January 20, 2012

My dreams are bigger than my city

'My dreams are bigger than my city', this is what the lead actress Priyanka Chopra said in an Indian movie Fashion, when she was moving from a small town to the big bad city of Mumbai. Earlier it used to be only the men who went to bigger towns but today millions of Indian women travel from small villages to big cities chasing their dream. It is no longer an era of only ‘Raju ban gaya gentleman’, even the Rani today aspires for a transformation and moving to a bigger city gives her that chance.  In my earlier job, I worked for a mass market skin lightening brand targeted to today’s Indian women. So I got a chance to meet many of these women who had the determination to take charge of their own destiny. One who particularly stands out is this young girl Pooja, who came from a small village to Hyderabad to learn graphic designing and in the evening’s she worked in a call center to earn a survival. She was the first girl in her family to have gone out of her small town all by herself, so she faced a lot of opposition initially. But she didn’t let that stop her. Her dream was to open an advertising agency. She didn’t know what it takes and how will she open an agency but was confident that she will find the ‘how’ along the way. Pooja represents the spirit & the zest of Indian women today.

Upward mobility in India has been written and discussed many times but what does it really mean for women. Surely times have changed but even today when a woman leaves home to step into this world to prove something, it isn’t easy. This is probably her only chance to make it happen, the only opportunity to change her life story. Therefore her stakes are higher and the growing competition only worsens the situation because the reality is she is not the only one. Today there are many more who have also come with a similar hope to the same place where she is today. But this doesn’t stop her. She looks upto ‘Ashwariya Rai, Kalpana Chawla, Indra Nooyi, Bipasha Basu, Barkha Dutt, all those women who came from ordinary families and backgrounds but made their dreams into reality and her dream into a possibility. Big cities are much tougher than shown in Indian television or movies. Here transportation, accommodation, jobs, expenses everything is a battleground so she falls & breaks apart multiple times, many get lost in the crowd but then there are some who rise up, who become successful and become the inspiration for another million to leave their small towns.

This is why Rani Mukherjee in the movie ‘Bunty aur bably’ was even ready to be a thief just so that she can get funds enough to reach Mumbai where she could fulfill her dreams to participate in Miss India contest. And in the movie Fashion, she compromises on her value system to be a super model. These are of course exaggerated situations but still an honest reflection of the insecurities and fear these women face. Loosing isn’t a real option as they believe they belong not where they come from but where want to reach. So she will settle only if it promises to be a step up. Thousands of girls participate in Indian Idol and many other reality shows every year as it gives them a platform to transcend their life from being just talented to being an ‘Idol’. These are the women who will bridge the gap between the two India’s.

If my thoughts trigger a thought of your own, do a leave a comment. I love reading your comments.


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Micky Fernandez said...

I am not certain that the following examples would be perfect fit to your topic, but if you want examples of females in Indian films who have overcome odds, I always think of Rekha in "Khoon Bhari Maang" and Madhoo in "Roja". Those actresses have always impressed me with their strong performances.

Ekta said...

@ Micky, Thanks for sharing these examples. With the examples i have used, I want to make a point on women who moved from villages or smaller towns to bigger cities to chase their dreams and ambitions.
Thanks for sharing.

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