“I’m from a small town where the only way of life for a girl is to complete her education and get married. I was in my third year of engineering when I got a marriage proposal. Raised in a culture where ‘marriage is everything’, I agreed and had the roka. My friends warned me that it was too soon, but my naivety got the best of me.
The first 6 months of my courtship were blue skies and sunshine. But as the wedding date got closer, things changed. My fiancé promised that I could work post marriage, but then he dismissed it. While I was with him, I made a lot of sacrifices — right from wearing jewellery that I was allergic to, to changing food habits. And then one day, he said, ‘You can’t sit on the sofa. As the daughter-in-law, you have to sit on the floor!’ In that moment I realized I’d had enough — I couldn’t do it.
Before, all my compromises seemed unimportant. But now, I was painfully aware of everything I had to let go. I had studied so much and come so far — how could I give it all up? So I called it off, and through it all, my dad was my biggest supporter. He told me, ‘You do you, don’t worry about a thing!’
Soon after, I moved to Ahmedabad and lived alone for almost a year. For 6 months, I tried to get a job as an engineer but nothing worked out. I was heartbroken and clueless. I needed to find myself again and did what the movies have taught me — I packed my bags, booked my tickets and went on my first solo trip to Udaipur.
I hadn’t planned a thing — I found a hostel after reaching the city and speaking to the paanwala. He was so sweet, he even came to drop me! I blogged my entire trip — and once I was back, I created a website and started freelancing as a travel blogger. For a year, I did small stints and saved up to move here.
Last July, I went to Bangkok on an all-expenses paid trip. Sitting on the airplane, I pinched myself to make sure it wasn’t a dream! It was so surreal! And just this month, I travelled to Spiti Valley where I got to experience the true culture of the North — freezing in -15 degrees and surviving on Maggi. Yet, I was happier than I had been while I was planning my wedding.
It’s been two years since and honestly, I’m so happy I stood up for myself! Everyday I wake up to a job I love, in the city I love; with no one to tie me down. But more than anything, I feel respected, by others and by me. I’ve realized that no matter what, I can’t sell myself short or compromise on my dreams. That’s the motto I live by now — to not settle and not accept anything less than I deserve.”
Post Courtesy: Humans of Bombay