She had carefully packed all her things. tomorrow was a big day for her. She wanted to sleep early as she had to wake up at 4 am but anxiety took over sleep. At 4 am, she was all set to leave home to start a new journey. She hugged her mom tightly and left for bus stop. She had to walk 2-3 kms through snow laden roads, to reach the bus stop. The bus was full of men, mostly unknown faces. She was scared. But she had to come out of her comfort zone. The bus started moving. The comfort of chilly wind with which she has grown up made her sleep.
"I'll send you to the big city"
"but dad, I don't want to go away from you"
"there are no good schools here. I want you to get the best education so that you can become the best version of yourself"
"no! I don't want to go away from you" she hugged her dad tightly
"good night princess"
"good night dad"
She was awaken by a sudden jolt. She used to see this dream every now and then. Her eyes were wet. That was the last conversation she had with her dad. He succumbed to heart failure that night.
Things had changed after that. Her mom was so drowned in shock that she stopped responding to anything. Suddenly that 10 years old girl had to be the 'elder one' of the family and take care of her mother and little brother. She started managing apple orchards along with her grandmother, to earn money. They used to work hard but couldn't earn enough to have a good lifestyle. After the death of her dad, they were thrown out of their ancestral home. They had to live in a dimly lit room at the orchards.
Her dream of going to an 'English medium' school died with her dad. She had to settle for local school, so that she could save money for her brother's education.
As the time passed her mom got better, so did the conditions of her home. Meanwhile, she had developed skills in volleyball and had played national level matches. But the fact that she was not fluent in English, dropped her confidence. She was stereotyped as a 'villager' who was wet behind the ears , just because she couldn't speak the elite language. But that didn't stop her from dreaming big. Maybe she was the epitome of "empowered woman"
The bus had arrived in the big city. As she steps down, she feels closer to her goal. Her goal of becoming an army officer.
"you have an unusual name, what does that mean? I asked
" the one who brings glory " she replied.