Source: Humans of Bombay
“I come from an extremely conservative, middle class family. My father passed away a few months before my 10th standard board exams, and after that the girls in my family struggled to keep our education going. My older sister fought with everyone who said that us girls should be packed off and married instead of wasting money on our education.
Our finances were very tight so I began to take tuitions and work at call centres to try and pay for my graduation. It hasn’t been easy — we’ve had to fight for very basic things like wearing jeans and not a salwaar. Even today, when my relatives and neighbours see me wearing western clothes they call me all sorts of names and say I’ve used wrong methods to afford these clothes.
I’ve tried to block this out by keeping myself very busy so I also educate children in my chawl– I know what I’ve been through to educate myself…and other children might not be as lucky.
Finally, after the entire struggle I graduated a few months ago and I’m the first woman in my entire family and extended family to achieve this. I got a job right after and this month I received my first salary. I went home and gave the money to my mother and she was shocked to see that it was an amount that even men in our family haven’t earned.
I hope that my example changes the course of lives for girls like me, who are only considered fit for marriage. I know I have started small, but someday I’ll take my mother and move out of this chawl where we’ve been taunted all our lives, but for now I’m happy…very happy to have taken my first big step towards independence.”