“I left my family, friends, my home everything for a stranger..
“Neha Sangtani became Anandita Gangwani and I completely lost my identity,” says the 26 year old sharing her story.
Offering us a glimpse of her childhood, she comments, “I’ve always been proud of being a girl. My childhood was wonderful. I really love my father from the bottom of my heart.
He’s the one who always wanted a baby girl. I am my Daddy’s dream.
“My parents always taught me good things in life. It is because of them that I am a good human,” says she, revealing, she was a very shy teenager. “As the only girl in my family, I felt much loved”, explains Neha who admits to being a straight ‘A’ student all the way through college.
“It was particularly difficult explaining to my friends that I wasn’t allowed to work despite good grades!
“But, this was no surprise coming from a conventional Sindhi family. My father’s opinion mattered more to me.” The final year of graduation saw her engagement and subsequent marriage.
“It was a new life for me. I underestimated how difficult it would be to adjust in someone else’s home. You need to put in a lot of effort to be a part of the family. But pleasing people and essentially being merry Jane 24×7 is not easy. It would be an understatement to say my life has changed drastically after marriage.
Hitherto empty words like compromise and sacrifice took new meaning, becoming my routine. What is weird is that all your likes and dislikes are changed. After a year of marriage, you forget all the things you liked the most.
“Those hours spent pouring over the latest edition of Vogue, or a happy afternoon watering the plants in the afternoon sunshine.
‘Nope. Don’t even think of it, you’re married now’ is the way I correct myself every time I dream of a moment to myself in blissful solace.
As a homemaker in a joint-family, you’re surrounded by people 24×7. I soon realized they always want something from you. Either to set you on chores or eating away at your brain with mindless gossip..
The worse kind even made it their mission to point out how I was doing everything wrong and that my parents didn’t raise me right.
‘But this is marriage honey’, said mom when I confided in her one day.
Neha reveals that her new family does have some genuine sweet-hearts, but everyone harbours an agenda. “They never treat me like a family member and I felt like the perpetual guest, albeit a hardworking one!
Depression set in and I chose some terrible means to divert myself. I’m convinced that this isn’t the life my parents would want for me.
“Now, all I can hope for is a way to thank my parents for a wonderful childhood and make them proud.
“The girl who was never allowed to work, really wants to today.”
“My struggle have only given me the strength to fulfill my dreams. So, as I said, I’d always been proud of being a girl. That is of course, until the day I got married. Now I know being born in India makes you regret being a girl.
Nevertheless I have learnt just one thing in life – It is very difficult to be a woman, but I wish to prove to this world that it isn’t impossible to live this reality.”
#All views expressed in this article are those of the respondent. Respondent name changed to protect individuals privacy.
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