- A transformation story that traveled a long journey.
- Mahesh passionately describes his exposure to a different world.
- Good things come to those who wait.
- Men empowering women are rare but this breed, even though at a slow pace, is evolving.
- Mahesh finds solace and finds his purpose in life through Girl Power Talk.
An Oblivious Transformation
Hailing from a remote village in the state of Maharashtra, India, I grew up unsure of what I would ever achieve—or indeed who I could be. I come from a place which has no post office or public transport bus service, and which has only one primary school (up to class 7th). It is a village where people do not know that a country has something called a constitution.
We grew up looking at the temples we were not allowed to enter into. My parents work as daily wage laborers and have been instrumental in shaping me and my siblings to be perseverant and independent.
I studied in a Marathi medium school where a single teacher used to teach us multiple subjects. With limited access to information, we were oblivious to different syllabus patterns and other language medium schools. I often used to contemplate if we were from a different world. Education in the English medium was something we didn’t even know existed.
Amidst these shallow circumstances, the level of uncertainty surrounding my career and future only grew with age. One teacher in our school, however, Mr. Dhanpal Gurav, was serious about educating and paving the way for success for us.
My selection to Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya, a central government boarding school, was a turning point for me. Here, I was introduced to the CBSE (Central Board of Secondary Education) pattern and learning in a semi-English medium for the first time. The change was honestly nerve wracking. Nonetheless, I enjoyed the newfound freedom and the ability to make my own decisions. I was suddenly exposed to a whole new world filled with knowledge, wisdom, and opportunity.
Coming of Age
I understood the importance of the English language quite early in my life. I vividly remember scoring a 4 out of 40 in a test in the 6th grade when I first joined the boarding school. Despite this apparent failure, I worked hard to master it as I knew this language was a stepping stone to achieving my dreams. This was only possible with the guidance and support of Mrs. Rajrani Dadwal, who helped me brush up on the English language.
After studying 10+2 with science stream, I pushed myself to pursue English literature at Symbiosis College of Arts and Commerce. After completing my degree amidst the lockdown, I was unable to find a job I was passionate about. Eventually, I began my professional career as an assistant manager in the department of sales at a renowned Indian telecom giant. I was connected with an acquaintance who believed in my skills despite not having an educational background; unfortunately however, the culture didn’t satisfy the workaholic energy I possessed.
Daily targets, an unjust hierarchical system, and the rampant corporate politics didn’t allow me to realize my purpose, let alone achieve it. But, as the saying goes, “Good things come to those who wait.” I persevered and my faith manifested in the form of an invite on a job portal by Girl Power Talk.
The Rise Beyond Expectations
Girl Power Talk is a community of individuals that believe in the potential of youth worldwide; it is building a culture that brings out the best in people across borders, defies ageism, and breaks the biggest stereotypes around gender, culture, and togetherness.
A complete opposite to my earlier work experiences, Girl Power Talk came as a blessing in my life. From working in an environment characterized by toxic masculinity to finding a space where I can proudly be part of the feminist movement, I have come a long way.
Girl Power Talk is a rare amalgamation of profit and purpose. I have always believed that an organization becomes successful when the employees are able to realize both their professional and personal goals. While interacting with my colleagues, who are extremely warm, supportive, and understanding, I realized that each one has a social issue that they are passionate about. This, in my view, is a testimony to a happy and equal workplace culture where people are driven and genuinely vibe in unison.
Where Passion Meets Skills
I joined the organization in July 2022 as a video editor to hone my skills and contribute to the video team. However, due to the flexible business model of the organization, I was also given the opportunity to get involved in multiple departments (such as digital marketing). Additionally, a few months down the line, I was further able to upskill and learn new concepts on real-time client projects.
As a leader here, I enjoy complete freedom to present my ideas and execute them with my talented team. Working in post-production, I am cognizant of the value of implementing ideas because that’s where the real job begins. There are many factors that serve as a motivation for me to keep learning and growing.
Coming from a realm with zero-to-minimal opportunities for women, I naturally found Girl Power Talk a befitting means to empower my sister with opportunities to make her strong, independent, and skilled. It was ineffable to have my sister being interviewed on my very first day in the office; I was both emotional and proud.
A New Breed of Men is Here!
I belong to the breed of men that understand sensitivity and endorse equality quite proudly. Regretfully, feminist men are still a rare phenomenon—but not so at Girl Power Talk. I feel blessed to be around this new breed of men who believe in dismantling stereotypes and creating spaces where gender bias against women doesn’t exist.
Although I am still in the beginning phase, I persevere each day to realize my dream of empowering my sister and my parents. The people of my village deserve to be freed from the shackles of inequalities and discrimination. Acknowledging the many privileges that men have, my purpose to change the lives of girls and young women is being realized while working at Girl Power Talk.
I am on a mission to transform the lives of many people, especially girls and women, from a devastated state to a fulfilling one. I believe that as men it is our responsibility to be the voice of any and every woman we know to motivate her to dream big. Pioneering this very mission, my sister Monali has set a great example for many women in our village, including our cousin Amruta—who recently became a part of this movement toward change.
To be surrounded by emotionally secure and independent men, my confidence in advocating for change has multiplied. I know I am contributing to creating a just future where feminist ideals are embraced; just imagining such an equal world makes me smile.
With this article, I aspire to inspire the men who sadly are not aware of the many toxic traits of our largely patriarchal society that deprives women of their basic rights. If, through my journey, I can be the example of change for women, I am already on the right track.