by Ankita Goje
I (Ankita Goje) completed M.Tech (structural engineering) in 2012 and was looking forward to settle down. Like every other girl, since my childhood, I always loved to dream of my marriage. I dreamt of the nine yards saree that I would wear on my wedding day, the matching jewellery and ofcourse a caring husband beside me. But, at the same time, my father was always worried about my marriage.
He worried of my white patches. These white patches are known as leucoderma (vitiligo). These are irregular white de-pigmented patches that develop on skin. He knew how insensitively our society behaves towards a person who is suffering from Vitiligo, educated or not! A black spot on white skin is appreciated but not white spot on black skin. These patches had ruined many marriages, shattered many hearts and broke many engagements, one of them being my own engagement.
Soon after my MTech, my marriage was fixed with a doctor. My father believed the boy being a doctor would certainly understand my condition. I was on cloud nine, as if a fairy tale come true. Just a couple of months and the wedding date was fixed. But to my dismay, he turned out to be a different person. I was often abused with vulgar words. I was labeled with filthy names. Every now and then he showed me as if he was doing a favour on me by marrying a girl like me.
I just wanted his love, care, and attention. But with every phone call I feared what new words are stored in his dictionary. I was losing my confidence, my self-respect. Just ten days ahead n my wedding day was approaching. All the shopping, hall decorations were done and booked. Invitation cards were posted to relatives. But I decided to take a stand, speak up and call off the wedding. I am blessed with great parents who supported me.
But then, it’s the society that brings more betrayal and disappointments. Many left me half way, many turned away when I needed them. According to them, it is very natural that a boy will lose interest in a girl like me because I have patches. People felt pity for the boy. My identity was being lost. I was shunned and abandoned only because of white patch. My external beauty was being judged neglecting my purity of heart. I was questioned, criticized, blamed, and taunted. Life seemed to be silent like a graveyard. It was a mental torture. Stigma was attached, a girl with broken engagement because of her patches. All I could do is, pick up my broken pieces, not look back and walk away. I avoided social gatherings and started staying aloof.
But God had some other plans for me. Three months later, one girl approached me. She was his girlfriend and was pregnant from him. He denied accepting her because she belonged from a class that society categorizes as lower category. She was abandoned by her family as the society cannot accept an unmarried pregnant woman; for they believe it is solely the fault of the woman. She was helpless and lonely. I decided to help her. It took us one month to register an FIR (First Information Report). He was soon arrested. Charge sheets prepared, then the court proceedings. People now believed me, it was not my patches but a wrong person that led me to quit the wedding. After four long awaited years, a fair justice was done with the judgement being in our favour. It was a long struggle. A struggle for self respect, self esteem and most importantly a struggle against the stereotypes and stigma attached with my patches.
I am no longer the naive Ankita now. I have my own goals and dream, a dream to join Civil Services, so that I can serve as many women, downtrodden and helpless people in the society. God has been very kind to me and He shall definitely help me reach my destination. I have an excellent family and friends who trust me and will not hesitate to help me if I am in trouble. Their unconditional love has never made me think of myself as blemished. I am not dependent on anyone for emotional or financial support and that has given me enormous strength. I am now ready to face the world, determined to stand on my feet and build a new life for myself
But today at this point of my life, I have a question to all of you. Do the patches really matter to have a happy married life? What is the guarantee that it cannot be develop to any normal human at any stage? Why are we categorized and prejudiced? Does the external beauty define the real beauty of a woman? We think we know all about beauty, but we fail to understand that external beauty is just short lived. Even the most beautiful people change as they grow older. But the beauty of an individual’s nature is permanent. One’s Beauty is seen in one’s nature. A compassionate, caring and understanding person should always be cherished and honoured.
We would like to salute to the courage shown by Ankita and her parents who have supported her in her wise decision. We wish this brave girl a life full of success and glory.