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When my father was twelve years old, he used to work at a paper mart. He spoke only in his mother tongue, Gujrati. Although English wasn’t his first language, he was determined to master it. He couldn’t afford to buy books in English and those were rare to come by in the rural town of Jamnagar in Gujarat. In his spare time between sorting out old magazines and stacking newspapers, he would sit down with a tattered copy of ‘The Great Gatsby’ and attempt to learn.
It was ten years ago when I first picked up a copy of Mslexia. At the volatile age of 17, I was just starting to stretch into the world of writing – scrawling angst poems on coffee cups, napkins, the sole of my shoe. I didn’t know how to turn my dreams of being a writer-turned-millionaire into anything real or concrete, and well-meaning teachers had no idea which direction to point me in.
Whenever I read the word damsel, I’m instantly transported to the year 1999. There I am sat in front of the tv, eating a plate of – now extinct – turkey dinosaurs, watching another episode of Scooby Doo where, yet again, Daphne finds herself dangling from a tall structure, waiting to be rescued by one of the male leads. But, while Daphne is the ultimate damsel in distress, the voices emitting from ‘Dear Damsels’ could not be further from this notion.