A woman, a girl who had it all going for when she was a child. The only child of her parents, the apple of their eyes, the joy of their world but only till the day her brother was born. That day onwards she ceased to exist for her parents. She was like a piece of furniture in the house, the difference being that she had to be clothed and fed, unlike the furniture. Then came the second brother and it was completely over for her.
This is the story of Pooja and her life, her journey.
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After the birth of her brothers, Pooja was all but alone in a house full of people. No one could be bothered by her or her needs and desires. She was just there to help her mother in taking care of the two ‘princes’, her two brothers. In fact, her mother wanted her to stop going to school and stay at home to help her.
But Pooja was a free-spirited girl and could not accept the treatment being meted out to her. She wanted to break away, run away. Her father seeing her misery decided to send her to a boarding school where he felt she could continue with her studies and live life in an independent and free environment.
This was a turning point for her. Away from the restrictions and taboos of life at home, she blossomed. Excelling in academics, tennis, dance she was unstoppable. Once school got over she found herself in a college which was not easy to get into. But her achievements and accomplishments in school ensured that she got there much to the envy of her brothers. Pampered silly by the mother the two brothers just couldn’t match up to the sister.
Since the family came from a conservative background, Pooja college also brought the pressure of getting married. Her parents and in particular her mother wanted to get her married off as soon as possible and be done with the responsibility. However once again she did not give in, was able to push back, finish college and start working.
This being on her own gave her an immense amount of independence and confidence. It was as if the world was all hers to explore and conquer. By now she was well past the conventional age for marriage and her mother was beside herself with worry and frustration.
Into this world walked in a young man, Sunil who in the first meeting itself managed to steal her heart. He was everything that she had always wanted in a man… confident, good looking, well-read, well-bred, modern in outlook and with a wonderful sense of humour. So taken in was she by him that the moment he popped the question she said a smiling yes.
Her married life turned out to be exactly the way she had imagined and wanted. Though the in-laws were extremely orthodox and wanted her to stop working and stay in the house, the husband was exactly the opposite. He didn’t want her to change or customize herself to his needs and desires. He, in fact, encouraged her not only to work but to accept bigger challenges and responsibilities at work.
Two years into the marriage and they were blessed with the arrival of their daughter. But here also the husband shouldered all the responsibilities equally with her and never let her feel burdened. When she decided to stay back at home to take care of their daughter the husband fully supported her decision. It wasn’t easy for her to put her aspirations on hold and stay at home but she chose to do that. Whenever she felt depressed or frustrated for having to do this, her husband was there to comfort her.
This unconditional love and support gave her a lot of strength.
Finally, after almost twelve years of a life devoted to her daughter, she decided to go back to work. But she realized it wasn’t easy to get back. There was no one willing to hire her, no jobs for her. Moreover once again her mother and now even her in-laws were dead against the idea of her going back to work.
But Pooja was determined and once again did not give in. She decided to take up a low paying job in an advertising agency just to start working again. It was not easy to manage the house, the child, and the job. But she did not give up. Her grit and positive outlook paid dividends when she got approached by one of the clients of her agency to join him in his business. He knew her from before and was impressed by her hardworking nature. It was a stroke of luck that made him bump into her. She joined him as an employee but worked hard to ultimately become his partner.
Sunil supported her in this journey. She could depend on him to take care of their daughter and be there for both of them.
Thanks to him and her determination today she runs her own business. Her daughter is an independent and confident young girl and has joined her in her business. Sunil continues to work in the private sector as before and has risen to a senior position.
Would Pooja’s story have been different had she got bogged down by her mother or her in-laws?? Would it have been different if she had not had the courage to pick up the threads of her working life after twelve long years ???
Yes, she had the support of her father and husband but then she also had the courage of conviction to do what she wanted to … She was an achiever against all odds!!