top of page

"Dress to Kill: Embracing Confidence and Resilience in the Face of Adversity"

Growing up in my household, I was fortunate to witness a different dynamic than what society often portrayed. My mother and father were equal partners in both financial matters and decision-making, breaking away from traditional gender roles. My dad actively participated in childcare and household chores, always supporting my endeavors, whether they were sports, games, or even a bit of mischief, provided I had my studies in order. He consistently encouraged my mom to excel in her career, even helping her achieve her post-doctoral fellowship. In our home, gender bias and patriarchy were unfamiliar concepts, and my ideal world seemed untouched by these issues.

However, my perspective started to blur when I encountered my first taste of gender bias on the first day of college. As the only female student in the mechanical engineering department, a female professor questioned my choice with skepticism: "Are you sure you want to take this course?" Even one of the lab technicians discreetly advised me to reconsider, citing a previous female student who had become pregnant and discontinued her studies midway. To this day, I have yet to identify that student or confirm whether such an incident ever occurred. Throughout my four years in college, I endured the disapproving stares and sneers of classmates who made it clear that they preferred an all-boys group. I was met with hostility and exclusion.

Navigating a world dominated by 160+ boys when you're one of only two girls in a single building is far from a walk in the park. I discovered the art of independent studying, submitting assignments, and bracing myself for surprise tests while my peers from other departments engaged in group study sessions. My breaks between classes often left me in solitude, but I gradually found solace in the simple pleasure of being alone. This newfound sense of self-reliance extended to traveling solo and meticulously managing my schedule, as there was no one to lean on.

Over time, I forged a few friendships that hold a special place in my heart even today. These friends were unafraid of defying societal norms that demanded conformity to the "normal." In the eyes of my batchmates, I may have been considered "not normal," but I learned the value of authenticity and the strength that comes from charting my own unique path.

It took four long years and some lonely days, but eventually, my classmates began to accept me as one of their own. However, even in our final year during an All India tour, I faced heartbreak when a close friend suggested that I not join them to ensure their privacy and enjoyment. I distanced myself, as I had done for the previous three years, not wanting to "disturb" them. It was then that I truly grasped the challenges of being a female in a predominantly male world. Nevertheless, I held my head high, displaying my strong-willed persona, despite the hurtful exclusion. Eventually, I passed from my department to a prestigious institution for Masters, and very few as my true friends

Those four years taught me valuable lessons in strength, self-love, and resilience. I learned that I could be anything I wanted, regardless of societal pressures, and I should be my own biggest supporter, even when others doubt me.

Now, when adversity rears its head, I draw upon those experiences as a source of strength. I remind myself that I've conquered even bigger challenges and faced larger numbers. So when adversities come knocking, I adopt a simple mantra: "Dress to kill," maintaining my unyielding demeanor, and preparing for whatever battles lie ahead.

37 views0 comments


bottom of page