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The moonlight peered through the window silently assured to revive her. A new dawn was waiting for her across a couple of hours...
Fighting the urge to draw the curtain and shut the window, she snuggled into the softness of the blanket. It was getting colder. She needed someone to watch over her, to pacify her.
How would anyone know one needs help unless the one voices it out? Her mind came up with different questions to conceal the anxiety but none helped. Everyone believed that she was fine. Well, that was her intent in putting up the poker face in the past couple of weeks.
A lone muscle of her heart grieved. It hurt. She felt ashamed. How couldn’t she? She couldn’t make it to the government medical college with her rank. She believed that she worked hard but somehow that didn’t yield.
As a private medical seat was never an option, her last year in the coaching center was officially tagged as doomed. People talked, sympathised and some advised. She was fed up with explaining her point to those who sympathised over her loss. Some people are keen to lay hands on the bleeding nerves.
She winced at the unannounced menstrual cramp. It was the third day of her period, yet the flow was steady. Once the shooting pain subsided, she shifted a little to check if she stained the bedsheet. It didn’t leak. Neither crestfallen nor delighted, she sat up leaning on the backrest of the bed. The last time she bled was four months ago. Time flies.
It has been weeks since she was diagnosed with PCOS, Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. The doctor categorised her as the one in ten women who deal with the condition. If not for Google, she would have never known what does PCOS meant and what it could do to her.
The experience of visiting the doctor was not a colorful one. The kind of looks she received while waiting for her turn was awful. A teenager and her mother in the footsteps of a gynecologist are horrifying for some moral reason.
“Look, don’t panic. We have dealt with a lot of cases where the parents get to know about such things upon doing the test. I’m not saying this case will be like that. She was staying in the hostel for the entrance coaching, right? Children these days are unpredictable.”
A humourless chuckle escaped her lips recalling what the doctor said. The foremost instinct of human beings might be prejudice. Maybe it’s very easy to pass judgement rather than to analyse. More than her, her mother was offended by the doctor. She was on safe ground. She knew it the moment she saw her mother’s displeased face.
The periods have got back on track for sure but her life had taken a straight angle turn. She was confused about whether she should mourn over her medical condition or on her unfulfilled dream of becoming a doctor.
Two weeks back, she was reluctant when her mother asked her to apply for a degree program. She didn’t know what to do next. When the car you’re riding breaks down, it’s wiser to get down and move rather than to prod the failed engine to resurrect.
What she did just for the sake of doing had now literally become her only backup. And that backup plan too was not earned by her. She was asked to and she did. The realisation weighed hard. Sitting on the bed and musings on life, she realised how irresponsible she has been. She landed herself at a vantage point where people could easily drop their two cents.
Since childhood, whenever she was asked about her ambition she has always said that she wants to be a doctor. It was her parent’s age-old dream too. She never had to contemplate over the ambition thing. There was never a plan B. Even after not making it to the medical school, they didn’t taunt her for once, not even with a disapproving glance.
Should she be relieved? Do her parents think that she’ll take some drastic steps if they blame her? Is that why they let her be? She wasn’t sure. But it had managed to add another bead in the chain of her emotional turbulence.
She didn’t want to face anyone. She didn’t know how she would face anyone.
All of her friends have moved on and there was a year gap. There on, she’ll be studying along with her juniors. Many of them might know her. The last thing she wanted was to look out of place. The introvert streamed through her veins made it much worse. She squeezed her eyes shut.
The darkness didn’t make her invisible but she felt so. An old memory grazed through her synapses and soon she saw her twelve-year-old self standing in a classroom.
“Did you write it by yourself?” He looked through his specs. She was standing next to the bench, barely reaching his mid-arm.
“Yes,” sweat trickled down her nape to escape into the collar of her shirt. She swallowed the lump in her throat as the whole classroom went silent. The classroom was filled with forty-eight students but no one dared to talk in his class.
“All that glitters is not gold.”
“Necessity is the mother of invention,” he read out the lines from her notebook. A mocking smile adorned his face.
It was the year the school collaborated with the Communicative English Wing. They offered linguistic games and exercises to brush up on the skills of the students. In an overnight, the students were only allowed to speak in English inside the campus. Those who failed to do so were noted.
