I have never had an ordinary childhood. It was always one thing or another which kept me consumed. It was never about which colour frock I’d want, or the Barbie I really needed, or the birthday party I craved for. I’d never cut a cake for 17 years, until two years ago when she decided otherwise.
I was born in an orthodox family where it wasn’t normal for a girl to have demands, or maybe it was just me they had a problem with. I didn’t realise it until I was eight or nine that I was treated differently than my other siblings. I realised how nothing was easy for me, how partiality existed between my needs and those of my brothers. I never complained, I never fought back, I just wept, that too very silently and the only person who noticed was the one who was connected to me even before I was born. The rest thought that I was simply overreacting and over-analysing things even though somewhere I knew that I was far from having a normal childhood.
Over a period of time, I grew habituated to being left out. I felt that it’s probably just something about me. I was convinced that everyone hated me even though I excelled in every academic and extra-curricular field as a child. The first position is something I never compromised on but then I never knew the answer to why I was treated differently.
I started keeping quiet until the time I reached 15-16 years of age, not asking for even the basic necessities. Once, I locked myself in a room and stayed there for hours because nobody wanted to be around me or listen to me after I returned from school. Loneliness and defeat was something which I had accepted in life. I knew that’s how my life would be until my mother gave me the best lesson of my life.
That night, she simply walked into my room and told me, “It’s okay if you’re not a part of the crowd, if you’re not ordinary. Don’t ever let anyone make you feel inferior. Don’t ever let someone defeat you in your battles without even beginning to fight. Choose your battles wisely, grow bolder like I have now. Grow to be what you want to be, and I’ll always be there by your side. Do not wait for someone to do things for you, be your own warrior and I’ll always be your shield. You aren’t any less than a man, in fact, you’re much above them. You’re far stronger and far braver than they’ll ever be and that’s something no one can take away from you.
Be ruthless when it comes to your dignity, shoot someone away if you need to but never feel scared, because no one can ever help you if you can’t help yourself. Learn to be a queen, and never feel ashamed of being a girl because I know, you’ll always make me much prouder than your brothers. Do yourself some good each day and follow your heart.”
These words from my mother have remained etched in my heart, she is the one who made me realise my true calling of being a wordsmith, and I couldn’t thank her enough for that. No longer does the world matter because my world started to reside in her. My mother has been the reason behind #WhyIWrite, and on this Mother’s Day, I’d want to thank her for having my back, for being there when nobody was, for loving me more than she had ever loved someone.