The Road to Power

As I put the phone of one of my family friend's down the other day and murmured with a sharp satire, ‘We need to talk', I discovered that I am encountering this phase often and frequently now more than ever. Wonder what had I done to deserve to hear this so often? A lot! I had aged 26 and was not married yet. I was working in one of the biggest international development partner bodies in the country but was only a beginner and not at a stable and secure position and so that is easy to belittle and obviously does not matter. I did not know a thing about cooking, my job with frequent field visits had taken over me maintaining a healthy diet, beautiful skin and the life of a social butterfly. To me, none of these sounds too bad because somewhere lost and caught up with so much expectations of so many people, I sometimes feel that my only true identity is probably this struggling job. I don't really feel sorry for myself for not living up to other people's expectations, I don't kill the peace of my mind over increased weight and hair fall and stressed skin for I knew my inside was stressed from so many things and it is normal to show up on my skin. I pursued a yearlong full-time master's program besides my full-time job and that turned my average days into 14-16 hours a day which equals to two full times. I would leave early morning for my office, would complete my office by the late afternoon and would catch up soon for the evening classes. Coming back to the great family friend story, the phone call was mainly to remind me that I am not aging backwards with the passing time and how I needed to start thinking and expediating the thought and materialization process of getting married but in my own mind and conscience, was I ready for marriage just because I was about what they call past the age for marriage? No, I was not and to be frank that does not matter. It is difficult to explain to your family that how you are of the ‘marriage' age and are still not ready for it? People can get mean on so many levels but one of many beauties of being born as a girl to a south Asian conservative set-up is that ‘mean' means normal and justified and words like ‘considerate' and ‘civic sense' pretty much do not exist. In fact, the dominant conservative south Asian countries are a warehouse of interesting norms. When it comes to the girl in the family, everyone in the family think that they have a right to decide what she should wear- the length of her hair and her dress, what and how much she should eat, what should be her skin color ideally and if it is not that which it is not mostly then how she should achieve that, where and with whom she should go out and with whom she should not and at what time and by what time she should be back and most importantly, when should she get married, have her first child, have her second child and the list goes on. To tell them that they do not actually have the right to decide and more often, their opinions are not welcomed if not asked for, is a sheer audacity and is a sign of questionable upbringing. Not that I ever liked the phase ‘we need to talk' but the frequent encountering the phase made me realize the extent of dislike I possess for this 3-word sentence. I had just turned 26 and was struggling with my new job in the multilateral entity. I was struggling with almost everything and was looking for my breakthrough in the job through the bumpy journey. Wonder how I feel confessing that I was still a beginner at 26 and was struggling with my job instead of having it mastered by this age and heading towards at least a semi managerial position if not managerial? Well, the answer is proud. I feel proud of myself and all small accomplishments of mine. Through the fast paced 25 years of my life, I have learnt that the life we live is indeed very small and so if what we achieve in it are small too, it is alright. Not everyone needs to climb the Everest or make it to the space, the valleys in the countryside hill-stations can make a wonderful escape destination too. Another thing I feel while I write naked confessions of my weaknesses and difficult times and that is carefree and brave. I feel brave because I know from my very short-lived life experiences that not all of us have the courage to admit to our faults and flaws and I feel carefree because I love my flaws and dents as much I love my strengths and stamina. Little do I know that the road to my beauty is paved through my flaws and the road to my power is paved through my fears and insecurities.

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