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As a daughter, a wife, a daughter-in-law, what is my value? Why are women always forced to do this soul searching?
I often wondered as a child, what will I become when I grow up? Who will I turn out to be?
In almost every aspect of life I have seen a version that isn’t pretty, that has never deterred me from my path, but rather, has fuelled my strength. Just as no one is born weak, in the same way, no one is born strong. Life makes you who you are, and we just become refined and more evolved to handle situations.
I keep asking myself questions, not doubting but always trying to find my place, my worth and my identity. But then again, aren’t we women always doing this soul searching?
Growing up in my community, in the type of family I come from, I have seen the journeys of many daughters; some of these journeys are happy, some are tumultuous, and some are happy as well as sad. Every such journey always came down to this question: What is the price of a daughter?
Is she worth the investment of a few decades?
Is she worth having decent education, livelihood and basic rights?
Is she worth having a voice?
Is she even worth being alive and breathing?
Who determines the worth and what exactly is the amount to measure a child’s worth even before it is born?
We have become so caught up in societal demands and needs that we don’t see a child as a child but as a long term stock, how well it will do in the market of life.
Is a daughter really worth all those years of training and keeping quiet?
Because a daughter deserves much more than a family who keeps measuring her worth and giving her a shell to survive in. Giving her measured freedom, because what if the daughter turns out to be a warrior?
Luckily, I turned out to be a daughter who doesn’t just survive through life but also has a say in it. But we are always more than one relationship; a daughter is also a friend, an aunt, a wife, a daughter in law, a mother…..
In this new phase of life I often caught myself asking – who is a wife?
Life as a newlywed wife is quite confusing. On the one hand, it’s comforting to be with the person who understands you in every mood. Who gives you the means to adjust to a whole 360 degree change.
But on the other hand, you keep going back to old places to collect the old versions of you. As if they were there frozen in time and you just decided to move on and become this person who is…
It’s hard to describe it but it feels like you became a more stable version, someone you aspired to be amidst the chaos and despair life threw at you for the longest time. You feel at peace being this way, yet there are moments you find yourself tearing up at the thought of whatever you left behind. The good and the bad. The victories and the battles.
We women have such a wave of change after we get married! It’s not as easy as they show us in movies, many of us deal with fitting in, being liked, being considered something in someone’s home, being a person. Yes, your husband’s love is most important, but we forget as a society to treat our daughters-in-law as our daughters, truly as our daughters.
This makes me ask myself a question – am I a daughter-in-law or am I a ghost?
What does someone’s daughter mean to you?
Is she a pretty vase in your vast living room – just pretty, dumb and numb…
Is she the dirty vessel you toss all your daily garbage into – dark, hollow and extremely mellow…
Is she the painting in your office staring silently into space…
What can she become when the tables have turned and the sun has set…
After being the hope for some time, what can the woman be to you when she is down?
Better yet, what can you be to her? If you can’t be her parent, can you at least be a friend?
The questions we ask ourselves are endless, but while we wait for answers and relief, we should always know that in every phase of our life we had support. We had friends, we had love and we too were the same for so many people.
Often we find ourselves in situations that are anything but favourable. So we dive deep into them and ourselves, searching for the strength and the answers. More often than not, some people have less than their fair share of peaceful moments and a larger share of struggles. But historically what has always been the key to survival, is togetherness.
No battle was ever won alone.
No story ever reached its happy ending in solitude.
Staying together has always made things better.
No woman is ever alone; if only she looks around, she will find the answers to all her questions in all the people who surrounded her throughout her lifetime.
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I recommend reading Manjiri Indurkar's Origami Aai alongside her memoir to have a fulfilling and enriching experience of telling one's story with grace.
It’s All In Your Head, M famed author Manjiri Indurkar’s debut poetry collection, Origami Aai, is independent and yet an extension of her memoir in which she speaks with utmost grace about all forms of abuses that she has survived. In this book of intriguing and evocative poems, the poet weaves words to form images of the everyday life of her middle-class family, love found and lost, trauma, and healing.
The collection is divided into four segments, beginning with the family, slowly moving towards the world, and finally colliding them together.
We aren’t in mourning, but we are creatures of habit.
So we talk of each one who died of drowning,
and I listen to her stories with the patience
of a chronicler.
– Funereal Stories
Indian students dream of studying abroad, but these deaths and the racism we feel ask the question - are we travelling there to only lose our lives?
Trigger warning: This speaks of racism and death of Indian students, and may be triggering to survivors.
Today morning while I was on my way to the office, I was scrolling Instagram and immediately my eyes got stuck on a post having the headline, “US Policeman ran over an Indian Student in Seattle”. Jaahnavi Kandula, a 23-year-old Northeast University Graduate student from Andhra Pradesh was struck and killed in January this year by a Seattle cop, Kevin Dave, while driving 74 mph on the way to a report of an overdose call.”
Further, I read that the investigating agency while watching the body-worn camera that captured the whole incident, were laughing and joking about the death and commented that her life had “limited value”. If the deceased had been a US citizen, would they have behaved in the similar way, I feel not?
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