A New Life Awaits

Life is all about having your moments. Moments that sweeps you off your feet. Moments that take you by surprise. Moments that make you feel proud as an individual. One of my life changing moments happened some months ago when I was offered an opportunity to move abroad. I took my time, made an informed decision and took the opportunity. Now, a new chapter of my life will commence.

As a child, the United States fascinated me as a nation. There was a prepossessing quality about it. Right from the landscape to the people to the culture to the expansion and advancement, I just loved it all. When I grew into a young woman, I loved the sitcoms. In fact I’m a diehard fan of a lot of shows broadcasted on networks like CBS, ABC, and NBC etc.  My current favorite is Louie. However, I never knew working with these networks and making it big would be in my future. Writing about it today makes me so happy.

Moving to a new place is always exciting. When the relocation takes place across hundreds of miles in not only a new country but also on a new continent, it becomes even more thrilling. I am someone who is a lover of travelling. More than travelling, I’m a lover of solo travel. I, my bag pack and my travel journal make an excellent combo. Exploring new places and wayfaring through different cultures is magical. Travel transforms a person. Travel offers an individual endless opportunity. It adds a new perspective in one’s life. It makes a person responsible. Most importantly, travelling makes a person a little more of who he/she really is.

Moving to United States will be an experience of a life time. I can vouch for it. Every experience counts – the good and the bad.  Each experience will be a bit of a teaching moment. Every time I think of landing there, an innocent but subtle smile shows on my face. I do have some friends and folks there but there is a huge difference between listening to people’s experiences and having experiences of your own. There is just so much to learn, so much to sink in. Moving out to another country is moving right out of your comfort zone and into a world that is strange but inviting.

My job profile demands me to spend the majority of my time in California. That is where I will be based. California is one of my favourite states in the USA. The others being New York, Florida, and Massachusetts. I am sure I will keep adding more places to this list. California allures me, and not just now but always. Cities like Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Jose , San Diego etc. make it such a happening place. Top notch universities like Stanford, UCB and Caltech make it one of the finest hubs of education too. Not only is California the hub of the entertainment industry in the world but also the home to ‘Silicon Valley’.’ Not to forget, it is one of the most liberal states

Can’t wait to catch a plane and land there. I guess, my first weekend will be spent taking a tour of the city I’ll live in – San Diego. Oh the lovely city of San Diego along the coast of the majestic and beautiful Pacific Ocean with its delightful beaches.  I have been reading some journals on the place and am extremely happy to know that it has one of the best climates in United States. San Diego remains pleasant throughout the year. I come from a place in India that shares this feature so I feel comfortable. A combination of good weather and good landscape is pure bliss. As a kid I always wanted to be a part of the crowd watching dolphins performing some impressive aerial acts at Sea World. Back then I had no idea that one day I will be in that crowd.

After San Diego, Tinsel Town  – Hollywood is what I’d love to visit.  My first step in Los Angeles might give me goose bumps. That is my level of excitement. Walking on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, visiting all the studios which are world famous, taking a tour of the eclectic Hollywood Museum , all of these activities are on my ’To-do-list.’ Just writing about all this right now makes me so elated. Only God knows what will happen when I am  there in person.

Living on your own is a profound learning experience. Managing the smallest chore at your house to making last minute arrangements for a board meeting is all a part of that experience. Meeting new people every day with diverse ethnicities is exciting. Getting to know the most professional people and seeing them work is inspiring. They say, “If you’re the smartest person in a room, you’re in the wrong room.” I believe this is to be true. Seeing people much more established than you makes you want to move up in life too. Performance is the only key to step up that ladder of life. The more the challenges, the more is the growth in an individual. It does get difficult at times but I’ve always held the view that difficulties are like training camps. Every difficulty, every struggle makes you stronger and a little cut above the rest.

Being away from home, away from the people I love, away from my food, away from everything comforting is scary. But taking a giant leap of faith and trying something out of your comfort zone is always worth it. It refines you. It really does. My people will be missed but I know they are comforted to see me making it on my own. They are proud I am pursuing what I wanted to. I feel grateful that I have parents that have supported me like a solid rock all this while. I come from a family where empowering daughters is a priority. Growing up I didn’t really realize the importance of having a liberal family. But today, I can’t thank them enough.

Not everything will be perfect but I will hang in there getting exposed to new facets of life every single day. I will grow. I will evolve and I will adapt. I have always ‘Lived it real.’ I will continue to be this way even in a foreign land. This is my moment and I’ve waited for it for a very long time. Now it’s time to step out from one home to another.

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Akriti

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”Not Every Man is Threatened by the Rise of Sassy Women’ : A Young Woman’s Perspective

akriti-mattuWelcome a new author here on Ronovan Writes. Hope you enjoy these looks into the world by a highly intelligent, business minded young woman from India who is striking out to make a name for herself in a new country. Her’s the first article here on Ronovan Writes by Akriti Mattu. For her personal blog, click here.

Diverse Creations

An Indian woman is one of the most diverse creations of God. Endowed richly with diversity and culture, the 29 states of India have women that vary greatly from one. However, one thing that is common to women across cultures, religions, and ethnicities is the shifting power dynamics of the man – woman relationship in contemporary India.

