“In a place like India, toxic masculinity is instilled in you at such a young age. You’re taught to fight back and hold your own regardless of the situation- what starts from scruffs in the playground end up becoming life threatening brawls when you’re older. I was always taught to be on alert and ready to defend myself and my family, ever since I was a child. Having lost my father at the tender age of 2, the responsibility of being ‘the man of the house’ fell onto my shoulders far too soon.
Trauma can leave such a huge impact on you and your mental health without your cognizance, and at one point you begin to feel like it’s too late to repair the damages. My story isn’t a sad one, though. I think every negative thing that happened to me eventually turned out to have a positive outcome. Be it death, financial loss or heartbreak, I’ve come out smarter and more aware of who I am as a person, and more importantly, who I aspire to be as a human being.
Growing up with my mother and sister made me who I am today. Being brought up by women opened my eyes to the struggles that are so unfairly faced by them- it made me a feminist, yes, but it also taught me to be respectful, empathetic and understanding of people, which is something most people can’t seem to do. Experiencing and observing hardships are what pushed me to take up therapy, give up on expectations, and make the massive shift from who I’m expected to be to who I want to be.
I think the first time I gave up a high paying job to take up one that gave me fulfillment is when I realized that this is the way to a better life and a better me. Over the last few years, I’ve given more attention to my writing, gardening, music and health, and it has made a massive change to both my mental and physical health. By no means am I where I want to be in life, but it’s a process until the very end, and it’s a process that I am not only willing to take, but look forward to.”