“Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known”
How many of us belong to the unorthodox families who want their children to take up the sky yet stay grounded for the sake of their societal image?
Richa Srishti, brighter and wiser than her age, was always supported by her family to get educated. She was motivated to learn, read, write and explore every aspect that she ever could. Her father never stepped back, every chance he got, he’d make sure the world knew of her academia and the fact that she wrote so well. All these instances ingrained a sense of pride in Richa and she believed she could soar higher than anyone else and that her family would give her the push she needed. But, as it goes with every woman in this country, she was saddled down to the society’s traditions and was rarely ever allowed to step out of the house as much as her twin brother was. Richa felt suffocated, confined within four walls and a window that barely showed her a sight of the world, she found her breath amongst the rusty old books filled with words that would take her to different worlds where she’d live out her dreams vicariously. She resorted to literature for most of her life, it was where she belonged.
Thus when the time came that she had to choose her graduation, she followed her heart towards linguistics. With every fulfilling dream comes a bunch of criticism and Richa was no less of a victim to it. While everyone warned her not to choose linguistics and go for home science, which in their defense was an easy scoring subject, the biggest hurdle that came along was the fact that there was not one professor who would teach her linguistics as no one would end up taking the subject! Richa stayed firm and stood her ground as she made sure she’d learn it on her own and make sure she’d carry it out for her own future.
It wasn’t much later that she succeeded in the subject, but then again her parents were not keen on sending her far off to Delhi for further education but Richa knew that if she had to master in linguistics, she had to choose a college like JNU or Delhi University. She felt one step closer to the fresh air of freedom when she cleared JNU’s entrance exam in the first attempt!
Things were going well until the question of marriage popped up and as a girl with a free thinking and independent mind, Richa had never thought of settling down. But then again you never know when love sweeps into your life, unexpectedly. She fell in love with a boy from a Muslim background but an atheist mindset and as the inter-religion war goes on, her parents gave up on her, cutting off financial and emotional ties with her as she decided to settle down with him. Although his parents accepted her, she felt incomplete.
Life got tough for the first two years of her married life as they couldn’t keep up financially. Richa started taking extra tuitions to earn and hold up their family. Her husband tried hands at many other jobs until one fine day he got a doctoral scholarship and she got into JNU as a guest lecturer along with a contractual job with All India Radio. Things couldn’t get worse and so it all started getting better, day by day.
Now that they’d cross the burning bridges, Richa realized that she wasn’t compatible with her husband. They would go days without talking to each other. Emotionally, physically and mentally they started distancing from each other. Richa always wanted to adopt a baby girl but her husband wanted to have a baby naturally instead and this lead to many issues between them until she finally complied, hoping this baby would fix the cracks between them. During this hard time, Richa became suicidal and there was a colleague who was there for her emotionally. They started becoming more than friends and her husband found out about this. Resulting into verbal abuse and almost kicking her out of their house, he refused her to even touch their three-year-old son. She moved out eventually and decided to keep in touch with her son regularly.
Later on, her husband had found someone new and he asked to file for a divorce so that he could marry her instead. She gave in, she broke off the ten-year marriage that she had struggled to keep, the one that she left everything for. She left the city as they worked in the same office and she could not bear the emotional harassment.
She asked for her son’s custody but her efforts were all thrown in vain. She fought for her rights but only to be turned down by her own son. The biggest shock to her was when he stood up to her to claim that he would not move with her, this drastic behavior gave her no option but to turn away.
Embracing the situation, Richa now leads her own life. While a lot many would say that her decisions in life were right and many would say her decisions were wrong, she has no idea how to judge herself. Going through all of this, she still hasn’t given up and hopes to find some sort of sunshine in her life. Dealing with the society’s shame of being a disobedient daughter as well as not being the perfect mother, she hopes one day they understand the issues she’s faced from her perspective and how hard it is for a girl with such high dreams to soar in a sky where she is shunned down but continues to mend her wings no matter what.
In Richa’s own words, she wants to assert that she still is a daughter who loves her parents more than anything in this world, a mother who longs to see her son every moment of her life, a woman who wants to have a loving and understanding partner, an empathetic person who wants to make others happy. She is a woman defined by her character, a woman who has lot to give to the society. She is a better person now after going through all the painful experiences. She has decided to live as she feels that everyone has a his/her role to play in the larger scheme of things. One cannot control one’s past or future but only the present. The pain must make the person better as one learns from every single thing, whether it is right or wrong, whether it gives happiness or sorrow. One must embrace life and play one’s specific role. At every stage in one’s life one makes decisions based on one’s knowledge at that moment. So, it is time one stops blaming oneself and start to become more accepting as far as challenges are concerned. As Carl Sagan has rightly put it, “Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known.”