When other girls were busy shrouding their love affairs from their moms, I was busy sharing every single detail about my latest crush with my mother. In fact, when my first real-life crush turned out to be a blockhead, it was my mom who calmed me. This is the bond we share. She is the one person I can count on always, and on the other hand, I am her pride that she never misses showing off. From drawing homework figures in class 2 to persuading my father to allow me to leave Kanpur for higher studies, my mom always stood by my side. But while my mom was on my side, what others said, is so hard to forget.

Indian society tries its best to restrict a girl’s freedom. All those family members who hardly remember through the year will raise their ugly head with a random comment that will stay with you for life. When pados wali aunties were busy taunting me with “Ladki haath se nikal jayegi“, my mom taught me to set my own limits, and not to restrict myself by societal norms. Unexpected positive things bring with them a completely different sort of vibe and smile. I owe a lot to my mom, she stood up for me when I least expected. In fact, to be honest, I never expected that my mom will stand up for me, especially when it meant going against my father’s decisions. But she did.

Redefining The Perfect Marital Age

Right from the time I started grasping things, I was told that the perfect marriageable age for a girl in our society is 23 years. In fact, at a point in my teenage, I was even asked to complete the education I wanted by 23, so I could be married. All this seemed normal to me until I discovered that I needed more time to experiment with my life- to build a career, an identity of my own.

This was the time when my mom stepped in. Between the few scuffles with my father, my mom asked me to pay attention to what I wanted to do and stay focussed on achieving it. She said she’d make sure that no one intervenes. And here I am today- 21 years old, with nothing holding me from my dreams.

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Normalising Friendship With Boys

When my relatives saw me chilling with my male friends, as expected, it took no time for them to call my father and make sure that he scolded me or questioned me. And my point was, that if I’m studying in a co-ed college, how can you expect me to not speak to boys? But the generation gap that all of us face… so did I and no one understood. However, my mom again intervened to convince my father that times had changed. Even today, with regular conversations with my father, she keeps him updated on trends in parenting and has finally got him to understand that talking to boys doesn’t hurt my character.

My Clothes My Choice

All the girls in my neighborhood wear salwar kameez, keep the eyes down, don’t talk loudly and that’s how things are. I am expected to be like them. It’s not like I am against salwars but I have to be comfortable with my clothes right? I never got used to those and in my family, girls weren’t even supposed to wear normal pyjamas. But my mom let me be and experiment with clothes I was more comfortable in. Right from my childhood, she bought me clothes that I liked, never forced anything on me sometimes to the angst of my dad. I remember my father scolding her for that, but she never let this affect my fashion preferences and I can’t thank her enough.

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For me, my mom has been a window to the world. It would have been so easy to be the neighbourhood girl who does what others do, wears what the society expects of her and gets an MA to just get married. Our mothers have been through so much themselves that when they raise daughters they probably live their lives and ambitions through our freedoms. I can’t thank her enough.

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