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February 13, 2023

Cost of being different

Off late i have been thinking of the price of my choices in life. The age old saying that every choice costs something either a penny more or a blow to your image or a lessening of your circle. Something always weighs in when you make a choice that is defying the herd.

I for one have always lived in a herd and also had friends in a herd but ever since I was a child I had this streak of being the different one amongst the group.

I remember when I was in grade 5, although living with a joint family system in India there were many things one had to share but I was adamant on a study desk and a study corner. Of all the material desires any young pre teen would have, I longed for some stability during my studies. And my parents arranged for the same, I still remember my excitement of having something that was mine and I didn’t have to share. But it came at a cost of being so different from my family, instead of asking for a fancy wardrobe or a bed I asked for something that labelled me the Nerd of the family. There would be many days I would silently sit at my desk and have small tears come out as I would make my time table, because of a comment someone said earlier that day.

But that didn’t stop me at all, I enjoyed studying and till the time I was in academics I was always much above average and yes the first in my family to get the grades that I did in some very tough subjects.

Fast forward to few years into my early twenties, my life was already decided by my parents but little did they or I know that my choices would again lead me down a different path.

Taking jobs in very exciting profiles that required me to travel to unknown places within and outside India, the wealth of knowledge that I gathered, the independence that I saw completely changed the course of my life.

That was the age where I was to be arranged in a marriage but my sheer work profile would scare off any prospective suitors. I remember my mother telling me that so and so saw my profile but they feel I am too fast and have seen quite much for my age.

And I would wonder, so is that a bad thing?

To be good at what you do and also get a chance to build your character and life skills set?

But being different comes with its labels.

Even now that I am married to progressive man, leading my independent life with choices we both make for the betterment of our lives. I still have to face labelling from people.

In Indian society there is very less place for a woman who wants to be an equal in her marriage, who wants to prioritise mental peace over age old traditions. Here if you see a woman wanting to work, live seperately from her family, make bold choices for her life. There is bound to be a label.

But honestly living in a borderless world, I see so many cultures through different mediums and I have realised one thing. In every culture there is an expectation. But that expectation costs individuals quite a lot.

It is upto every person to choose not to follow something just because they are forced to.

Ofcourse being called a nerd , ultra fast and head strong for my choices were labels that hurt me but at the end of the day I have to live with my choices and if I can go to sleep each night at peace with my day.

Well then being at peace is a label worth fighting for.

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Radhika Sahi Kaur  |  Contribution: 7,590