Hello Ladies & gentlemen, boys & girls. This is Anuksha Arsh Gulati and yes, I’m currently a 12th grade student. Young much?
Well, dreaming at this age, Why not , school students tend to dream a lot, both in sleeping and fantasizing. But again my age doesn’t stop me from pursuing my passion, my dreams, or from doing what I love to do.
My mother once narrated me the story of my birth. She told me that when she was pregnant, the mandatory ultrasounds predicted the sex of the baby.
Good Lord! Boy or a girl? For God’s sake, it better be a boy!
My grandmother and my mother were born in almost a family of girls. With 9 sisters of my grandmother and 3 those of my mother, the very sight of a girl again, in the next generation could become quite painful for them.
Every relative of my family, every anonymous aunt and uncle, every anonymous grandmother and grandfather, prayed and bribed the Almighty for the birth of a baby boy. But even amidst the darkness, the conservative perspectives, the hatred for feminity, there my parents were! My dear mom deep within, hankered for a daughter, for a young beautiful soul whom she could adore to the fullest, her own embellished chunk of mass that she could confide by, always. And also my lovely father who supported me, even the unborn me, in each and every possible aspect.
Soon, the ultrasound reports were out. A baby boy was on the way! You heard me right, a baby boy!
Everybody was on cloud nine, celebrating the happiness of their lives.
It went on to, ‘ finally, the curse of incessant girls in our family comes to an end.’
While everybody was glowing with joy, the mother of the arriving soul prayed and longed relentlessly. She spoke to the baby every day, comforting it for the world outside, how much she loved it and would still do whether a boy or a girl, about developing inner strengths & being ourselves, about the power of communication . The working environment of my mother further enhanced the words she would communicate to the unborn soul.
Well, it’s the power of motherhood that I stand before you all today. A girl, a girl who when bags prizes makes the same relatives proud, a girl who endures the patriarchal society but likes it the hard way, a girl who loves to be herself, a girl who wiped the criticism of womanhood in her family, for starters.
My journey, even as a girl of 17 has been very adventurous. When I was 2 years old, parents say, I had selected my own playschool. Well, it turned out to be a Bengali playschool and I had a lot of adjustment problems initially, but then I eventually managed to pick up the language. At the same tender age, I began learning Bharatnatyam and was started to be called the twinkling toes in my school. Karate, lawn tennis, music, basketball and other activities gradually became my zones of proficiency. Under the guidance of eminent professors and communication specialists, I learned the power of words and the beauty of effective communication which today has enabled me to host radio shows in the children section of All India Radio.
Recently, I founded an organization titled AAG- ARISE AWAKE GROW which aims to empower girls and celebrate womanhood. Within few months, we have been able to host several competitions and conduct self-defense workshops in collaboration with the Special Police Unit of Women & Children. Our dream is to build a world where a girl is proud of her identity and her being.
So many times we tie our girls and women in shackles of patriarchy, the kinds which might even be invisible. But ladies and gentlemen, that’s not how we are supposed to roll it, that’s not how humanity wants it.
Conclusively, addressing the problems that a modern girl has to face, I’d like to narrate a self-composed poem.
– Anuksha Arsh Gulati (Attended Young India Challenge at SRCC 2016)