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Sunday, February 1, 2015

I am a Girl And...


There are always two options - either give up or give in our 100%. The decision is often based on our willpower. Nothing is easy but when we march forward to break the norms of society, it’s like facing a storm head-on. We are told to leave it OR bear the consequences. We all get a little scared. I know, I was scared when I decided to commute by Haryana Roadways as I didn’t get a seat in the hostel. I was told either stay in Chandigarh OR forget about your dream college. I was told to make a compromise but I was not ready for it. I am happy, I did what I felt was right. It may seem a small decision but it has made me what I am today - Strong, Independent and Confident. This is my journey from OR to AND. Many incidents on this journey strengthened me and reaffirmed many of the things I believed in.

There were a few times when I felt miserable because of the choices I made. One summer afternoon I was the only girl in a long queue at Panchkula Bus Stand. I was there to get the monthly bus pass. With everyone staring at me, I won’t lie, I was intimidated by the male presence around. One man simply asked, ‘Papa ya Bhai nahin hai, unko bolo aane ko’. I nodded. Being the only girl, I was allowed to go first when the window opened. But what happened next shook me, not only the middle aged man at the counter spoke rudely but he said many nasty things in haryanvi. I was nearly in tears but somehow managed to request him to check my form. To my complete shock, he denied it. According to him, MCM DAV College didn’t exist. Throwing the form back at my face along with a cheap comment, he told me to get a letter from the Principal of the College, duly signed by the University officials to prove its existence, if I ever wanted the bus pass. And I did that. It took me a week but I got all the documents he asked for, dealing with many more like him. One bad episode more than a decade back taught me that I am a girl AND I can do what boys can do. 

You know, when a girl steps outside her house she is told repeatedly to take care of herself. Be vigilant, watch yourself, return home early - few phrases we hear many times a day. My story was no different. Ironically, the task of taking care of yourself is on you but the task of taking care of other girls around you is of men around. I commuted for 5 years, believe me when I say that there was not even a single incident where I could say - a man came forward to protect a girl. There was one incident which made me believe for the first time - I am a girl AND I can take stand for myself and others around. It happened when I stood for one girl who was harassed by a guy for nearly a month. This boy was troubling the girl, passing cheap comments and touching her inappropriately whenever he got an opportunity. Like everyone else, even I neglected it initially. I don’t know about others, but at that age, I was too scared to get involved in a fight in a public place. I didn’t fight, but one day when he was trying to get close to her, I didn’t let him. He asked me to move but I didn’t budge. I even said to others that he teased her. It was that day I realized how strong I was and I didn’t need a man to protect me. The fear ingrained by the society is farce. 

Sit quietly OR you will bear the brunt.
No! Stand up AND never let it happen again.

Girls are always bounded by many restrictions - what to do, what to wear and where to be. No wonder there are many who blame Nirbhaya for being outside late at night. Since the day I first travelled in an overloaded Haryana Roadways bus, till today, I have realized that our choices define us, never let a compromise snatch away your identity. If you secure admission in your dream college, don’t let a compromise take that away from you. Once you set the first foot towards your journey, you will discover a true self hidden deep inside. Like I discovered that I am Brave, Independent and Complete. 

There were days when I sat in one corner of the bus and wondered about the easy life I would have had. It feels good to be protected and in a place where you get things without putting up a fight. But then I remember how simply someone said - “Life begins outside your comfort zone.” I am what I am today because of the choices I made, because I used AND instead of OR.


*This post is a part of #UseYourAnd activity at BlogAdda in association with Gillette Venus

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98 comments:

  1. YEs you can.. let no one tell you otherwise "AND" is tue always

    lovely article Saru

    Bikram's

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  2. Every girl who leaves her comfort zone experiences most of these episodes EVEN now!

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    Replies
    1. And we grow from such experiences. Thanks for reading, ma'am.

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  3. Saru let me be brief at least this time. i guess we r in a position today to talk about it and discuss it because we were fortunate enough lot to be born in a family where we were given the freedom to learn and pursue our dreams.
    Uppal has rightly said what i feel even after being that fortunate lot.
    i am just having visions of those women behind those veils that i saw everywhere i went ( ghunghat) hanging up to their chest...doing all the chores...from cooking to washing to feeding their children. These women whose daughters are seen to be attending the girls school nearby. i was told when they will be married they will be behind that chest length veil too.
    So for me as of now all this talk of comfort zone is helter skelter.
    i ask you Saru...WHAT IS A WOMAN'S COMFORT ZONE WHEN WITHIN THE PREMISES OF HER OWN HOUSE SHE HAS TO BE IN A VEIL A CONCEALING APPENDAGE OF SORTS THAT Covers her up and allows some air to pass through her chest? Such women do they know their own comfort zone??

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    1. I feel sorry for those who support such a dated thing on women around them. I wonder when things will change in our country. Sadly for those women, their home is a prison.

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  4. Beautifully expressed, Saru. Love the words, " Sit quietly OR you will bear the brunt.No! Stand up AND never let it happen again."
    Have a wonderful day!

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  5. Lovely! This is such a heartwarming competition and has called forth some of the best writing.

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    1. I agree, Kalpanaa. :)
      Thanks for reading.

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  6. Life begins outside your comfort zone ....lovely lines

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  7. You, I and so many others are the lucky ones. But, there are many women across the world for whom simple freedom is a dream. Makes me sad, but it is true.

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    Replies
    1. It is true, Rachna. I know many of them.

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  8. seriously, HOW DARE HE!!!!
    You are a strong independent and confident woman indeed.

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  9. Agree with you...
    And very well said!

