Listening to Priyanka Chopra share her experience of being judged for choosing her way of doing things (whether it was choosing her profession, or just living her life), I realised something. I can absolutely empathise with her.
I remember the looks I used to get while growing up, when I started insisting on my way of doing things. My way of dressing, my kind of clothes, my kind of hairstyle. Playing with video games, rather than playing with dolls. My mother did give in, with a certain amount of fuss, but she was the exception. At school, when I was spotted talking to boys, I was told off and when I persisted, that’s when the big guns came out.
‘Bigdi hui ladki’.
In different languages, in many parts of the country but always the same words. This girl is going ‘bad’. This girl is going ‘wrong’. And to be honest, the tag kept me down for many years.
Society has a way of kicking down those who try to be different, or try to bend the ‘rules’. You’re a girl and you smoke? You want to study literature, instead of engineering? What’s that, you want to the movies with your boyfriend or girlfriend? Moving out of your parents’ house for a job overseas? The local uncles and auntys are just waiting to whip out their judgemental epithets for you.
But I’d rather be ‘bad’ for choosing to do things my way, then not do them at all. If I’m bad, for choosing my way of doing things, then to quote PC up there, “I’m proud to be a [bigdi hui ladki].” Because does it really matter “log kya kahenge (what will people say?)“