#BreakFree: An Unexpected Gift

Google says that a gift is an item given to someone without the expectation of payment or anything in return, an item is not a gift it that item is already owned by the one to whom it is given to. She never felt that feeling of happiness of receiving the gift because she never had any gift even on her birthdays. Her father gave her left over food from his own plate and said, ‘I gave you more so are you happy now? Although gift-giving might involve an expectation to reciprocate, but she never could reciprocate because family never celebrated her birthday. In some countries, the act of mutually exchanging money, goods may sustain social relations and contribute to social cohesion. But her world seemed to lack this cohesion. Since her early childhood, she has seen so many birthday celebrations in her building. Yes, only in her building because she was not allowed to go out of the building so she could attend only a limited number of birthday parties.

Anklets: First gift of her life

Parents gave her a pair of anklets (payal), it was the first present of her life. She said, ‘but ma, why this? I wanted only books so that I could attend my classes.’ She was an innocent idiot because she knew that they won’t answer her question, they never did. She never knew that it was part of middle class culture and she felt like she was not given anklets but handcuffs. She was only 8. Whenever she saw the anklets in her little feet, she was unable to focus upon whatever she was doing. Her friends continuously asked her why she was not removing them, she kept quiet.


Dupatta: Second gift of her life

On her 16th birthday her mother gifted her new red colour dupatta. She asked, ‘why dupatta mom? I wanted a school bag for my books so that books do not get wet in monsoon’. Everyone kept quiet. Her mother kept quiet too but probably knew her daughters feelings because she faced the same situation in her childhood.  The poor girl had no idea what was happening to her. She could not understand why a dupatta is more important than a school bag. She felt like she was in a prison. She was only 16 and her parents wanted her to stay inside the house and put on that dupatta all the times. They were planning to marry her off. After all, she was the oldest girl in her building.

Final call: A gift by her to her

One day, she decides to answer her own questions. She decides to listen to herself. She understood the difference between what she wanted and what her family wanted for her. She decided to dump her old life. She came back home and politely but firmly declared that she wanted to continue her studies. Her father got furious because how could she? A girl could not talk like that to her father. But she decides to use all her rights given by the constitution of India. She fought back and fought hard. She is an engineering student now. Her father is still upset with her but she doesn’t care much about it anymore. She believes in achieving the goal of her life. Her mother is still a victim, in fact she has been a victim since her childhood but mother has that sparkle of pride for her daughter. Mother is happy inside but still can’t show open support for her daughter, how can she? A wife cannot behave badly with her husband!

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