“To all those Indian girls out there, have you ever felt that you should have been born as a boy and not a girl? I bet you would have thought about it at least once in your lifetime.”
I‘m Riya, an 18 year old fashion design student studying in Bangalore, born and brought up in Tamil Nadu.
When I walked through the corridors of the campus after my new haircut, most of my friends didn’t recognize me. And when I stopped them and said hi, they stood there for a moment trying to process why a random guy said hi to them. And then the realization happened. Some of them cried out in shock at the loss of my long beautiful hair, the others complimented that the boy cut suited my character and that it was cool and a few others told me that they got a boyfriend to pose for their pictures. But after that though, they all ended up asking the same question “But why did you cut your hair?” And I said, “Um, it’s for my basketball practice, you know it’s just easier to maintain short hair when you become sweaty and have to wash your hair every single day.” Yes indeed, that was one of the important reasons I cut my hair, but that wasn’t the only reason.
I’ve always wanted to be born as a boy. The times, when my Mom told me to stay home but allowed my brother to hang out with his friends at night, when my Dad shifted me to a girls school for my higher secondary but let my brother study in my previous school, when some cheap guys scanned my body from head to toe as I was walking down the street, when I heard those disgusting rape news on TV, and so many other times, I hated myself for not being born as a boy, I got so frustrated about not having the freedom my brother always had and about the insecurities in a girl’s life.
So…I cut my hair. I started wearing shirts and trousers instead of skirts and kurtis. I did not have a very curvy silhouette, and so being quite taller than most girls, with my boy cut and shirts on I almost resembled a guy. You may be wondering how a haircut can influence somebody but you will be surprised because I felt more confident and strong. I didn’t feel like impressing anyone with my looks, I was able to do what I thought were right and I felt happy. After my haircut, I didn’t get much looks from the guys, because most of them didn’t notice that I was a girl. But a lot of my girlfriends would click pictures with me and post it with the caption “#Best Boyfriend Forever“. It was actually quite fun. Things went on like this for a few days.
One day, I went shopping with my friends to the Mall. I got some clothes to try on and headed towards the trial room when a sales person stopped me and told that the Men’s trial room was on the other side of the floor. I laughed at her and told her that I was a girl. After hearing my voice, she was embarrassed and laughed it off. When the shopping was done, we had lunch and spent some time roaming around. Then we took the bus to go back to college. The bus started becoming crowded on the way and as a result we were getting pushed to the middle of the bus where the men were standing. The conductor was making his way to the back of the bus. He walked slowly and carefully through the ladies section and when he made his way through; he brushed past my shoulders roughly and went off into the crowd of men. I got super pissed and raised my hand to shout at him when I realized that he had done that because he thought I was a guy. I felt something that day. I felt sad for guys, for the harsh ways they get treated by the society which has made them believe that they were strong individuals. I also felt respect for them. I realized the beauty of being born as a girl.
When I reached the hostel, I went to my room, had a shower and wore a Kurta. I searched in my drawers for my earing box and took out the pair of jhumkas that matched the color of my dress, placed a small black bindhi between my brows, took the eyeliner and drew a fine line just above my lashes, smoothened my lips with a watermelon flavored lip balm, tied my watch on the left wrist and put on some bangles on my right, looked at myself in the mirror and smiled. I walked to the nearest temple, closed my eyes and said “Thanks”, I opened my eyes, drew a short line of ash across my forehead right above my bindhi and smiled again. I felt happy to have been born as a girl.