I write because often I’m afraid to say the words I feel inside out loud to people. I am used to being the youngest and the only woman in my family, where my voice was often not heard in the important matters in which I wanted it to make a difference. Writing has been my salvation, it has been a way to get the words stuck in my throat out and on display for the world to see.
I feel that writing is a physical manifestation of all that happens inside of my mind, so in order to keep my body healthy, I write to express all the pain I feel.
Sometimes, I feel like I’m someone who is caught in between two different worlds on a planet that is changing more quickly than I can keep up with. As an Indian woman living in America, my experience of being the first generation has left me without footing numerous times. When I go back to India, I am often more confused, mostly because I can’t understand why a lot of my friends and family there are obsessed with the West.
I know I have never endured day to day life in India, and I have always been told that it comes with a lot more challenges than I could imagine, which makes me think that perhaps my perspective is inaccurate. Writing for Youth Ki Awaaz has reminded me that it’s important to share either way and if what I’m saying is met with criticism instead of praise, I should use that as an opportunity for growth.
Speaking up and using our voices is also one of the most powerful tools we have in keeping democracy safe. If we fail to speak out about the issues that strike us, whether they are related to politics or not, we lose the possibility to build community and change around our passions.
Personally, I feel that native Indians need to be continually and consistently vocal more now than ever before, and that requires them to be unafraid in telling their stories about the changing face of their nation. Youth Ki Awaaz is revolutionary because anyone can post on the platform, which means that those who have voices that were always shut down can finally speak out about how they are feeling without consequence and fear. Marginalized communities are the most essential to the fabric of a nation, and their liberation should be something that is a collective effort of all.
For those of us who have had to parse our voices throughout our histories, writing is an act of pure rebellion against the systems that enslave our minds. When we are taught how to think and a particular way of existing is imposed upon us, writing is our cure and the way we can unravel our chains.
For me, writing is as necessary as breathing, in that it helps me process the world around me in a more healthy and balanced way, it brings peace to my mind. Being given the opportunity to write for Youth Ki Awaaz and my editor’s belief in me and my work has been a tremendously validating experience and has reminded me to explore the world in a more gentle and thoughtful way. It has challenged me to see perspectives that I would normally overlook because I am so engaged in mine, and most importantly, my writing has opened up dialogue and conversation that has allowed me to shed my previous belief systems in favour of ones that are more encompassing.
I feel nothing but a tremendous amount of gratitude for the fact that I have been given a mind and a voice that work together in inking words on paper, words that I hope will help others who have been struggling with the same issues as I have, feel a little bit less alone in the world.