Written by Tanvi Nagar
I sat in a dimly lit room and began to flip the dusty journal’s pages,
‘My life’- the first page said- ‘Every detail in this journal I have narrated’
My grandmother’s words, her handwriting preserved perfectly through time,
“This journal begins on 18th September 1800, it will end with the end of my life,
They call me a warrior, they call me a fighter-mother, lover, daughter too,
I have been all of them, not a single day of my life has been rued,
When I came into this world they labelled me as a housewife-nothing more,
A slave-born to live and die inside four walls- “What more is a girl even worthy for?”
“You must die with your husband, he’ll live with you for seven lives,” mother said,
(He’s twenty-seven years elder to me-he’s on his death bed)
(How can I die before I have begun to achieve my dreams-Yes! I have dreams too,
How can I jump into a fire for him-I will not, mother dear, I will not do this for you).
They told me to marry him like my mother did when I was barely nine,
To sacrifice my body, my mind- devote myself to their service-for my lifetime,
I was loaded with a cart full of riches, my value calculated in bills and money,
Father- “He will treat you well, dear- we have given him whatever he wanted as dowry”
While he read the Gita, he commanded- “Lady, go get me some hot tea.”
I took the book from the table, while he slept-the letters like designs looking quirky,
That’s how I learnt to read the Holy books, pen down biographies and write,
That’s how I went on to lead India’s freedom struggle-studying under the night light.”
A tear flowed down my cheek, I snapped back into my reality,
To a world where there are thousands of women-no longer oppressed with brutality,
A world where there has been progress, there have been massive leaps and bounds,
Today women are astronauts-reaching the stars and clouds, rising above the ground.
Today girls attend school, girls know of their rights, girls are have travelled miles,
Today girls know that they needn’t be clad in red sarees- they are beautiful when they smile.
Today girls can go to temples, churches, mosques- follow their heart’s calls,
Girls are overcoming barriers, crossing obstacles and breaking suffocating walls.
In my diary, I began to write- ‘My life’-each and every detail I described,
“I was born in 2000-welcomed as not a ‘boy’ or ‘girl’-but simply a child,
I went to school with my brother, went to college too,
They said-be a doctor, an astronaut, lawyer- do whatever you want to pursue.
The era has changed, the world is slowly turning into a paradise,
Female foeticide has reduced, people have begun to value the girl child’s life,
Women can step out of their house safely after the so-called ‘curfew’,
They can all blossom like flowers whose petals are coated with fresh dew,
That’s how the era has metamorphosed-like a caterpillar and butterfly,
To the next generation reading this diary-
Make the world a finer place, never lose the spirit to try and try.”
Tanvi Nagar, 16, belongs to Haryana, India and is a student at Delhi Public School, Gurgaon. She has been writing for the past eight years and is passionate about public speaking, travelling, playing sports and reading. She has contributed to national newspapers like ‘The Times of India’ and ‘Hindustan Times’; magazines like the ‘Neev Magazine’ and ‘Children’s World’ and anthologies like ‘The Last Flower of Spring’ and ‘Riding on a Summer Train’ by Delhi Poetry Slam; ‘The Great Indian Anthology’ by Half Baked Beans and ‘She the Shakti’ by Authors Press. She is the Editor in her school and has authored three books titled, ‘A Treasure Trove of Poetic Wonderland’ ‘A Bountiful of Rhythmic Stories’ and ‘My Book of Short Stories and Poems’ and two research papers which were published in the International Journal of Multidisciplinary Educational Research. She has won the Eye Level Literary Award 2018 by Daekyo, South Korea; the Create Change Challenge 2020 by the University of Queensland, Australia; the Millennial Essay Writing Contest by UNESCO and Takthe; the Haryana State Badminton Championship 2013-14; and has worked with organisations like The Global Leadership and Education Foundation and The Faridabad Education Council to serve the community.