I am 26 and I am currently pursuing a professional degree course in Punjab. Everything in my life was pretty much sorted and simple, until something that happened changed how I was looked at in college. I was in my second year, it was Christmas time and everyone in the hostel was going back home. Stuck between assignments, deadlines and other work, I couldn’t go home and was feeling terribly homesick. So my friend and I decided to enjoy ourselves on Christmas eve and went to the only pub in the city. We had a few drinks, danced like crazy and enjoyed to the fullest, freeing ourselves of all the stress. It was way past the curfew time and we hadn’t informed anyone that we were coming late.
We tried sneaking into the hostel but the guard caught us and called the warden. We apologized to her since we had broken a rule. The usual curfew time was 8 pm and on weekends it was around 9 pm. We were late, very late. So instead of arguing, we decided to give in and apologized multiple times till the warden finally gave up and let us in.We thought that was it, but clearly, the warden wasn’t over it. She complained to my professor in college and the matter went way out of control. The professor, also a woman, called me to her room and accused me of so many things that were just uncalled for. All of which were untrue and were just to attack my character. The professor started off with statements like, ‘I heard you had consumed alcohol the night you came back at 12 am… Is this true?’ and ‘The warden also told me that she saw you with a guy who dropped you to the hostel after a late night show’. I mean, really! I was beginning to get irritated and was clenching my fist but she wasn’t done.‘If you continue with this you will never get married into a decent family and people will question your character. You should maintain a clean image and your night time activities will scar your image, forever’. I really wasn’t expecting horrible accusations like these for defying the curfew ONCE! How could they question my character for something as petty as this? It was too much and I was furious. I have a boyfriend and I watched a movie with him; I had a few drinks and got home a little late, so what? My professor judged my character without knowing anything about me. In fact, my parents knew all about my life and they were okay with it.
I was about to give it back to her when I realized I still had a year and a half to pass. So, I swallowed my pride for a better day. I kept quiet and didn’t give any further explanations. The last thing I wanted to do was to provide her fodder for gossip. But this incident made me realise that we talk so much about women’s equality and women’s rights. We constantly ask men to change their attitude towards women in the country rather than asking the women to change their mindset. How can we expect the men to do so, when so many of our own kind still don’t believe that we are equal? Women need to help women grow into stronger individuals. We need to lift each other up instead of bringing each other down because the change begins with us.Images: ShutterstockHave a story you’d like to share? Just drop us an email here with your story – don’t forget to put #MyStory in the subject line. We’ll get back to you about whether we can feature it.