Being a woman is difficult in every country and every society. It comes with its own set of expectations and rules. Every woman has her own challenges to face and her own path to follow. But when we share our experiences, somehow we stop feeling alone in our journey. We feel motivated to fight out our battles with renewed vigour. And it takes a brave person to share these experiences in public. To stand up and say, ‘Yes, I have had my struggles, but I am doing the best I can to overcome them.‘
Untold Nightmare is one such book by Priya Garg. Soon to be released, this book talks about a woman’s journey through life as a little girl, a young woman in love and finally a free spirit, in the form of diary entries as and when life happens to her.
Moved by her story, we spoke to Priya Garg who became a life coach after struggling through life, to ensure help to others facing a similar or an equally difficult journey. In the book, she touches upon some instances that almost every little girl and every woman faces in Indian culture – the trauma of the all important ‘log kya kahenge‘ (what will people say).
Swapna: Untold Nightmare is your journey as a girl in Indian society. It really highlights the problems almost every girl faces in our society today. Can you elaborate a bit on
what the story is about?
Priya: Untold Nightmare is an empowering transformation of a docile and submissive girl to an independent woman. It comprises all the fears, apprehensions and nightmares that she has due to circumstances going on in her life, which she pens down in her favourite diary. It shows her close bond with the night and the dairy which helped through her extraordinary journey of unleashing her from the chains of the society, family, friends and the people who want to
pull her back. It is a story of a girl who doesn’t wait for a superhero but makes her own wings to fly high in the sky.
Swapna: You have really captured the issue of child sexual abuse and how the child herself feels when molested. What is your advice on how to prepare the young girls for such an unfortunate situation, keeping in mind that almost all of us have faced molestation by known or unknown people at some point during our childhood?
Priya: As per me, we can’t identify the molester by his face. But we can prepare our girls to deal with such situations. Nowadays, it is very important to teach our girls about good touch and bad touch, but that is not enough. The most important factor for a child is to have confidence or trust in her parents. It has been observed many times that parents just ignore many incidences reported by their child, especially if the offender is a family member or close family friend considering that he is just her cousin or a well-wisher etc. But in reality, we never know when that well-wisher turns into a monster. In most of the cases, our own known people are the ones who molest our children. As parents, we should have that sort of relationship with our kids, where they can share their issues with us, and we should inculcate the habit of sharing information in our children, to know what they have done through out the day, so that if anyone tries to take advantage of their innocence, we can sense what is happening.
Swapna: I believe half of our problems as women arise out of fear. How do you suggest getting rid of it? As a life coach, how do you tell people to face and fight their demons?
Priya: I completely agree that most of our problems arise because of fear. It could be fear of judgement, fear of rejection, fear of failure, fear of unknown or fear of losing somebody. Due to these fears, we always hang back. I think it is important to have friends you can share with. When we talk our hearts out with someone, be it a close friend or sometimes even a stranger, most of the times we get better clarity or answers to the questions bothering us. Like in my childhood and in my married life, I have faced many ups and downs. I wanted to share my fears with someone, but due to the culture of not sharing or expressing our thoughts in my family, it took me a lot of time to overcome these problems and find a solution for myself. But once I started sharing my thoughts and feeling with my friends or my mentor, I started getting clarity on what I want from my life and that really helped me get rid of my fears. I have tried to address this issue for all the women out there through my book.
Swapna: There is always a breaking point. Everyone has that moment when they say, ‘I will not take this anymore.’ When did you have that moment?
Priya: Since I have evolved through my experiences of multiple breaking points, I can say now that these breaking points are always meant for our growth. It is just that we need to shift our perspective of looking at these breaking points. I know that we cannot think of the positive side of any situation while facing it, but you can try to keep your calm during those breaking points and believe that God has better plans for you and just sail through. Later on you will find yourself in a better position than before and then you will realize why God gave you that breaking point. The book will take the readers through my breaking points and my journey to understand this point better.
Swapna: How do you deal with being independent and strong minded in a surrounding environment which feels women should be submissive and should not have a say? I ask this for women who want to come out of abusive relationships but unable to do so because they would be blamed for it and no one would really stand up to support
Priya: To start with, it is a journey in itself to become independent and strong minded. Since we are always conditioned to think of others before ourselves, and somehow feel a little less than the men around us. It is impossible to change overnight for anyone. There are always small incidences that you face and let go, till the point which triggers that change. I had that point towards the end of my book, you will see. I think it is very important to know or identify what you want from your life. Focus on yourself and find out who you are as a person and what is your importance in the universe. Also, we really need to stop excusing the behaviour of the abusive person. It is actually a very common thing to do. If your husband slaps you one time, we are conditioned to make excuses such as he must have had a tough day or something like that. Even if we don’s think like that, there will always be someone around to make these excuses. We need to stop that and learn our self worth first.
Swapna: How important is it to be financially independent before you consider divorce?As a single parent yourself, what would you suggest women do to handle such a situation?
Priya: I would say financially independence is very important, especially when you are considering a divorce. But it depends on the kind of person you are. For me, my mental peace and happiness was much more important. If I am happy and I know what exactly I want from myself and my life, I would be able to deal with my finances. Simple as that. A good state of mind for taking care of your finances is important. You can see through the opportunities and work on your finances anytime. But what is important is your happiness and self respect first.
*All images used in this article are either Eyra’s own design or widely and freely available on the internet.*