Prachi Thakur– In my childhood town in Bihar, it was customary for girls my age to be married off immediately after completing Class 10. Fathers were expected to set aside money for dowries. Life was sometimes challenging; we lived in a makeshift house. My father repaired gas stoves to make ends meet, ensuring I continued my studies despite low finances.
While my family supported my dreams, I faced another challenge – relatives. They attempted to discourage my father, telling him he was wasting money on my education and advising him to marry me off. However, my dad became my shield against these taunts and pressure. That’s how I grew up, sheltered from external judgments.
But there was a time when I didn’t fully appreciate this unique upbringing. In school, I remember writing, “Bauji (father) is a businessman, and Amma (mother) is a tailor.” I feared potential bullying if my friends discovered my father ran a modest betel leaf stall.
I repeatedly asked my father why he couldn’t be like other parents who worked in offices and wore neatly ironed shirts. His response always echoed the same sentiment: “Money isn’t everything in life.” Back then, I couldn’t grasp the wisdom behind his words.
With time, I came to understand the profound value of his guidance. I realized that, though I may not have possessed as much material wealth as some of my peers, I had something even more precious – a father who passionately believed in and nurtured my dreams.
Today, I am grateful to my father as a Ph.D. graduate from IIT Roorkee, a World Women’s Tourism diversity strategist, and a TEDx speaker. He supported and accompanied me, nurturing my stage confidence and defying societal pressure on reserved girls.
My journey, filled with lemonades made from life’s lemons, is a testament to my father’s unwavering commitment. They say, “It takes a village to raise a child.” While I may not know about villages, it takes a strong family.
Let us salute fathers who steadfastly protect their daughters from the fiery dragons of customs, traditions, and rules that could otherwise have extinguished their dreams.
As narrated by Prachi Thakur.
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