I still feel so proud of us for we always did the right things in the right manner, unlike many others. We believed in not keeping our feelings wrapped up. In all our innocence, we believed we could talk to our elders and be together forever. Although my father was very surprised to see a transformed me, he did believe in me ultimately.
It was extremely hard - equally for him and me. Talking to my father, asking for his permission so we could get married - this bold girl - was someone that he had created. I was so proud to introduce my lover to my father.
But life had other plans for us. Today, after 13 years, we both are walking on different paths. I look back to those times once in a while. Now, I teach my little girl those things - to be herself, to express, to be bold and to live life carefree. Although I never say all these things to you or anyone, you will always belong to that happy and special place in my heart. You will remain the foundation of the person I am today.
Thank you for introducing me to “Life” even though it was only for a short while.