A barrier-breaking generation gives context to contemporary female life.

Monday, July 2, 2012

A Girl from Delhi in Ghirardelli Square

courtesy: Chronicles of a Valley Girl

As a "pioneer" in an earlier generation, I identify with my young friend from India. She is an engineering student at Princeton University, the first of her extended family to study abroad and a female at that! What a fuss the Aunties made at home, she told me, criticizing her parents for allowing her, an unmarried girl, to live and study beyond their reach and protection.

There are still many barriers to break, pioneering to be done by women globally. My friend recently felt her liberation, of personhood and thought, most keenly in SF's Ghirardelli Square. Her post is illuminating -- about her journey and ours.

On the SF visit, my friends were kind of annoyed at my constant nagging to go to Ghirardelli Square to eat ice cream (though they did a good job of trying to hide it!). Still, visiting Ghirardelli for me was more than just tasting their wonderful desserts. The last time I visited Ghirardelli Square and stayed around for a while was in 2008 with family. 2008 was a different life. It was my first visit to the US and I was struck first and foremost by how self reliant people here seemed. Of course, I now know that it is more of a necessity. The US seems to force you to be self reliant, in a way in which I was never forced before. Growing up in Delhi, I was very protected and sheltered. Of course, a lot of it had to do with age and the level of safety a city like Delhi accorded me - but coming to the US, I felt it gave me the means to be completely free, make my own decisions, my own mistakes and really understand myself.
I mentioned this to my parents and others around me when we visited, and most people laughed it off. Like many other things I said on the trip, this too was considered a whim, a teenager’s fantasy and phase that I would soon grow out of.
“Things are different in the real world. Don’t try and be TOO independent. It’s not a good attitude, especially for girls…”

Full blog post at Chronicles of a Valley Girl

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