• dharashah2907

I wonder...

There are times I wonder how far I have come and how different my life is from the life of my grandfather and father.




My grandfather earned his living being an artist in British ruled India. He lived through the British Raj and even in the free democratic India. He struggled being an artist to keep up with the day to day expenses of feeding a family of 6 people. But he kept going with his passion for art.


My father spent his years as a young man trying to fit into the ‘responsible son' shoes of running a family, being the only son of the 4 siblings. From a 2 room house to a lavish apartment now, he has done the best for his family with the resources available to him.


I spent my life in India getting an education, learning to stand up for the right, speaking up for myself and dreaming of a life in a not so ‘misogynist' culture. I ended up migrating to Canada & choosing a life away from my family in India, in the hopes of an independent tomorrow. For me, independence didn’t just mean to be able to go out and work being a girl but it meant having equity across the board. I dreamt of a tomorrow where I didn’t have to feel guilty for choosing my career over a family or where making a meal for the family, was just not my job being a daughter-in law. When I see myself as a grand-daughter of a man who lived in India ruled by the British Raj, I see how far I have come. I measure my journey against the barriers and challenges of my grandfather and father & I couldn’t have asked for a better one. I have the education that exposes me to a world, in ways my grandfather and father weren't. I can afford the luxuries that my grandfather & father couldn’t at my age or even in their entire lives. I can use my voice to bring a change, in ways my grandfather and father couldn’t. All these privileges I have been afforded, are because my grandfather and father walked a walk that I didn’t have to. Their sacrifices made me reach where I am today. And so I wonder, if my grandfather ever thought of how far we would come while he was simply hoping to have a life free from colonizers in his early on life. Although I dreamt of moving to a foreign land, in hopes of living in an equitable world, I never really imagined how challenging or different it would be from my own lived experiences. From being surrounded by people who look like me, talk like me, accept my existence inherently to living permanently in a place where you constantly try to fit in because all the opposites are true, I think I have come a long way. It takes a lot of energy to be different but I surely have come far. What matters to me the most is that I carry the resilience of my grandfather and my father. Though not a son to my father, me and my sister were passed this resilience and never to give up attitude. We have been passed this strength to be different than the so called societal 'norms’ if the need be & not fear failures. We were never taught to compare ourselves against the achievements of other people because in every way our grandfather and father are different in the paths they chose in their respective lives. I would never in a million years change myself because I have now realized that not all have this strength & courage to voice the wrong!


On days that I want to question my own journey, I wonder “Did ‘dada' (my grandfather) while living in India around the time of Britishers ruling the country, ever wonder of living in free India & having his grand-daughter leave the homeland, to settle on the lands of a foreign country, trying to fight for social justice and speak up for her race, gender, the patriarchal culture or contribute towards dismantling the blindly followed stereotypes of being a woman?" I wonder how far I have come considering the struggles of 2 generations of my family...


I wonder....


Dhara

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