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A young girl goes to college. Her naiveté encourages people to bully her. This girl is strong and can’t wait to fly. Here’s a letter she wrote to her mom.
“Don’t wear glasses”
“You can’t make money”
“Family first (you second, or maybe third)”
“You asked for it”
“It’s possible that you must have done something wrong”
Where do I begin? Every morning the newspapers are full of the prejudice, censure, diktats and hurdles women must face everyday. From being told what to wear to having fingers wagged and being shamed for living a certain lifestyle.
I am guilty of the imperfect world I leave my daughter to inherit. A whimsical take on a child’s innocent and hopeful view of the world as she stands on the precipice of discovering the realities of it.
I’m doing fine here. When I reached the hostel from the station, the rickshaw fellow tried to avoid giving me my change. But I stood my ground and waited for him to return my Rs. 8.
He mocked me and called me pagal moti, but I didn’t care. I’ve often noticed that when I disagree with boys who aren’t nice, my weight always comes up. They spit it out like an abuse. How odd!
Anyway, the hostel is nice but the food is atrocious. When we complain they ask us to ‘take our whining’ to the hostel in charge. The canteen manager even said, “If you hire men to do work of women folk, there will always be an issue.” And she is a woman by the way. I can’t quite understand what special skill sets make women better cooks but maybe I don’t know enough and she does. So I didn’t reply.
If I tell you about the ragging, do you promise to not turn up here and make a scene? You have my swear. So there are these three girls who are always singling out Veera and I.
Veera is from Varanasi (sounds funny na?). Nice girl. So these three girls always find some or the other way to belittle us. Sometimes they take our food away, other times, they’ll make us sing.
Veera was even made to clean their loo because they said she is kaali kaluti baingan looti and thus wouldn’t mind cleaning up. I didn’t get the connection again, but maybe I don’t know enough right? So I didn’t reply.
Now I know what you must be saying. We did go to the authorities once, but they turned on us, sadly.
One madam told us there must be a reason why we are singled out. They asked us whether we have boyfriends, whether we smoke, whether we stay out late. Again, what is the connection? And it seemed as if we had done something wrong. They went scot-free and are bothering us more now. But don’t worry. Nothing I can’t handle.
The college freshers show is coming up soon you know. I am on the junior committee. We need to go around to other colleges and the university, taking permissions, do the ground work for various events. It is fun. But we were asked to wear western formal and especially heels. I fell about a million times but had no option.
The heels, I borrowed from someone and wore. They didn’t even let me wear glasses, saying it doesn’t look nice. That we need to look presentable and pretty. Again, I don’t see the connection but I didn’t want to make the coordination committee sir angry.
He takes special interest in me, you know. And he asks me to come over to his room after classes to train me better for the work I have to do. He is nice and I don’t want to infuriate him. So, I wear what he asks us to.
These all seem like odd problems na mumma? College life is fun but odd. There are just so many things I don’t understand.
But I’m just glad that in a few years I’ll be out in the world where no one, absolutely no-one, will tell us what to eat, wear, how to behave.
Yippee! I look forward to that freedom. It’ll be amazing na, ma?
Can’t wait to fly!
Lots of love,
Picture credits: Pexels
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