I Can10 mins 279 10 mins 279
Akanksha stopped her car when she reached her village. She came out of the car and noticed that many things had changed. Concrete roads were built. The number of shops had increased. As she walked through the streets she noticed that two new schools had been opened. Finally she reached her home. Her home had completely changed. The terrace took the place of roof. She saw two children running and playing on the terrace. She understood that they were her brother's children. As she was going to enter the house she heard wedding songs which were being sung in the neighborhood. She thought that her mother will be there. So she entered the lawn of neighbour's house. And what she saw brought all the haunting memories of the past back. She ran from there and sat in her car. Her mind went 15 years back.
Akanksha was 14 and was living in a joint family in a small town. At that time there was only one school in her town. She was the topper of that school. All the teachers were impressed by her. But her family didn't like the fact that she scored more than her brother. Now and then her brother will get scolded for not getting more marks than her. She was very smart in understanding each and every topic. She was also good at sports. When she had just turned 14 her family had kept a pooja at their house. A renowned spiritual lady was also called as guest. She was a spiritual speaker and also owned an NGO. Her name was Asha Devi. She was educated and well learnt lady. She was abandoned by her family when her husband had died. At that time she started living at a temple with Rishis and learnt about the life. Initially society did not accept her but at last when people recognised her virtuous and kind side they accepted her and also started respecting her as a great saint had appreciated her. She used to run NGO for women like her who were abandoned by their family. When she was going back after the pooja was over she noticed a wedding ceremony taking place in the town. She noticed a girl who was approximately 12 or 13 years old was getting married. Asha Devi was shocked after watching that incident. She requested the village Sarpanch to stop it. Instead of obeying her he joined his hands and told her that we respect you a lot but please don't interfere in our personal matters or our rituals. You live a monastic life so please don't give advice to householders. Asha Devi was taken aback. She told some little girls who were standing there that if ever they feel that something wrong is being done to them all they need to do is to reach the nearby NGO which is being operated by her. She will take care of everything else. Akanksha was also in group of that girls. The village Sarpanch was irritated by her advice. He requested her to immediately go from there.
Few days passed. It was a sunny day. Akanksha's result had come and once again she had topped in her school. She entered her home excitedly to deliver the news. When she entered her house she saw that all her family members had adorned new clothes and all of them looked very happy. When her grandmother saw her she told her daughter in law to bring sweets for Akanksha. She was shocked as her grandmother never spoke with so much love to her. She asked the reason for everyone's happiness. Her father told her that her marriage was fixed with the son of Sarpanch of the village. She was shocked. She knew Sarpanch's son Ashok. He was in her class. He was two years older than her but was still in the same class as he had failed twice. One more time he fails and he will be detained from school. Also, he was not someone who would respect girls or elders. He used to speak with everyone with a sense of authority as if he owned the place. She told all these things to her family. But they reacted as if these things didn't even matter. They said that young boys do behave like that but once he gets mature he will learn how to behave. But Akanksha knew the truth that he would never. Still, she dared to ask another question. Will she be allowed to study further? Her dad replied that off course all the girls in their town are not allowed to study after marriage but her in laws had allowed her to study till 10th. After hearing this she was totally heart broken. It was as if all her dreams were shattering. Ever since she had started studying she had dreamt of becoming a doctor or a teacher or a scientist. She had a new dream everyday. But now it was like all her dreams were going away from her. She had seen her mom cooking and working all day for her family and getting no appreciation in return. She did not want to live a life like her. She cried a lot that night. Next day when she went to school she was not that usual enthusiastic student. Her teacher noticed that and asked her what the matter was in lunch break. She was very close to that ma'am. She cried and told her everything. Her teacher was heartbroken. She said that the village people are so backward that they will not understand anything no matter how hard anyone tries to convince them. She told her that still she had one idea. But that will require courage. Akanksha asked what that idea is. She said that she should run away from her house and go to Asha Devi's NGO. She would help her if she wants. Akanksha was shocked. She said "I can't do this." Her teacher replied that she won't force her but she must think about it. She said that she had been to that NGO for several times and it was really a safe and good place for women and girls. Only women staff is there in NGO. She will not face any threat in NGO and all her dreams can come true. Akanksha knew Santoshi ma'am would not lie. She was a good lady. Even in that tender age she knew whom to trust and whom to not. And she knew that the teacher can be trusted. But then she said what about her family and their society. Her teacher replied you really care for that society who has never cared about your existence. They treat women like they are their workers. Even I was married forcefully when I was of your age as I didn't have any Asha Devi or Santoshi ma'am in my life. But thankfully my husband was very supportive. I was able to become a teacher just because of him. But Ashok and his family are not like that. This is your chance to get away and fulfill your dreams. Think about it. I will support you. If you agree then I will go to NGO tomorrow and will discuss all the matter. Akanksha said she needed some time to think. Her teacher agreed. Akanksha went home and tried to convince her family one last time. No one paid heed to her words. She cried but nobody cared except her mother. She told her not to cry and accept the fate as they didn't have any choice. Akanksha decided at that moment that she had a choice and she will choose that way. Her brother was very happy that she was going from the house and now no one would scold him for scoring less marks. There was no one to support her in that house.
