Caught in the Paradox of Growing Up


Author – Arunima Arun

Image – Flickr/Rakesh JV

Whenever I cavorted in mirth to serendipities gifted by strangers, my mother used to scold me to grow up and realise the world.

Whenever I asked to clear my doubt on advertisements of sanitary napkins and its use, my elder sister used to scold me to grow up and understand by my own.

When I opposed my neighbour for touching my thighs, he told me to grow up and understand the change.

When I got frequently cheated by my sycophantic friends, my companion used to scold me to grow up and understand people.

When I asked my teacher about the concept of contraception, she asked me to grow up and learn sensibility.

When I screamed seeing muliebral specks of puberty on my skirt, my aunt scolded me to grow up and understand my body.

When I fell in love with my best friend, and confessed to him, he scolded me to grow up and understand the value of friendship.

When I found my soul mate and introduced him to my family, my father scolded me to grow up and to be more selective.

When I asked him to breakup and forget, he scolded me to grow up and understand others’ feelings.

When I agreed to marry the person arranged by my family, my friend scolded me to grow up and to learn to make my own decisions.

When I became pregnant and informed him, he scolded to me to grow up and abort the child.

When I found him to be a sadist and questioned him, he scolded me to grow up and quit from his life.

When I gave birth to a girl child and pampered her, my husband scolded me to grow up and abandon my child.

When I threatened him for ogling my child, he scolded me to grow up and accept my fate.

When I hit him with a hammer for molesting my child, nobody scolded me to grow up and understand my fault.

While spending years in imprisonment, I talked to walls to drive away lunacy. My cell mates never asked me to grow up. After I was released from prison, neither my family, nor my society asked me to grow up. When I set up a woman’s cell to help deprived and molested women, nobody asked me to grow up.

When my venture soared as an organisation of woman empowerment, nobody asked me to grow up, because I had been growing from the moment I was asked to grow up and understand.

No one from my mother to my husband ever found me sensible. Actually they should have grown up to know the dos and don’ts. Nobody corrected me, nor did I correct them. I was growing up from the moment I understood that the people around me were not. Growing up is not an age-based criterion, it’s all about sanity and sensibility to understand masked people who pretend that they have grown much.

Even after attaining puberty, they never wanted to call me an adult or a child.

When I enjoyed myself and amused others with my childish pranks, nobody was rapt in my enjoyment; rather they warned me that I’m no more a child.

When I acted serious, and opined in major decisions and discussions, they frowned at me saying it’s not child’s play and asked me to clear-off from the discussion table.

In the middle of the dilemma to decide whether I am a child or an adult, I lost a crazy ride from my childhood to adulthood.

I’ve grown or not? This was more tricky than any maths problem in academics.

In fact, when I understood that I was already grown in the middle of a ‘society not grown’, that was the moment I felt like an adult.

This story submitted as part of our Short Story Contest

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