    All the best for the contest :)

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  10. That was terrific to read.If you are the brave person featured in your post you are fabulous. !

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    Replies
    1. Thank you so much, Sir. But I wish no one faces what I went through while getting that letter.

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    2. Absolutely I agree no girl should face such humiliation and torture.

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  11. Well said.
    I do agree that no men come forward when needed! I have seen it in many places when a girl was targeted in a bus! we have to stand up for ourselves.

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    Replies
    1. Very true. Also, why depend on men all the time? We can protect ourselves.

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  12. Can't believe the discrimination you faced at Panchkula Bus Stand just because you are a girl! Truly 'incredible' India! I know how bad and disheartening it could be. Still we have to endure all these things just because we are women. Hats off to you that you did not lose your spirit and fought the situations well. Your article is the mirror to harsh reality that prevails in some parts of India.

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    Replies
    1. I hope things change for better soon. Thanks for reading, Moon. :)

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  13. Claps and salute! Your words are powerful and may it open the eyes of many! I am basically from Mangaluru (coastal Karnataka), where people are really very kind. I had been to Delhi two times to attend my M.Sc exams and have visualised how heartless people can be about/with women. I still believe, traveling alone in North India is really very tough and girls should keep their eyes and ears wide open.

    May the situation change! May the girls be stronger than ever!

    TC! Keep smiling :)

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    Replies
    1. You are right about North India commute. May the situation changes soon.

      Thanks for reading, Sindhu.

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  14. Very positive read. Visiting your 'home' after such a long time :)

    Regards
    Village Girl

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  15. Really well written. I often think of the lyrics of the title song of that serial..."na aana is des meri laado". It didn't make sense to me initially... but when you hear the things you hear, It makes sense! Sad...

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    Replies
    1. I agree, sometimes we feel the negative things make more sense. Thanks for reading and welcome here.

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  16. Very true Saru!. It's true that girls or women are always advised to be careful. Whenever I watch NatGeo, I also think that the mothers of the deer would guide and advise their young to be careful so that no tiger or lion would pounce on them. Similar is the situation now. Earlier, our society had men who were true protectors and providers. Today, its not the same and girls and women are more vulnerable to some men who have animalistic behavior. Hence, it becomes more important to be cautious and careful at all times.

    Best of luck for the contest.

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    Replies
    1. I agree, we have to stand up and protect ourselves. Thanks for your wishes. :)

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  17. Very well-written. I hope it inspires a few more people to break the shackles and step forward.

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  18. You certainly can do more than what the boys can do, Saru:) Best of luck for the contest!

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    1. Thank you so much for the vote of confidence, Sir. :)

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  19. Wonderfully written. That's d spirit- to fight them out & win! Keep it up! :-)

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  20. This is so called 21st century and we are having a modern technology all over and browbeating that we are going to be a developed nation but Reality is just different. In Haryana or in UP these things are at worst level but I think Haryanvi "chhori" are doing good in other fields such as sports and they are being a tool to inspire others.

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    Replies
    1. Yes, women are doing good. Hope the situation changes for better.
      Thanks for reading.

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  21. Kudos to you for coming out of the comfort zone & achieving what you did!

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  22. As they say, when the going gets tough, the tough get going. Applause, Saru

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  23. Oh yes - powerful and confident! That's you. Well done and beautifully written.

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  24. It happens everywhere. Applause to you, Saru :)

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  25. Awesomely put Saru :). Great to know that you dared to fly high despite the numerous obstacles in your way.

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  26. Beautiful Expressions!
    #Respect (Y)

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  27. Saru and one more &

    Now, I have nominated you for the versatile blogger Award

    https://www.indiblogger.in/indipost.php?post=438166

    Pls check and enjoy.

    Adi.

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  28. Wonderful thoughts Saru..Well expressed :)

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  29. You've #UseYourAnd effectively..... great post... :-)

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  30. Unfortunately Saru, here in India, we are more critical / judgemental about others than thinking about ourselves. And the problem is, there are no signs of this cancer reducing..

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  31. Nice one Saru. I like the transition from OR to AND. That one word makes so much of a difference..

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    Replies
    1. Yeah, one word can make a hell lot of difference.

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  32. Well said...either we sit down and take the beating or we stand up for ourselves!

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  33. Stay strong, child. :)
    Hugs!
    Have a great Sunday, Saru.

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  34. Beautifully written. It is the story of every girl. You have to stand or fade away without a whimper. with time we can question the system but that's it. Yes we have to be strong and we are strong enough to fend for ourselves and still be tagged as the weaker sex

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  35. Truly inspiring. Good luck.

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  36. Wonderful words, apt quotes, true life-incidents & lovely poem, Saru :)
    I love the "OR nahi Aur" connection. Real change of meaning of similar-sounding words from English->Hindi :)
    This post is a winner like you :)

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    Replies
    1. Thank you, Anita. It's quite heartwarming to read your comment. :)

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  37. Very well written....we really need some strong writing on such topics...lets fight together..all the best

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    Replies
    1. Indeed, we need to do something. Thanks for your wishes, Swati.

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  38. Amazing.. especially these line.. " Once you set the first foot towards your journey, you will discover a true self hidden deep inside. " Loved it.. It is a true inspiration to me...
    Best wishes!!!

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    1. Thank you so much, Surya. Welcome here. :)

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  39. Amazing and Inspiring. “Life begins outside your comfort zone.”...I 100% agree to this saying and have gone by it throughout... Loved it. Wish you luck

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    1. It is indeed a great statement. Thanks for reading and your wishes.

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  40. beautifully written.. Love your articles.

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  41. Well said!Nice way of putting OR and AND

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