Next day she told her teacher that she was ready to execute the plan that she had told. The teacher went to NGO and discussed the matter with Asha Devi. After some days she took some of her clothes and some money in her school bag and left home saying that she was going to school. The teacher's husband was standing outside the village with a cycle. She reached there and started riding towards nearby bus stand. A woman from NGO was standing there to pick her up. She reached the NGO safely at last. Asha took her to a NGO in a far away city. Akanksha's real name was Laali but Asha named her Akanksha as the name conveyed the meaning wishes. When she didn't return her family searched for her everywhere. Her clothes were missing so they understood it was all planned. She had run away. They were very angry on school staff. They also reached Asha's NGO in the nearby town but could not find her as Asha had sent her to a different city. After some months all the people started forgetting about the incident.
It took Akanksha some time to adjust in a new city and a new place but thankfully people were supportive. She started working even harder. Once a new lady had come to work at NGO and would not behave well with girls. She scared little girls so much that they were afraid of complaining about her to anyone. But Akanksha dared to do that. When Asha came for inspection she told her everything. The lady was removed immediately afterwards. Asha noticed that Akanksha was courageous. After completing HSC with excellent marks she started taking tuitions of small children. She wanted to be self sufficient as soon as possible. She was a great reader. She always knew about all the current affairs. Asha was really impressed by her. She noticed that she was very good at all social sciences and knew about all current affairs. She suggested Akanksha that she should try for civil services. Akanksha liked the idea and started preparing for it. After a lot of hard work Asha cleared civil services exam in her second attempt. That was a very proud and emotional moment for both Asha and Akanksha. She got her training and became collector. She worked hard for public. She was an honest and hard working officer. She dedicated her life for her people and their betterment. She was really thankful to her teacher and Asha as they had completely changed her life. After few years she decided to visit her village. She had assumed that everything would have changed by now and everyone will accept her. Everything had really changed except people's mindset. She had ran away as she had seen that a girl of 14 or 15 years old was being applied turmeric (a ritual before wedding.) All the memories which she had left behind had come back. She stopped crying and gathered her courage. She decided that the time has come when these things should stop. She called nearby police station reached the venue where ceremony was taking place with police officers. The local police officers were not ready to do that but they could not deny the collector. Also she had warned that if they tried to put pressure on her by calling any minister than she would send the pics of the wedding to her journalist friend on WhatsApp and will also tell her to show that how irresponsible the police officers of this region are. As they didn't have any choice they accompanied her. She stopped the wedding. In fact now and then she would visit the village to keep a check. She won't let any girl get married before 18 years. She took the poor girls to NGO if their parents did not have money to educate her. She funded the education of many girl children. Her family slowly realised their mistake and accepted her with respect into their family. They would proudly tell everyone that she was an officer. She became an inspiration for many young girls of her village as well as girls of nearby towns and villages. Some of the parents also changed their mindset after seeing her. She walked with courage and confidence. Her actions were brave and righteous. She met her teacher and her husband and thanked them. She told her teacher that she would have been living in this village without any dreams, aspirations and respect if she would not have supported her. Her teacher replied that she had the courage to take the right step for herself and that had made all the difference. She had changed not only her own life but also of all the other girls of the district. Alanksha said "But still I will always be thankful to you for changing my I can't into I can. This was all possible because I believed I can."