Being a 90s kid was way different than being a kid of today; I mean when I see my 4-year old niece, I feel like how the definition of fun and games have evolved and changed over the years for kids – we used to be the ones playing in the mud, climbing trees, fighting for our turns on the swings – but now empty swings are swaying with the wind and desperately seeking the butts of children!! Apart from all this, one thing that I really loved as being a 90s kind was our low dependency on technology, especially when it comes to knowledge and learning. We knew the importance of going to school, college – no! not for attendance alone – but because we knew the value of class lectures and notes. Now being an assistant professor myself, I feel that the value (as well the respect) of teachers have somehow diminished in the eyes of the students. The only thing they care for in their class is the attendance and not the notes/lectures – after all, much more information is available on the internet with learning apps like Unacademy, ByJu’s etc. So naturally, why will the fun-loving/seeking kids give importance to an older person blabbering constantly for 45 minutes, with occasional display of anger??!!

Because of this analogy actually, I have sat in front of my laptop today (bored and home quarantined after a flight!) to pen down something I have been experiencing over some period of time, especially over the last 1 year. There comes one point in each of our lives (maybe every week or every year or even everyday in some cases!!) when we pose this question in the title to ourselves. If I am to write it from my own experience, I would say I ask this question to myself every other day. I have been raised in an affluent family of Guwahati and by God’s grace, I have never seen the dearth of anything in life – from being educated in a convent to moving to Miranda House, Delhi University for UG – I had excelled in my academics according to my capabilities. Without any break in my academic career, I completed my M.Sc. and PhD (in 4 and a half years) from educational institutions which I had always dreamt to be a part of. And I am very very thankful to my Creator and my family for being there all along.

Not only that, despite being away from home for 11 years, I have tried my best to maintain myself in a way that no one in the world can raise a finger on me and my family or question my upbringing in any way. However, in spite of having all these accolades with my name and personal satisfaction of achievement, why do I ask myself over and over again “Am I not good enough?” Why is it that I am not able to find a job where I can be happy and enthusiastic everyday? Am I less qualified in any way or my grades not good enough to earn me a job in a place like Delhi, Mumbai or Bangalore?

By the blessings of The Almighty, I do have a job – where I am trying hard every day to create a niche for myself and work with a male colleague (having linguistic and professional advantage over me), I am constantly bombarded with the same question over and over again by my inner self – “Am I as good enough as him?” Is being a simple, trusting, easy-going person going against me in some way?

As I was growing up, my late father and my mother used to teach and preach that me and my sister should never think of ourselves as inferiors in any way – we should learn and train ourselves to lead a life independently, both emotionally and financially. But mow as the years have passed and I am independent in both the sectors, I am forced to reconsider my education, my qualification, my ability to raise my voice in the crowd and my views on women empowerment as “not being good enough” to find a suitable life partner!! There are times when I seriously feel that I got “too much educated and empowered” – if I had been a graduate or Masters alone – my educational qualification (as well as my age!) would have probably worked in my favor and helped me to find a suitable match for myself. At the tender age of 18, my late father had warned us against having “relationships” – something that I had followed as religiously as “Pathhar pe lakir!” And now at the age of 29, my widowed and 60+ aged mother tells me 2 things:

  1. You shouldn’t have studied so much (Really??!!!)
  2. Why can’t you find a match for yourself – so many of you friends have got married themselves – what is holding you back?

I feel that this situation of “self questioning” is not my plight alone – there are many educated girls out there like me who are struggling to find suitable jobs, perfect life partners – and who like me, had always considered that “age is just a number” but are reminded again and again by the society that it is not! People may argue that “No one can make you feel less about yourself unless you feel the same” – but a lot times, we, even strong women, weaken when we see our families struggling and suffering for and because of us!

Our society never fails to amaze me with its hypocritical nature – but what pains me is that because of this society, I and many girls of my age are starting to question our own qualities/blessings/qualifications and have started introspecting with a simple question, “Am I not good enough??!!”

Dr. Ishani Chakrabartty
HOD
Department of Science
PAFGC, Mangalore University


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