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When you were born, my daughter, I promised myself that I would do everything in my power to make this a better life for you than it was for me. But it has been very hard, in a society like ours.
I still remember the day when I held you in my arms for the first time, my little Princess. The way you entangled your tiny little fingers with mine and wouldn’t let go for a long time.
That day itself, I pledged to take better care of you, to protect you on every path of life. But being the mother to a daughter isn’t that easy. I realize now how tough it would have been for my mom to bring me up in those days and to make me the person that I am today. I realized all this after you were born. And you will realize it all when you will become a mother someday.
It is not that easy. You know, even I had dreams, and the passion, and goals to achieve something, but I couldn’t.
Why? Society. Pressure. Marriage. Responsibilities. Even I was just like you, back then, a girl with dreams and goals. But everything came crashing down and reality hit me hard. I accepted all of the challenges. I had to. But when you were born, I promised to myself that I’ll let you be whatever you want to be. I’ll let you do, whatever you want to do. But, sadly, I failed here too.
Trust me, honey, this society didn’t let me, or let you fly. These people didn’t let me, or let you be. Sweetheart, I’m sorry. I always wanted to be your friend. To listen to your deepest secrets and thoughts. I never wanted my daughter to cry herself to sleep. I always wanted to be there for you. But all the other responsibilities and duties made me neglect you at the times you needed me the most.
But, you do know that I tried. I tried to be your friend. I tried understanding what you felt. But I couldn’t, I was helpless by my own limitations. In your absence, I supported you. I fought with people, for you. To let you be. To make you who you want to be. But all I heard back was “She is a girl. She has to do all the household chores as she has to take care of her own house someday. Won’t you teach her to cook? Didn’t you teach her how to talk?” These things were hard to ignore. These raised a question on my upbringing.
I still remember the time when you used to ask for permission to go out with your friends and I would refuse. You know why? Because I was worried about you. Always. All that I saw happening around the world, haunted me. You are my girl, my responsibility, my baby, I cared for you. I didn’t want anything or anyone to harm you. I know I have been a strict mom at times. Sometimes, I pushed you into the kitchen and asked you to cook. You know why? So that people wouldn’t say, “Your daughter knows nothing.”
Even if you did achieve the highest grades, society would have judged you on your capabilities as a homemaker. You had to take care of everyone someday, just like I do. I’m sorry for all the times when I couldn’t be a good mom. But trust me, sweetheart, I tried my best to make you a better lady, a better woman as you are today.
As I watch you grow up, I see myself in you. You are just like how I was back then. Ambitious. Dreamer. But as you grow up, you’ll surely understand my perspective too. Trust me, baby, I do love you. A lot. I know that a lot of times you felt that I love your brother more. That I do not scold him or ask him to do things. But I believe in you, more than him. I see you as a strong woman, which I always wanted you to be.
I loved all my children the same, but in fact, I loved you, cared for you a little more, but never showed. You are my little princess and my strong lady. I pray you to handle whatever comes your way. Mumma loves you the most.
A version of this was first published here.
Image source: a still from the movie Aamhi Doghi
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Rajshri Deshpande, who played the fiery protagonist in Trial by Fire along with Abhay Deol speaks of her journey and her social work.
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