In the last two decades, India has witnessed a massive leap in science and technology. As with many societies with such advancements, people have become more aware of themselves as individuals and of their rights. With this new awareness has come a gradual change in Indian society itself. This gradual remodeling and restructuring is having a huge impact on the average Indian citizen, especially young women and men from my generation.

The Modern Woman

A modern Indian woman can be liberal and sassy. She’s not afraid of being herself anymore. Being aware of her identity as an individual, she does not want that identity to be masked by roles of a mother, a daughter and a wife alone. She wants to be known in the world for who she is. Her true self is what matters now. Good thing is many Indian men are not lagging behind the times.

Parents are becoming increasingly supportive of educating their daughters and making them at par with their sons. They are realizing the importance of education and financial independence of women. The literacy rate in India has shot up to 74.04 % from 64.84 %. For women it is 65.46 %, as compared to 53.67% previously.

The Fear

However, as women are becoming increasingly independent and conscious of their rights, there are some people who are not responding well to this transformation. There is a section of men who feel threatened by successful, educated and well aware women. They even go to the extreme extent of claiming they feel emasculated in the presence of powerful women. A powerful woman by their definition is any woman who is independent, educated and hence successful. They are conservative in the context of not liking women to be given any freedom or liberty. I call such men threatened.

For hundreds of years when women were subjugated and denied even basic rights, men like these were in their comfort zone. They were at the top of an imaginary pyramid with the excellent support system provided by the woman at the base.

But now? The pyramid has inverted with the base at the top and the peak, with the man, at the bottom. Therefore this reversal is seen by some as a dangerous trend. Not only do they feel vulnerable, they don’t like other men endorsing this change.

At one hand where we see a rise of a new India with women earning well and advancing in their careers, topping entrance examinations, making it to top positions of private companies, public sector units, bureaucracy, defense services, aviation, technology etc., at the other hand we see a dark reality that cannot be ignored; the reality of trepidation and fear is still being instilled across quarters.

I’d like to point out this gap in India does not really lie between the rural and urban India but with the mentality – Archaic versus Modern. While there are people in rural India who are well aware of the gradual change, there are literate people in cities which shame us. No wonder it is said that literacy and education are different concepts. They are not mutually inclusive.

Nirbhaya

A short but powerful documentary was recently made by a British film maker – Leslee Udwin, and was aired on the BBC. It is a re-enactment of the brutal gang rape of a 23 year old girl whom India calls ‘Nirbhaya’ (It is the Hindi word for fearless). This brutal gang rape happened on the 16th December, 2012 in the heart of the Indian Capital – New Delhi. This young girl, Nirbhaya is representative of the contemporary Indian woman. In fact she epitomizes the changing ‘power dynamic’, I wrote about before.

As a young girl of 23, like many other young women, Nirbhaya had high hopes and aspirations. She wanted to make an impact on the world around her. She wanted to contribute her bit to society and be a part of the ‘changing India’. She did make an impact and she did contribute to change – After her death.

The innocent young woman was so brutally gang raped she succumbed to internal injuries and died. The perpetrators were such predators they even took out her intestines. This incident shocked the nation and men and women across India came to the streets. Candle light marches were held. Protests were made. Pain was felt. Empathy was spread. People across castes, class, creed, age groups, professions and gender came as one. Nirbhaya united India.

Men across quarters fought for the spirit of the brave woman who died and for the women across the country. Nobody asked these men to fight for women’s safety. They did it on their own. This is one of the biggest signs of seeing an evolved male mentality. It was a proud moment. Not only did men become a part of the protests, they took a vow to not even eve-tease women for the sake of fun.

The brutality of the sexual assault on Nirbhaya made men cringe and bow down their heads in shame as men. They wanted to prove that, “all men are not the same” and they did. This is just one recent incident but there are many others. Every time a case of sexual violence, female foeticide, dowry death, honour killing comes to the fore, the modern Indian man extends full support to their female counterparts. It makes them feel sick that society treats women unjustly. Men like these are secure men. They don’t feel emasculated in the presence of powerful, liberated women. Instead, they take pride of having such women around as role models.

The Hurdles

However in spite of men like these, the ‘dark reality’ will do whatever it takes to hold back the women in their lives. They have an outmoded mentality, where the mere thought of a free woman is seen as a threat, a danger.

These are the kinds of men which take resorts like throwing acids on women when they turn down their proposals or indulging in sexual crimes to shame a woman, as a way of revenge for being free. They are the kinds of men who force their spouses to abort female fetuses in the womb itself. The mere existence of a girl child is undesirable to them. It is because of men like these that some places in India are now facing skewed sex ratios. Saddest part is that these men are ‘educated’ men. They consist of lawyers, bureaucrats, technocrats, even teachers and doctors. This is the section of society I personally despise.

I have always been a free spirit, therefore when I see people with such dogmatic attitudes; it comes across as an alien concept. Women must stand up against such rigid attitudes. They must start the process of empowerment within and most importantly, make ties in solidarity with other women who suffer. Only then can India rise and shine, and live up to the dream of being a progressive nation in the true sense.

Strength-in-Numbers

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