I broke the society’s barriers and created my own destiny

Bhavna Paliwal:


“I come from a village where even women wearing jeans and t-shirts weren’t accepted. But I refused to sit at home and forget my dreams. My family stopped me every step of the way, but I persisted and after my 12th, I went to Delhi University.
My brother was an IAS officer and my uncle worked in the CBI in Delhi. Although I was studying journalism, I was drawn to the world of investigation. That’s when the idea of becoming a detective came into my mind.
But I realized that there would be many hurdles, especially my parents. So I graduated and took up a job at a newspaper — all the while knowing that this wasn’t my true calling.
But one day, at work, I saw an ad for a private detective — both men and women could apply. Somehow that pushed me to take the leap, and I went ahead and applied for it. In a few days, I got selected — I couldn’t believe it! But I didn’t tell my parents.
I quit my job and worked for the detective agency. The moment I stepped in, was the moment that changed the course of the rest of my life.
My first case was to find a girl, who had been married off against her will. She ran away and had been missing for days. I went to meet her father, but he threatened us saying that we needed to stop this inquiry or we’d pay a price. They weren’t concerned about the whereabouts of their own daughter. Eventually, we realized that he was part of an intelligence bureau himself.
After that, I worked case after case. I’d face situations that’d put me in emotional turmoil, cases where I’d risk my life by being in contact with dangerous criminals. People have said things like, ‘Raat ko akele jaati hai, pata nahi kya karti hai(She goes alone at night, no idea what she does!)’ But I was so thankful that I was getting to help people — that nothing else mattered.
I remember once I was assigned a case in Orissa — where a missing girl was a victim of human trafficking. When I got there, I realized that the girl’s brother was the local don, and the one keeping her there. He held a lot of power and had a place full of rifles. Somehow, we got him arrested by the local police and rescued the girl.
That case became very popular — even an article, with my name on it, came in the newspaper. That’s when my parents saw it and realized I was a private detective. They were so proud, they called all of their neighbors to see the article!
After spending a few years in that agency — I decided to use my savings and start my own organization. Today, it’s been over 20 years since I’ve been in this field. It was one moment of courage that made me reach where I am today. With every case I solve, every win I have — I feel proud that I didn’t accept the fate that society handed to me. But broke every barrier, and created my own destiny. And I will continue to do so, one case at a time.

Story Courtesy: Humans of Bombay

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