Finding a fitting adjective to encapsulate Asha’s (name changed) spirit is a tough ask. But one that stands out is ‘fighter’. And she has had to fight. Her parents; her partners; her teachers; the world at large; but most of all, the invisible scars all of them left her with. Guns ablazing, she fought it all off as best she could; to clear what she saw as the path away from her past, but more importantly, towards the future she wanted to build for herself.
Asha grew up in rural eastern UP. Domestic violence was the norm for women. She frequently walked into bloody fights between her parents; her mother bearing the damage inflicted. Her parents were both successful doctors; probably the most well-educated people in their town. She expected better from them. She didn’t know yet, but she would suffer the same brutality in her relationships.
Asha also identifies as a lesbian, which, rather unfortunately, is yet to become an acceptable identity in India. Through her boarding school years in Delhi, she had multiple partners who remained closeted while in a relationship with her. She suffered frequent physical and emotional abuse at their hands, while constantly under threat to be outed if she broke up with them.
Through all the adversity, Asha had one goal in mind; to study hard and do well in school, so that she could gain admission to a good university in the USA. She believed that a good education was her route to liberty, and her focus and resolve never wavered. Today, she is finishing up her law degree at one of the most reputed US universities; paying her own way with a much deserved scholarship, which recognizes her talent and abilities as much as her struggles, and personal loans, which she considers an investment in her future.
The invisible scars? Three years of therapy have made them hurt less and less. Three beautiful dogs heal them faster with each passing day.