Of My Journey
It was in the middle of a bustling market that I felt someone pinch my butt.
I turned around to see who it was.
It was an ordinary looking man with a heavy moustache and a thick beard.
He turned around, gave me a lecherous grin and then disappeared in the crowd.
I didn’t know exactly how to feel.
You see, I was only 5 years old.
This is not an isolated or singular event.
It is a pattern.
It’s not just my personal story; it’s every woman’s story.
But one hardly ever hears of it because we just don’t talk about it.
In a society where girls grow up with a lot of “can’ts”, “don’ts” and “shouldn’ts”, I dreamt of possibilities and hence, was always the outsider.
The fact that I was raised by my paternal grandmother and read at an all girls' convent didn’t help in fitting in either.
It was a paradoxical existence.
Home was very traditional and religiously orthodox yet there was a strong emphasis on education.
School was a different story. Secular. Progressive. Tolerant.
There was great focus on character building, public speaking and above all, having an opinion.
We all had an opinion; each one of us.
And were usually quite unafraid to air it.
It was in school that I started writing poetry, winning elocution contests and debates.
My first article was published in a children’s magazine at the age of 14.
It was a satirical piece titled “Frailty thy name is woman.”
After this I decided that I wanted to be a journalist or a lawyer.
I was told maybe I should think about being a doctor.
It’s a far more suitable (read respectable) profession for women.
From this point onwards, I completely stopped paying any attention to the “how one should live as a woman” sages!
That was fifteen years ago.
Since then I have lived life on my own terms and focused on the “I can”, “I will” and “why not?”
The last 3 years were spent in the US pursuing my MFA in Film Production as a Fulbright scholar. It was a transformational experience.
I was exposed to different cultures and made friends with people from all nationalities and ethnicities.
And one sentiment was shared across the board: Women are a marginalized and silent majority.
It was there that I truly realized the potential of a collective voice and found the support systems to speak from my heart about issues closest to my heart.
Through my films, writing and teaching, I hope to change women’s perceptions of themselves so I leave a better world for my children.
A world where my daughter feels empowered enough to scream out if somebody pinches her butt, instead of being quietly ashamed.
It’s my passion to create this world that has led me to be part of the pulse wire community and inspires me to speak up for my rights.