When I go to a local market or a nearby restaurant I sometimes encounter my past. Yes! No matter how weird it seems I come across my past many times. Past, by past I mean the younger me, a 14 15 year old girl with an amateur and conscious personality. She could not understand the weird forces of the society which imposed certain personality qualities on her. The society imposed her to follow some strictly framed stringent rules as soon as she turned 15. Those petty colored dresses, pink rubber bands, gentle ways of communication etc. were not something she appreciated. She didn’t want to get out of her naïve attitude and camouflage herself in a well dressed innocent ‘beauty’. The concept of decency and feminine manners appeared lame to her.
Another shocking part of her life also began as soon as she entered puberty. Suddenly the world seemed to change. The faces around her were the same but their attitudes towards her changed. Those uncles who blessed her with their fatherly blessings unexpectedly started avoiding her. The outdoor activities which were a part of her daily routine vanished from her lifestyle taking away another portion of her freedom. The freedom to go on the streets seemed to fumble as well. She couldn’t enjoy the cool breeze outside her house, those weary brisk walks in the park nearby or simple rounds at the local general stores; couldn’t do it anymore, as people around her stared at her as if she was an ‘Alien’ with yellow feathers and head antennas. She wondered and wandered in her own thoughts that why people teased her for her mere presence sometimes.
Those scary looks by strangers sometimes made her heartbeat faster than a squash ball thumping the wall, snatching away a portion of her confidence from her. When fast bikes took over her with creepy guys making their faces creepier, she literally used to run to her house, losing another bit of her self-belief. Certain comments which made her feel uncomfortable with her own existence, shook off her soul. The crowd always seemed to be looking at her or rather piercing through her. Slowly she lost all of it; the confidence with which we she communicated, the assurance with which she won many small battles and the esteem which she kept her head always high.
Now, when she entered the street or a local eat out place, she could barely maintain her composure. Whether ordering a burger or walking across the road, her body shivered and heart pounded with the fear of an unknown. She preferred being at home and tried not to even go to school. Now even the cool breeze or utter boredom couldn’t force her to get out of her security shelter. When the local kids played cricket or tossed bushes to take some mangoes from the trees, she stayed inside her shell. She became a perfect woman with the perfect blend of inferiority complexes and amateur insecurity. She had the perfect reasons or rather excuses to stay at home all the time. Even the presence of someone else at her home made her hide in her room. The fierce girl with a fantastic bright smile somehow withered away with time and she didn’t even notice.
Then one day, she was with her sister at a hangout place. At that moment, unfamiliar with her own nervousness she chose to eat nothing rather than doing self service for the order. Her sister though silent at that place, pointed her trembling hands and fidgeting fingers later. And it was the first time the young she came across her own camouflaged personality. Why was she shivering? Why couldn’t she simply order her lunch? These questions made her shudder with the fear of realizing her own low self-esteem. The fear of an encounter with her own shattered persona took over her. That day she decided; to never let her existence be the hurdle of her confidence, to consider herself the best out of the lot and to kick the butt of those who lowered her poise. Since that day she never looked down upon herself, never let anyone conquer her dignity away from her and replaced her apprehension with confidence or rather ‘over confidence’.
Now whenever I see a girl sitting on the least visible bench of the park or hiding her face with her meal, it reminds me of myself though the one I was a few years ago…..
I was lucky enough to be pointed out by my sister who may be bumped into her own past when she saw me. But do all these girls have an angelic figure to make them confront their weaknesses? What about those who never reckoned that they were losing their persona in their endeavor to adjust with the norms of the society? And this question is the most horrifying one of them all. The lame norms of the society extract the abilities of these girls and the ones who commit this crime never even realize that they ‘disable’ someone forever. They grant these girls with the disability to never function at their pinnacle because of their lowered self-possession. And those who never realize their disability either live their life in their security shells or keep fighting with their inability to live life!