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I’m Proud To Be A ‘Ladies’ Man’ – And It’s Not What You Think

Editor’s Note: This post is a part of What's A Man, a series exploring masculinity in India, in collaboration with Dr. Deepa Narayan. Join the conversation here!

Created by Youth Ki Awaaz

Were you told to hide or control your emotions while growing up?

I was born in a rich family but could enjoy the luxuries of life only till 2006. Due to some mishaps, my family suffered a major financial loss when I was in class 10 – the so-called ‘career-deciding’ phase of a student. Consequently, my mother had nothing left which would enable her to pay my school and tuition fees.

One day, I saw my mother walking out of Nayak Tutorials, crying. She told me that the coaching fees for a year was ₹25,000. That was the day when I decided to study on my own and relieve my mother’s worries. Since I had a good academic record, my teachers decided to help me by giving us the leeway to pay the school fees, whenever it was possible for us. They also helped me by providing notes for the exams.

At the age of 16, I started teaching maths and science to my friends – as this was an easier way to learn it myself. By now, I had also become emotionally mature – and hence, I started helping my mother in running the dhaba, which she used to run single-handedly – by cooking food and selling it. After school, I used to study – and then, in the evening, I used to help mom by delivering the food and washing the utensils. This was the least I could do for my Maa, who supported me so much. With my mother as my backbone, I scored 69% in the board exams.

In 2008, I passed the class 12 exams with 61%. However, even though I wanted to pursue hotel management, I was pulled down by my financial crisis. Therefore, I decided to quit studies after class 12 – but once again, my mom supported me in finishing graduation. I started taking dance classes, choreographing fashion shows and hosting such events – and these helped me complete graduation.

During this period, I also met the love of my life. However, I was turned down by her parents as I didn’t come from an affluent family. Still, the girl continued to support me during this time. She taught me fluent English, prepared me for interviews – and even searched for a college where I could pursue an MBA. Yes – for the same guy who wanted to quit studies after class 12. Her determination and my hard work helped me earn 74% in my MBA course – and after that, there was no looking back.

Even after a tiring day with back-to-back classes, I still took time out to plan for helping the underprivileged by providing free education – and also something for women empowerment. With the support of my sister, I started an NGO – Aarna Foundation.

Everything was going fine, until tragedy struck me in April 2014. I lost the girl I loved so deeply in an accident. I was shattered and went into severe depression. I will admit that I even attempted suicide – thrice. But, I am still alive only because of my family.

Dedicating my life for the needy was my only goal after this – and seeing people happy helped me recover from my depression. By 2016, I started achieving my goal of working for the betterment of society.

Then, after the storm came the sunshine. In January 2017, I was selected as the district secretary of human rights by the All India Council of Human Rights, Liberties and Social Justice (AICHLS). I also ‘adopted’ two Thane Municipal Corporation schools, and our NGO was granted an 80g certificate. I opened my dream restaurant – and finally, our NGO grew bigger with the help of people who kept joining us almost daily.

I am happy that I’m not alone in making others happy. I have a big team which spreads happiness. In fact, a recently-launched campaign to provide free sanitary napkins to underprivileged women at a pan-India level has received positive responses.

The next plans in the pipeline are – starting a shelter home at Thane and study centres in Bangalore, Kolkata and Hyderabad for underprivileged kids and women. I also want to stop rapes and other crimes against women and start a women-employment centre which will help them be independent and run their own families.

In a nutshell, I am what I am because of the women in my life. I strongly believe in women empowerment – because behind every successful man, there is a woman. In fact, I am proud of being called a ‘ladies’ man’.

The author can be followed here and here. The NGO can be found here.


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