‘Why wallow in victimhood?’
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