This is my story. I’m a small town girl, born in a small village of Haryana and brought up, in an even smaller village, away from my parents. They had to work all day in the fields and didn't have the time to raise me. No hard feelings against them, it was just the times. Obviously, I wasn't lucky enough to get the education others got. Nor was I privileged enough to have the kind of parents who pamper their children. Pampering wasn't a known term back then.
Things were simple. They were based on necessities, which more than often were not met with. I don't remember having a bedroom that I could claim as mine. I didn't own much really. Nor did I ever ask for a lot.
Growing up away from my parents, I never was taken care of the way I wanted. The way everybody has it. To want your parents’ love is not a lot to ask for, is it ? Unfortunately, it remained a longing and finally, I got married at the age of 18.
There was nothing fancy about getting married early. I moved to my home 15 days before my wedding, and tied the knot in a simple, small affair. It might not be hard to believe, considering the times (80s to be precise) that I did not know who was I getting married to or how he even looked like. I was simply told, and I simply followed. The only thing I did know that he was an officer in the Army.
I did not have the slightest idea of how my luck would turn around. In just a couple of days, my social status had transformed from a young village girl to a young officer’s wife (from a village in Haryana….pun intended) As life would have it, I moved with my husband to Dehradun, my first big city. It was the first time I had stepped out of my village in 18 years. From a village in the fields to a city full of life and lights.
Soon I had a house of my own. Not just a room but a three bedroom house all to myself and a wonderful husband. I was now a memsahib. It took a while for me, but slowly I started to settle in, met new people, tried different cuisines, experienced things I had not even heard of before and owned things I had never even dreamt of.
But, it also came with a lot of responsibilities. As my husband climbed through the ranks in the Army, it also brought with it a certain social obligations i could no longer overlook. I had to learn a lot in order to fit-in . And so I did. I learnt a bit everyday. I learnt how to speak in English, about stuff i really had no interest in otherwise. I learnt how to drive. I learnt how to socialise. I learnt how to order from a french menu. I adapted and adjusted.
Over and over again with every city we moved to. It's certainly not easy being a small town girl with zero exposure to keep up with the fast pace of the city life. But I felt I was never too old or too humble to learn new things. Inch by inch, a little more everyday, I went on.
Being a part of the army gave me so much to learn, really, so much. I moved to different cities, covering more than half the country. I learnt about various cultures. From Nagaland to Bhatinda, Kashmir to Chennai, I saw it all.
But the best part of it all was my most priceless possession, my daughters. Two beautiful daughters, that I gave all the love I had, and all the love that I missed out on, from my parents. I provided them with everything I wanted to have as a little girl, and even more. Why? Because not only did I want to be their hero, I also wanted to be my own hero. Gave them good education and pushed them to fly. And today, I am proud to say that my daughters are doing great. One, a consultant and the other, a doctor.
This may seem like an ordinary story, because, it is. But, in every ordinary story you will find extraordinary struggles. My struggle was the huge transition that my life took. To keep up with everything around myself with confidence even though the world thought of me, ‘just a simple girl from a humble background.’
I may lack the education and exposure others might have, but I was always confident, never afraid. Always willing to learn more. I told myself I was enough. And it got me through everything. My being enough. My moving ahead with positivity. Being on both sides of comfort, I have learnt that to be enough is more important than to have enough. To know that you matter. And to never stop learning.
Written by MD