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Monisha

Weld Shop Associate,

Ola Futurefactory

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“The scariest day of my life was the day I got engaged. Ever since I was a kid, I had dreamt about this day, about my husband. Because that's something I had been told since I was a little girl - 'You'll get married and run a household.'

"But as I stood there in front of a stranger, who was 10 years older than me, I couldn’t help but dread what was to come."

"The engagement ring that he slipped onto my shaky finger was the heaviest thing I’d worn."

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I was only 17 - I wanted to roam carefree around my village, play with my friends and study. I wanted to be independent! But after Appa incurred a huge loss and we landed in deep debt, I suddenly became a ‘bojh’ that my family wanted to cast off—one less thing to worry about.

As a child, I was very compliant. I listened to everything my parents told me. But after the engagement, seeing my dream crush, I felt anger bubble inside me.

I wanted to scream - ‘I’m just 17!’ The feeling was alien, something I’d never experienced before. So, I did something I’d never done before. I revolted.

"I refused to eat anything for a week until my parents begrudgingly called of the wedding and allowed me to study further."

It wasn’t ideal, but it was an opportunity I wasn’t prepared to give up. I searched for a nearby college with minimal fees and enrolled in a diploma course. As I’d expected, the next 3 years were brutal. Every relative that visited our house would ridicule my parents, ‘What good will educating a girl do?’ to ‘Just teach her how to cook!’ The embarrassment on my parents’ faces when these things happened scared me. ‘What if they stop me from studying again?’ I'd wonder everyday.

To make matters worse, every day that I walked to and from college, the local boys would make fun of me. I’d just keep my head down and tell myself, ‘One day, things will get better.’

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That day came after I completed my diploma 3 years later and finally got a job at Ola Futurefactory. I’d never believed I was capable of working with machines and robots. I was overwhelmed with doubt — ‘Will I be able to do this?’ But as time went by, I fell in love with my work. And all my initial apprehensions disappeared when I started working in the welding department—something changed inside me and a new belief rose—a belief that I can do anything!

I walk with my head held high now and the same people who used to laugh at me, look at me with respect.

Now that my parents have seen me make a difference, they don’t utter a single word about marriage—instead, they’ve started encouraging my younger sister to follow my footsteps and study. And it’s not just them, but the people in my village now tell their daughters, and even sons, ‘Be like Monisha didi.’

"The same hands that were once deemed fit only to cook and raise kids now hold tools and shape the future of technology. And that’s special!”"

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