On a day much like any other, my friend and I shared dreams of college, graduation, and a promising career. The world seemed full of possibilities, and our aspirations danced in the air around us. Little did I know, within the span of a day, the direction of my life would change dramatically.
In the blink of an eye, I found myself standing before the mirror, adorned in bridal attire. The reflection that stared back at me was that of a bride, a future I had not anticipated so soon. Words eluded me in that surreal moment, and while silence enveloped me, it’s a silence I’ve come to regret. If only I could turn back time and find my voice.
At barely 18, I stood at the crossroads of a life-altering decision. My grandmother’s words hung in the air like a fateful decree, “You are to be married to this young man.” It wasn’t that I opposed marriage; rather, it was the abruptness, the lack of agency, that left me disoriented. Dreams of exploration, of a college campus bustling with life, were swiftly replaced by the hasty preparations for a life I hadn’t chosen.
The life I had imagined, where I’d walk the corridors of a college, exchange notes with friends, and savor the joys of learning, now seemed like a mirage. Each time I passed by any college gate, I felt a longing bringing me to tears.
As if in the blink of an eye, I found myself standing at a threshold, a point where yesterday’s dreams faced today’s reality. The rapidity of it all left me breathless, robbed of the chance to fully embrace the present. One moment, I was 18, with the world at my feet; the next, responsibilities overshadowed everything.
Those were days painted in muted hues, where the colors of my many dreams dimmed against the backdrop of my circumstance. Inwardly, my spirit waned as the enormity of my new role settled upon me. Yet, a flicker of hope persisted within, a whisper reminding me that perhaps, amidst the upheaval, a thread of my dreams remained intact.
God is there, present in the chances that life brings to us. A glimmer of change presented itself in the form of Manzil’s team. Their arrival felt like fate intervening, offering a lifeline just when all seemed lost. Their words, infused with encouragement, breathed life back into me. It was then that I took a step, fueled by the belief that there was more to my story than met the eye.
To my surprise, my in-laws were supportive of my dreams and ignited a spark within me. With newfound courage, I chose the path of a beautician. It was an art that resonated with my soul, an endeavor to create beauty in a world that often felt uncertain. Little did I know, this choice would lead to a moment of astonishing revelation.
In the soft morning light, an envelope was placed in my hands– an offer letter for a beautician course. The gesture, as simple as it was, held profound meaning.
It’s often said that dreams are fragile, easily shattered by the blows of reality. However, what is reality if not taken a few steps towards achieving the impossible? Today, I stand not only as a beautician in a parlour, but as the author of my story. Freedom flows through my veins, each step forward a testament to resilience and ambition.
Between the strokes of life’s demands, I carve out moments to read, to escape into the world of words and possibilities. As I turn the pages of knowledge, I sense the college campus that once eluded me. With each page turned, a part of me steps through those gates, relishing the learning I once yearned for.
Manzil’s influence continues to shape my journey, a reminder that being a girl does not define my limits. Through determination, I’ve defied expectations, reimagining the path that lay before me. Today, as I save diligently, I envision a future where college doors swing open, and my presence within those halls becomes a reality.
My story is one of evolution, of overcoming, and of the indomitable spirit that fuels every dream. As my journey unfolds, I realise that dreams are not mere aspirations; they are the threads that weave the joys of life, coloring them with purpose and creating a story solely of one’s own.
(Nirma has been trained in beauty & wellness under Project Manzil in Bhilwara, Rajasthan. The project aims to provide counselling and employability skills training in IT, healthcare, beauty & wellness, security, retail, automobile, apparel, home furnishing, agriculture, tourism & hospitality, and electrical & electronics to young girls in Rajasthan.)