Today I am introducing "My SuperHeroes" Story section on my blog where I will post an inspirational story about my Super Hero(es) in their own words. The purpose of this section is to inspire people by spreading the word about how other people have faced problems in their life and how did they overcome and gain victory over their circumstances.
To give you some background, a few months back at one of the dinner discussions, one of our friends introduced us to a random discussion 'Lets share what/who inspires us in life?' Someone talked about Steve Jobs whereas someone spoke about Elon Musk. Someone talked about sports whereas someone about politics. I was thinking about it and instantly thought about my elder sister Mamta. She has been more than a 'daughter' to our parents and more than a 'sister' to me.
The discussion that we had at our friends place was a very healthy discussion and I was enormously happy after listening to everyone's story. I felt an unknown energy flowing within my body. It was then when I decided to start this section on my blog and decided to share my inspiration and seek inspiration from my readers in return :)
Mamta has a very strong personality and has been a solid support system of our family. Without her I feel my entire family wouldn't be what/where we are today. Since the time I have opened my eyes I have seen her as a fighter. This blog post is about her story! Her experiences while growing up in our traditional joint sindhi family. And in a way, its my story too ;)
Over to you, Mamta:
One day when I was at my daughter's gymnastics class, Jaya called me and asked to write for her blog and the theme was Inspiration. I heard her and then told myself why in the world will
anyone ask me to write for an inspirational blog. To full disclosure this is my first ever blog.
After talking to Jaya, I kept getting some ideas about what I can share. I don't write a lot but I love to read books, blogs, recipes and gossips.
So here goes my first ever blog for my sister Jaya... ( I have never shared this with anyone )
We are a family of 3 sisters and my parents. We belong to a typical sindhi business family. Since, my childhood days, people did not miss to mention to my parents - "Oh! You have 3 daughters", as if they didn't know it. It was always a social pressure on my mom - when people said, "Arey!! your daughter has specs ( chasma pehenti hai aapki beti)". I love my family and my parents and can't ask for a better childhood, but those were the things that made me think - Whats wrong with having daughters? Why is there so strong discrimination between girls and boys? I think we were lucky that our parents admitted us in English medium school like rest of the boys in the family. Relatives visiting, cousins, uncles and aunts will surely mention to my Dad - "You really need to work hard, so that you can save for the dowry for all three of them”." May be put them in Gujarati medium they are less expensive schools around". I wondered and wondered ... Why should my parents give dowry? Is it because we wear spectacles or is it because I am not very pretty like the neighbors girl. Why different choices for school for me versus my cousin brothers.
At an early age (8th grade), I kind of promised myself - I won't marry a guy who asks me for dowry, and if there is no such guy in the world, I won't marry at all. I used to say that to my Mom and she will tell me all the customs and this is how the world works and when I grow up I will know better... I was always a tomboy kind of girl and didnt really was into feminine activity like make-up, nail art, cosmetics etc etc. May be because I wanted to be like a boy to my parents.
I still remember the day my mom was in hospital expecting Jaya, and my Uncle asked me what do you want - brother or a sister. Growing up with my cousin brothers, who always kind of bullied me. (I love them not to mention) my answer was I want a baby sister. My uncle said NO! You should pray to God for a little brother. I was only 4 years old but I really wished for a sister. My mom was not very happy because we had another baby girl, but I was thrilled to have her. (Now, Jaya is my mom's favourite kid so I don't fight with mom on that)
When Chandni (my youngest sister) was born, there was this big drama - my Aunt wanted to adopt her since she didn't have any kids and my Mom was unhappy about having another girl. I was 10 years old, I could very strongly remember my visit to the hospital. Even though my mom was sad, she didn't wanted to give up her daughter to anyone and I was proud of that. From that day, I started thinking what can I do that can make my parents proud. What boys can do that girls cannot achieve? Why people are so clinged to the idea of having a boy to complete the family. It wasn't just dowry or taking care of parents in the old age. What was that made parents proud when they had a boy vs girl. Why people craved for having a boy child? My dad once told me boys can take your surname to next generation but girls can't. Well that makes sense - but is that such a big deal? Well I never got any satisfactory answers to my questions, and figured out probably no one knows it. It's kind of generational pressure which they have been brought up and now they are continuing their life with the same.
All these episodes, made me strong and who I am today. I always wanted to prove to my parents and people around me that girls can do very well and even better than boys and can also take care of their family. Children are God's gift and should not be discriminated. To keep myself out of all these thoughts, I pushed myself in studies. I wasn't the best, but I started spending a lot of time studying and talking to my teachers. One thing became very clear to me that if I want to change this orthodox thought about girls and boys I need to do something big.
One day while visiting a Doctor, an idea clicked - what if I become a Doctor. Then everyone will respect me and my parents. Doctors are highly educated so hopefully they won't ask for dowry and will not discriminate. I can earn money for my family and don't have to depend solely on my husband's income and that was enlightening moment for me. I really took that dream to heart and studied really hard to get into medical school. But I didn't make it to the one in my city, and again my parents didn't want me to go far so I picked Engineering. (which was not a bad choice as well)
I always had these nightmares, that one day my college will be over and my parents will marry me to some Sindhi Bau (boy) and I will be a homemaker like my mom. I will have kids and will repeat the same telecast as my mom. Since I had no idea what a computer science engineer did those days. The only other computer science engineer I knew was my uncle, who was in US those days. He encouraged me to come to US for higher education. I immediately jumped on that idea - since that will get me some more time and I can get fresh air in different environment to explore and put my CS degree to use. I started my GRE and TOEFL preparation. The entire US thing was such a big battle from convincing my parents to entire family. (remember we were in joint family so everyone's opinion matters) Not to mention, arranging the funds. Circle back to dowry and there are 2 other sisters who are still in school. I would mention my Mom even though was not highly educated supported me for my crazy idea to go to US else it wouldn't have been possible for me to come to US. I took an educational loan and flew to US. I know my mom still tells me you never looked back when you were going to US, sure enough I was very excited to go live my dream.
US was hard, but I finally now live my dream. I completed my Masters degree and got a job in a multinational company, got married without any dowry, own a house of myself and I am a proud Mom of a lovely daughter. My sister (Jaya) is also in US, working in a multinational company, married and well settled in Silicon Valley. My youngest sister (Chandni) earned four gold medals for her remarkable work in her medical college and is now working to become a world class Radiologist. My parents have visited me few times now and I can see how proud they feel of me and my sister's achievements. People often ask them nowadays how did you raise your girls they are role models and you can see the light in my parents eyes.
Through this blog I would spread the word - Follow your heart and if you think something is right go for it wholeheartedly, never give up and keep trying because there are many ways to get your dream successful, you just need to keep opening the doors and have the courage to walk through them.
I believe there are many families like mine and many girls have similar questions like I did. If this blog can inspire even a single girl to follow her heart, that will revolutionize the world and make this blog worth.