My story begins from the day I was born.
My father often re-counts the day of my birth, and remembers how he cried bitterly when he saw me. I was his first child. I was also a girl. He had prayed fervently for a boy. And when God left his prayer unanswered, what chance did I have at a good life?
Ever since I have been both a baggage and a shame, but despite my best efforts I can’t live my life without being confined to just those two adjectives. I have many dreams, desires and goals for myself. At 22, my parents are working relentlessly to get me married off. But those are their desires, not mine. I want to complete my MBA, so I can stand on my own feet and pay for my one true passion – music. Music has always been my life’s calling, but MBA was my exit strategy from home, to ensure that I can buy some time from my family, from getting married off.
I come from a Rajput family, and my father doesn’t approve of girls who sing, dance, make music, art and are happy. He believes it’s not befitting to our tradition. His thoughts are narrow and cheap, and he has often tried hard to bottle me into them.
Right from my childhood, he’s kept more than just a keen eye on me. Any time he’d see a boy around, he’d yell at me for having an “affair”. But what does a 10-year-old girl even know about an affair? I was a painfully shy and reclusive child, and they forbid me strictly from any interaction with boys. Like a little puppet, they moulded me to their fancy.
Each passing year brought along more rules- not allowed to step out from college, not permitted to meet male cousins, attending a friend’s wedding ceremony is prohibited, can’t visit any friend’s home. My gender became my identity, giving my father the freeway to do as he pleases with my life.
I am a girl that's why I can't follow my musical dreams. I am a girl; therefore I can't ask them for my rights. I am a girl, therefore I have been molested and touched inappropriately but I must never complain. I am a girl, therefore I must watch my mother being abused by my father and still respect him, because – HE’S A MAN.
For far too long, I played by my father’s rules. Suffering at his relentless pursuit to crush me every chance he got. Restricting and bounding me, not just in body, but in mind and spirit too. I have given into that restless un-belonging many times, I’ve even attempted suicide. But those are stories of the past. I’m done acting like a puppet with no rights, I will fight for what’s mine- my passion, my music and my love.
Yes, I do have a love besides music - my boyfriend, who has been my support system and my strength. He and his family have welcomed me like my own have not. My boyfriend’s family loves me like they would their own daughter. As for my boyfriend, he has supported me through every step of every challenge.
He's a perfect and multi-talented musician who performs at many shows, our common love for music makes our love for each other much stronger. It is through his love, and the love of his family, that I have found within myself the strength to fight.
I now feel bad for my poor father, who will neither accept this relationship nor understand our love or our dreams of getting married. Instead, he will try to kill us over our caste, surname and community. Unfortunately for him, I no longer care. And more importantly, I no longer fear him.
I guess, what someone once said is true: "Scare them once and they will be afraid, scare them all the time, and they will forget it means to be afraid at all."