How Delhi Changed The ‘Good Girl’ In Me

Posted by Ruchira Shree in Society
February 20, 2017
A small town girl arrives in Delhi with two bags full of dreams

Moving from a small town to a metropolis is a challenging transition for many young girls like me. While some experiences are fascinating, there are several unusual and uncomfortable instances that a girl from small town experiences.

I have always been a small town girl at heart. Growing up in a relatively smaller city, I had become used to its quirks. But then came the big decision to move to Delhi for higher studies.

For someone who had never left her small town, this new chapter in my life seemed rather daunting. New place jitters aside, I had spent seventeen years in my town with the same people around me.

But it was time to move on and experience new things.

And now that I have spent six years in Delhi, I consider myself as a Dilliwali. But home is, and will always be Ranchi, the capital city of Jharkhand, which you can explore from corner to corner in pretty much three to four hours.

When I first moved to Delhi, it took me two years to adjust to the culture, the local customs, and a whole new way of thinking. The most difficult part was the language.

How was I to suddenly use ‘Main’ instead of ‘Hum’ now? ‘Main’ sounds self-centered and narrow. ‘Hum’ has a certain magnanimity to it, and a certain elegance too. A sing-song elegance.

Over the years my parents always told me that I needed to be a ‘good girl’, a girl who listened to her elders and constantly needed to win the approval of family, be it aunts, uncles, grandparents, or well, neighbours.

And a ‘good girl’ had to have elegance, softness, lack of humour, vulnerability – these are all virtues a good girl is supposed to display.

And I belong to a place where gender discrimination is evidently at its peak. Fortunately, I didn’t have to be the pioneer in breaking the barriers because I had an elder sister who had paved the path for me.

She has pushed the boundaries for herself, and for me, several times over. She has made me believe that we need to negotiate to find a balance in our lives. We need to continuously negotiate with the world around us to find our space and our voices.

All these things may seem small, but in a society where women have no say regarding decision-making, where they are only expected to listen and follow carefully, ‘negotiation’ is a rather revolutionary term.

But I am lucky to have my elder sister who came to Delhi from the same small town 15 years before I came here, fought her battles and made me believe that even a small town girl like me can achieve what she wants to achieve. Despite her lack of exposure, her unsophistication, insecurities, loneliness and deep but pointless social conditioning.

I went to watch the special screening of The Good Girl show, a web-series written and directed by Anu Singh Choudhary. This web-series has further inspired me to break the stereotypical image of being a ‘good girl’. The show has made me wonder: Why are the girls pressurized to pursue this ‘perfection’ in such an imperfect world?

Negotiation – now that’s a life skill I have also come to strongly believe in. In a city where you are constantly being judged for who you are, where you live, what you do, how you speak, what you wear and what mode of transport you take, negotiation with one’s own self, and the world outside is the only way to be.

What will this perpetual negotiation give me? My right to be myself.

Small town girls are always made to conform to the stereotype and be ‘good girls’. We are expected to conform to the norms of the society we were once a part of and remain the same.

However, staying in a big city like Delhi completely changes you, it makes you strong, independent and a go-getter. It makes you a fighter and changes the definition of a ‘good girl’ that your parents have always imposed on you.

That said, I am still a good girl because I am a good human being. And that’s the only definition I understand.