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2022 Was Significant For Me As The Year I Became Financially Literate

My advice to all women reading this article is that never confuse love with worldly possessions or money. Build your financial literacy soon!

“Time is like a flower, Krishna said once. I didn’t understand. But later I visualized a lotus opening, the way the outer petals fell away to reveal the inner ones. An inner petal would never know the older, outer ones, even though it was shaped by them, and only the viewer who plucked the flower would see how each petal was connected to the others.” — The Palace of Illusions, Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

So how did the petal of 2022, that is set to fall away soon, unfurl for me? If there’s one colour I’d assign to this petal, it’d be the indigo-green colour– the colour of placid water of an ocean. No choppy currents, no waves.

On the surface, the year looks mundane. The same sun rose everyday. The same sun set everyday. Day after day. Night after night. It isn’t a year of any momentous happening. Just the same humdrum, dreary life went on. Yet as each year of our lives makes us evolve in some way or another, so did 2022.

2022: the year I became financially literate

By the end of last year, I fortuitously came across a free session on managing personal finance by “Women on Wealth”. I was deeply impressed. Finance was something I was not comfortable dealing with, though I started earning very early in life. Almost immediately after attending their free introductory session, I visited their website and enrolled for their course on Personal Finance. This was followed by another course on Stock Investing.

After completing both these courses, I’m confident of taking charge of my finances. What’s more, I’m now glad to be part of a thriving community of intelligent women who discuss finance.

Less than a third of the population of India are financially literate. According to this report, only 27% of Indian adults– and 24% of women– meet the minimum level of financial literacy as defined by the Reserve Bank of India. But it’s especially important for women to take a stand when it comes to financial decisions.

The position of women in the Indian society is especially vulnerable as they are expected to always please their husbands and in-laws. What may seem like an innocuous suggestion, may turn out to be a life-changing mistake on the woman’s part. And so finance is not just about learning jargon or investing, finance is a mindset. This is my most important takeaway from the courses.

In my youth, I committed one such financial mistake that I regret to date. All the jewellery gifted by my parents and relatives during my marriage were in my ex-husband’s safekeeping. After we got divorced, he refused to return any of those pieces of jewellery. And all my valuable pieces of jewellery were just lost. Now I realise that in my naïveté, what a grave mistake I committed at that time.

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My advice to all women reading this article is that never confuse love with worldly possessions or money. And never keep your streedhan in your husband’s or his family’s safekeeping just to please them. Either keep it in your individual locker, or with your parents, or in any place that is not accessible by your spouse.

And I’d be eternally grateful to 2022 for marking the beginning of my journey to be financially literate.

A new posting, new learning

Mid-year I got transferred to a new place. In my perpetually peripatetic life, 2022 marked another posting to another new place. And a new posting always mean to me exploring new places, meeting new people and learning something new along the way.

Celebrating Durga Puja in my own way

“In the entire circle of the year there are no days so delightful as those of a fine October.” — Alexander Smith

In my part of the world, the month of October is associated with festivities, the greatest among them being Durga Puja which is celebrated with much pomp and splendour all over Bengal. On Dashami, the final day of the Puja, the idol of the goddess is immersed in the river followed by the traditional ritual of “Sindoor-Khela” where married women apply vermillion on each other’s faces. The sepulchral afternoon sunlight always made me melancholic. Add to that, I can’t any more take part in “Sindoor-Khela” due to my marital status.

But these past couple of years, I’m actively trying to create newer, brighter memories of Dashami celebrations. Attending the Dashami get-together of “Status Single” has become almost a ritual for me now. “Status Single” is India’s first and only community for urban, single women. On Dashami, we, the singletons of ‘Status Single’ Kolkata Chapter, met at a cafe, chattered and laughed together, clicked selfies and shared our stories of struggle and survival with each other and most importantly, participated in the festive revelry.

2022 – Moving ahead with new meaning

“If you want to change the world, first try to improve and bring about change within yourself. That will help change your family. From there it just gets bigger and bigger. Everything we do has some effect, some impact.” — Dalai Lama

2022, for me, was a year of many such small changes, of trying to forget the painful past, of finding closure, of forging new connections, of looking for newer meanings in life. With that, adieu 2022.

Image credits Diego Zarulli, via Canva Pro

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About the Author

Swagata Tarafdar

An engineer by education, I am a civil servant by profession. A doting mother. An avid reader. I try my hand at writing as and when ideas tussle inside my head. read more...

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