The Quest For Freedom : Struggle of A Small Town Girl – Ankita Patel – NITIE – Celebrating Womanhood On InsideIIM
Freedom is not concerned just with me but with each and every girl child of my village. I am Ankita Patel and I come from a village called Singharwa, near Ahmedabad. Pursuing my education had been a challenge since my school days. Due to lack of proper educational infrastructure at my village, I had to travel for 2 hours in a crowded bus, daily to reach my school during my 11th and 12th standard. After high school came college and this is when the entire village had taken it upon themselves to deny me the higher education I aspired to pursue. Several attempts to persuade my parents to prevent me from studying further were made by the village folk who always had so much to say like, “Who will marry your daughter once she’s educated?”, “Why spend so much on education when you use it for her marriage?”, “She will develop a big ego which will be detrimental to her marriage later on…”. But thankfully, my parents did not get swayed. They understood the importance of education and allowed me to go to college.
Having studied in a Gujarati medium school, college courses were very hard to comprehend in English. Not only did I have the burden of some difficult subjects, I also had to learn an entirely new language. I had slogged my way through and today I am the first engineer of my village. With my communication skills in place, soon after graduating, I got placed at L&T Technological Services. It offered me a pay that made me the highest earning individual of my family. At L&T, I was awarded the “Star of The Month” for leading the team to successfully execute a mission critical project. I was also awarded for “Team Contribution” for suggesting innovative ideas to standardise existing processes. My parents were extremely proud of the accolades I received and for my overall success. The entire village was in awe and were overwhelmed by the fact that a girl from the village actually made it so big. I was honoured with a medal for my achievements and am considered as a role model plus a testimony of hard work by the entire village. Small kids look up to me and I encourage the girl children especially, to always finish their education properly.
After working for 2.5 years, I realised that I wanted to pursue a masters’ program in Management. I started preparing for CAT while working and got into NITIE, one of the premium institutes of the country. There were people who still were against me in doing an MBA than working and earning, mainly because they were unaware of what an MBA is. But I was a changed person by now. I had gained respect among my family members who understood my decision. So here I am aspiring to experience the freedom that every woman in this country deserves in making their life choices. I feel I am getting there and hope that my story inspires girls from villages to trust themselves and their ability to persevere which would ultimately reap them the fruits of success through their hard work and determination.