It was one such Communicative English class in 7th grade. That day in the morning itself, the students were copying answers from each other. The homework was to elaborate on certain sayings. Copy-pasting as such didn’t digest her hence she managed to get the gist from one of her friends and paraphrased it in her own words. Unfortunately enough, the Communicative English trainer picked her up from the whole class as he skimmed through the notebooks.
“You wrote it by yourself?” He repeated.
“Yes sir.” She wanted to tell him that even though she had read the answer from her friend, the answer in her notebook is solely her own words with the gist she picked up. That was the truth. But she couldn’t bring herself up.
“Aren’t you ashamed of yourself?” he snapped. “Aren’t you ashamed to lie at my face? That too in front of the whole class?”
Her tongue was long paralyzed. If he had noticed her eyes for once, he would have known how scared, how helpless she was. Though a ‘sit down’ reverberated in the class after seconds, she was too embarrassed to face anyone and to sit amidst the spectators anymore.
She was the type of girl who had studied in English medium since kindergarten but couldn’t speak English confidently. She knew it. If he asked her to write down an explanation, she would have. She was scared. What if she messes up the grammar? Self-consciousness didn’t let her string words together. She couldn’t explain her point as they were only allowed to speak in English.
Another cramp snapped her back to reality. It was worse than the previous one. She clutched onto the blanket and took deep breaths through her mouth. Painful periods are better than having no periods at all. Lying down in a comfortable position, she shifted her focus to the ceiling fan.
Even six years later, nothing changed tremendously. That incident injured her self-confidence. It was strange. She could write effortlessly in English but the hesitation in speaking persisted. She has survived that deepest curve in life alone. The memories of that day refused to free her. So as the scars. Every time life refused to be generous, she was resilient enough to swim past the turbulent tide. But this time, there were too many spectators of her bad luck.
Grabbing the mobile phone from the nightstand, she logged in to the web page. The memo of her admission stared back at her. English Language and Literature. She’ll soon be pursuing it. Something shifted in her. She could sense it.
The moonlight peered through the window silently assured to revive her. A new dawn was waiting for her across a couple of hours and she knew that she will survive like every other time.
Maybe some detours are meant to take us to the right destination. Maybe one needs to sleep to wake up to the dawn, to resurrect.
Image Source: lzf from Getty Images via Canva Pro
Meera finds solace in writing. Everything she writes has a degree of truth in it and comes from her personal experiences. Often, she shares her writings on her Instagram account @meera_jr. read more...
This post has published with none or minimal editorial intervention. Women's Web is an open platform that publishes a diversity of views, individual posts do not necessarily represent the platform's views and opinions at all times.
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"There is a story and a vision which makes us gravitate towards cinema. Even as we worked as assistants on ads, we realised that cinema was our true calling," say Gunpreet Kaur Mann and Deepali Singh Raseen.
The Railway Men. Mili. Cuttputli. The Diplomat. Bade Miyan Chote Miyan. And more…
Let me introduce to you the talented designer duo who have worked on these, and can be considered today’s upcoming costume designers for the screen. Gunpreet Kaur Mann and Deepali Singh.
Having studied at NIFT, Gunpreet Kaur Mann sent her portfolio out to several designers. Her first gig was as an assistant stylist with Manoshi and Rushi, who also happen to be a designer duo. She worked on an ad film starring Saif Ali Khan and eventually landed a full time job with designer Vikram Phadnis. Years of experience as assistant costume designer followed, which eventually led her to getting a break.
A ‘thank you’ makes a lot of difference in the way any woman in your life sees herself in your eyes. It might even mean the world to her.
I have not received any appreciation in the past. Probably never will. This is the experience of ample women across the globe. The expectation to be thanked for all the sacrifices she makes to keep others happy has faded. Yet the urge to hear few words of acknowledgement always lingers.
There is never a day when she pushes off her own burdens. She knows not to give up on people she loves. Women in general, are givers by nature and hence, give without asking anything in return. They have been the care givers and lovers since centuries however receive no appreciation.
It will mean the world to your mother if you answer her calls. If your sister seems lost give her a hug and assure her about her strengths. Tomorrow, there might come a day when you would have to make your daughter feel empowered with few words of wisdom every now and then. For the children to feel wanted and loved, you must be able to spare some quality time with your wife and be present in the moment.
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