‘Why wal­low in vic­tim­hood?’

India Today - - EXPERIENCE - As told to Mona Ra­ma­vat

DUTee CHanD, HY­Der­aBaD, 21 sPrinter

Icome from a small town—Gopalpur in Odisha, where girls are not read­ily en­cour­aged to pur­sue higher stud­ies or their pas­sions. But I was al­ways in­ter­ested in sports. My el­der sis­ter, Saraswati Chand, an ath­lete her­self and em­ployed with the po­lice ser­vice, sup­ported our fam­ily with her salary and would also give me a part of it for my train­ing. She is a strong gritty woman that I look up to. Be­ing a woman, I have never con­sid­ered my­self lesser in any way due to my fam­ily’s sup­port. I never once doubted my­self or my abil­i­ties, my self-con­fi­dence be­came my big­gest strength. It wasn’t an easy bat­tle for me with peo­ple be­ing quick to judge and in­sin­u­a­tions com­ing my way. But I did not give up nor did I feel bogged down, wal­low­ing in vic­tim­hood. It was tough but it brought out a strength in me I didn’t know ex­isted. I am a nasty woman be­cause I hold the strength and power in my­self to stand for what I be­lieve in, even if this means go­ing against stereo­types that de­fine a woman’s place—what women should be like or not be like, which of her dreams she’s al­lowed to pur­sue and those she dare not have, all the ways in which she’s con­sid­ered less than. Ev­ery­one is born with a cer­tain in­her­ent strength, but it takes courage to bring forth that strength when life throws a chal­lenge. I chose not to crum­ble each time I was faced with a dif­fi­culty. I used ev­ery such chal­lenge as an op­por­tu­nity to build on my strength and emerge stronger.

Pho­to­graph by bandeeP singh

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