Celebrating Myself

When I was a kid, hot solitary afternoons perched on top of our mango tree watching ants was the ideal environment to come up with wonderful ideas. It was on one such afternoon that I decided to start a religion. It was to be called…ahem…Anithism, and of course, the followers would be called Anithists. Imagine, the power to define festivals and declare holidays!

I was a sculptor one day, chipping away at a mossy stone to unveil the beautiful face I saw within. The next day, I was busy working on creating my own language which I called Manjiri. Then I was a teacher, whipping the poor rose bushes into submission, praising and rebuking all in the same breath. I sang my own songs to the guava trees, and not too impressed, they yielded small, hard and bitter fruits that I nibbled on as I thought up lyrics for my next composition. I fancied myself a designer the next day, sketching flouncy dresses and sleek tunics with flair and panache. And that very afternoon, I posed in front of the mirror, sari draped gracefully, shyly turning away from the camera, dramatic tears filling my eyes on cue.

What I celebrate today are those very dreams. No one took those dreams away from me. No one crushed those tender, precious dreams under the brutal boot of gender. I was a girl — and I could be whatever I dreamed of. There were mountains to be climbed and rivers to be crossed, monsters to be slain and demons to be vanquished, but that pot of gold at the end of the rainbow could indeed be mine.

Those dreams live on in the little moments that make up my life, brightening every possibility with their rainbow colours. Those dreams deserve celebration!

I still dream, for as someone wrote in my autograph book a long time ago:

…if dreams die, life is like a broken-winged bird that cannot fly.

And as I write this, my little daughter lies in bed, her eyes closed in deep slumber, her breathing as regular as the waves of the sea. I hope she is dreaming too.

This is my entry for the Celebrating Myself contest held by Women’s Web.

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