She held the acceptance letter from one of the prestigious medical universities and plodded towards her father.
In the times when getting a postgraduate seat was akin to striking oil, she had already rejected two places in wild pursuit of her coveted subject.
It was the last letter due.
“I like the university but not the subjects they are offering me. People would think of me a fool to give it all away,” she said, her head lowered and her shoulders slumped.
“Do what makes you happy,” he said and then looking into her eyes, hummed a few lines in Hindi, “ Doosro ki jai se pehle khud ko jai karo.”
She felt a weight shifting off her shoulders. Unfettered from expectations, it felt as if she had sprouted wings and was soaring unrestrainedly under the sky, even if it meant spending the next year preparing for the PG entrances.
Years later, she, an introvert, studious girl, did the unthinkable and decided to marry her senior while pursuing her post-graduation in the chosen field. As expected, her extended, ultraconservative family blew a gasket over the inter-caste match.
She would have given up had her father not come to her rescue once again. He had faith in her choices, even before she had learned to believe in them herself.
He taught her to fight hammer and tongs for herself until the rest of the world came around.
Even now, after so many years, whenever clouds of doubts and other people’s expectations cast her horizon, her father’s words always shine through and illume her way.
The seeds of innate security and satisfaction her father had sown long ago, have now taken roots, and she basks under it, imbued with the power of thinking, and deciding for herself.
Doosro ki jai se pehle khud ko jai karo- a Hindi song implying the importance of believe in oneself and one’s abilities before letting the world decide their worth.
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