I might not be one in a million girl, but I am sure my story is one in a million. I am Anandini Valluri and the author of “You can become anything you want, they said!”,a strikingly inspiring tale of a travel writer who was suppressed and struggled to find a balance between the world’s expectations and herself. I am also the author of “Celebrating life ” which is a collection of articles penned down by me from my blog anandinivalluri.blogspot.com wherein my prime focus was on liberated existence.
If you go by the idea behind these two novels you might think that I was happy to have a liberated existence of my very own to have written two novels like this But the truth is, it’s a huge no and I had to fight for it.
The most liberating experience for me personally is being a self-made person. But then, I am a self made woman holding a master’s degree in electronics that has no meaning to my existence but a mere trophy to appease my parents in their attempts to find a potential ‘match’. And mind you, the ‘match’ was for the sake of my happiness. But little did the world or my family ask me was “What would actually make me happy?”. The truth is sometimes when we become independent, we are also neglected and we learn the hard way that we are left alone when we need people the most.
Being in an Engineering college in an Integrated program for 5 years did not help me understand what I wanted in life, but then I did it out of respect to my parents, expecting reciprocation someday. Pretty clichéd, but then true. I hoped someday I will be respected enough to be given the time and support to figure out my way, but then my parents have never got around to it even now.
As a kid I have been put in 7 different schools in 7 different places; Hyderabad, Baroda, Pune, Seychelles, Saudi Arabia, Doha and Thanjavur. Though it is sounds pretty exciting, it was a very unstable existence for a kid who was trying to belong somewhere. The independent me wanted to scream out for space and to work on things which made me happy.
After traveling the world, the last thing you expect your college life to be is in a small town in a course which makes no sense to you, which in turn made you feel like a failure. Lonely, frustrated and confusing were my five years at university and I managed to graduate with no job from the offered placements. I think having no job wasn’t a surprise to me as I knew the knowledge of my engineering subjects. I knew my area of strength was communication, writing, presentation skills and my skill at convincing people.
The only possibility of using these skills to make a sensible career was the marketing and business line. I was a an author by the age of 19, but as an M.Tech graduate at 22, I had no clue on what I actually studied. After a long sabbatical and massive self search, I got a job off campus which was a dream job for a person with my skill set. It was a time where I was looked down for not being an IT personnel despite having accolades of my own which were not stereotypical.
While I finally settled in my job, I had another rock thrown at me. Marriage! Like any parent my folks were “concerned” too. Imagine being an independent woman in a cosmopolitan city, independent in every sense of it, financially, emotionally! “That is so wrong, She is a woman!” Somehow despite the fact I was doing great by myself, my parents were “concerned”. Valuing their concern, I had a talk with them to give me time to sort out my career plans, but like every typical Indian parent, my career was not as important as marriage. But this time, I made a choice. I didn’t want to play the victim card and instead stood up for myself. I was tired of living a lie as I knew it was time to make sure I get what I truly deserved and that was definitely not being someone’s wife at the age of 23. Misguided concern from a lot of parent has put a majority of women through this. The truth is, sometimes we need to make the right decision which is often the hardest. Choosing between your parents and yourself, which is what it finally became was emotionally draining.
If I am being honest, writing was my therapy to my failed engineering career, the dark days of being left out and those miserable times where you feel unloved and uncared for by the supposed well wishers. But then, all those experiences has made me who I am and also taught me the biggest lesson “Romanticizing pain leads no you no where, the big question is what brings you happiness and how you go about it, no matter how many times you have been judged and criticized. At the end of the day, you have to live with the reality irrespective of whether it was your choice or the choice made for you”.
My story as a woman- ” I think men are afraid to be with a woman who is independent as we are terribly strong, know what we want and are not fragile, which is what a winner is all about. A winner never complaints or romanticizes about situations and ‘societal pressure’. She believes in her self, works and fights all the odds to define her existence.