Where I am from
I was born on 3rd April 1979. In a small birth clinic close to where my parents lived. what I know about my birth is that I was a forceps baby. And that I did not cry when I was born. The Dr had to turn me upside down and spank me. That’s how I took my first breath.
What I think about this today. I think I wasn’t ready to get out. may I felt my mothers fear that she was giving birth to a girl again.
I wasn’t ready to take my first breath, I didn’t feel free to breathe. may be just like my mom.
I was told that my dad was disappointed at my birth and didn’t want to take me home. He wanted a boy.
They use to joke about this when I was a kid and say the dr wanted to adopt me because he really wanted a girl. I was also named by this dr he said to my mom Sangeeta is born when he got me out with the forceps because he also was the dr who help my mom give birth to my sister who is called Kavita. The name stayed. even though my parents also named me Kalpana. They always called me sangeeta.
My father's boy
he was a very aggressive man. And somehow I had taken on the role of not disappointing him. I believed if I kept him happy he would be calm and things wouldn’t escalate and my mom, sister and I would be safe.
So at a very early age I decided to become the boy he wished for.
I was born in Bombay and I spoke Hindi with my father. And Hindi has grammatical gender. I talked like a boy, pretended to be his boy and I think this entertained him. Even the boys in my lane accepted me as one of them.
I could do things my older sister was never allowed. I could talk to boys. play with them. Stay out of home after 7 pm.
Play in the sun which no girls did back then because their skin would get darker.
And dark skinned girls were not cherished then.
So I grew up navigating society with strategies that worked for me back then.
At home I was a boy. In my lane with my friends I was was one of the boys. As a girl I was awkward. Didn’t fit in with the other girls. I felt uncomfortable in my body. Didn’t consider myself beautiful. couldn’t deal with being feminine.
This went on for most of my adult life too.
Who I am
Yoga and a lot of self enquiry have helped in changing many of the toxic narratives I had about myself.
Giving birth to my children has also been a transformative journey.
Lot has changed. My body. Me.
I am learning to take up space as a woman with dark skin.
In the shape I am in today.
I am giving all the love the little girl who felt unwanted, invisible.
I am keeping the brave survival skills they developed.
And I give space to her and them because it shaped who I am today.