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Anita Tejwani

Updated: May 25, 2021

Author, Poet, Businesswoman

"I had just finished my 12th Grade and like every other classmate of mine, I too wished to go to a bigger city to pursue my college dreams. Coming from a small town in Kutch, I knew my parents weren’t ready just yet to let me be away from them. They have always loved me dearly - which also came to me as being overprotective of me.

I was devastated when my mom said, “Get ready, we need to go to the college for your admission”. This was the only college in the city that provided higher studies for Science students in the city and there was no other option.

I did not wish to study there, I wanted to leave that small town and go somewhere I could dream bigger and discover who I was, but that surely wasn’t happening. I was angry, I was rude and I was always in a mood to fight. There was this rising rage inside me, but I did understand that I need to channelize all this energy into doing something good but all I needed was some empathy. For someone to understand and acknowledge my feelings. My thoughts did not have words, instead, they had emotions.

I finally got ready with a grumpy face and on the way to the college, my mom hugged me and said, “Don’t worry, you’ll be fine here. After college maybe you can go to some other city where you can chase your dreams of being a big person”, and I asked her, “Do you think I can become a big person someday?”, to which she responded calmly and with a smile, “If you can dream it, you can be it”. Something changed, I was silent on my way to college.

This silence made me think, was THIS is all I needed? For someone to have faith in me? I wanted to say this out loud to myself and my mother did that for me. Our will to dream and believe need wings to fly. Is this the push we keep searching for?

These thoughts persisted and would not leave my mind, and when I reached the admission counter, I found myself saying, “Give me 2 forms please”.The man at the counter looked up to make sure he had heard me correctly.

Silently, I walked up to my mom and handed the second form. “You should study. I know you have always been great at studies and you should continue them.” I said. She laughed and said, “it’s your time to dream bigger, not mine”

“But you did dream of being a graduate 20 years ago, right? Someone said to me, If you can dream it, you can be it.”

We reached home to tell my father and he did try to reason it with “who will handle the house responsibilities” and this time, I was able to channelise my anger into fighting for my mother’s dreams, not mine. All that build-up was to be able to have dreams, unconquered dreams, to be able to have a choice!

The best thing happened 3 years later, when mom and I graduated together from college and became India’s only mother and daughter to graduate together, and it was a National Record with India Book of Records.

Life does give us what we want, we need to be able to see it, reach for it and live it. I am a successful entrepreneur today, a poet, an author, and a businesswoman, but more on that later! ;)

Interviewed and transcribed by Maryam Syed


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