Ciao, my name is Nisha Singh and I am twenty-six years old and a postgraduate in Italian. I was born and raised in a very conservative Punjabi family in the city of Jaipur, India. My father was someone who believed that a woman’s place was in her house and nothing more than a wife, a mother and a homemaker. Fortunately for my siblings and me, he spared no limits in our education. As soon as my sister finished her Chartered Accountancy, she was married off. Luckily her husband is very progressive and she enjoys freedom like she has never known. My older brother enjoys the freedom that every man enjoys in India. India is still ‘A Man’s country’, I guess.
What I am writing about is 2009, when I had just turned nineteen. I had completed my BA in Italian from the University of Rajasthan and topped my class. I secretly decided to prepare for the entrance to do my Masters in Rome. The topper of that entrance test got a full scholarship to study In Italy. My mother was really proud of my result. My father showed no emotion of care or love and I grew up rarely ever speaking to him. The atmosphere at my house used to be so stifling that I wanted to break free from this setup. They were times when breathing was difficult at home. I felt really sad about the way my mother was treated by my father. She was treated like a domestic servant in duties and a slave for sex. My brother even showed no respect for her. With such behavior displayed by the two most important men in my life, I naturally developed a dislike towards men. I had no male friends nor did I look forward to making any.
I mentally prepared myself with Italian men over Indian men, in the future.
On graduating, I was lucky that my father decided to postpone arranging my marriage, as he had just spent a huge amount for my older sister’s wedding. He was advised by his friends to let me find a job. India at that time was experiencing a boom in the Outsourcing industry and many BPO companies had opened their offices in and around Jaipur. There were a lot of opportunities for employment. So I applied for a job with one such company and got through all the rounds comfortably. Everything about this company was American such as clothes, attitudes, work ethics, etc. The Human Resources manager gathered twenty of us into a training room and introduced us to our trainer, who was to train us for the ninety days.
It was there, I met him for the first time. The minute, he stepped into that training room, my heart felt a different rhythm. He was not an Indian. He couldn’t have been, because he looked different, he spoke better English than the others in the same organization. His voice, somehow I imprinted. He told us of his ethnicity which was Half Asian and Half European. Hmm, the day went by with me in a daze and he had certainly created an impression on all of us. Over the next few weeks, I had developed a strong crush for him. I was pretty sure that the other girls too had similar feelings. He was the first man who made all of us women feel equal to the other men around us. He managed to convince us seemingly well that we were all equal and it was our birthright to determine our own future.
My admiration for him grew every day. He would question things about Indian society so rationally, which was inspirational. I saw this new level of confidence in me, which I never experienced in my life before, and I knew the reason was him. He was a man unlike any I had ever met. As long as there were other men like him in India world there was hope. My legs started to go weak when he would speak to me, literally trembling. His masculine voice calling my name ‘Nisha’ was like a beautiful song. There were many things about him which were indescribable. I started to look at him differently towards the end of the training. He was my trainer and I looked beyond that fact for the first time. He was physically hard to describe because words would do no justice. He was fourteen years older than I was but looked like he was in his mid-twenties. With that youthful face, there was an obvious maturity beyond his physical appearance. He just knew how to treat people with respect and I thought these kinds of people lived only in fairy-tale.
On the last day of the training, we all were sad at the prospect of not seeing him (Darius Chinoy) or talking to him. He understood the somber atmosphere and decided to add life to the last day of training. He engaged us in some team building activities which made the last day memorable. Over the next few days, I felt empty. I neither saw him nor was able to speak with him. He had shared his personal number with me. One day, I took some courage and messaged him ‘How are you Signore?’ I waited patiently for his response and I kept looking at my phone. After what seemed like a long time, he replied ‘Buona Signorina’ (Good Miss). I had a huge smile across my face. Over the next few days, we texted late into the wee hours and I enjoyed every bit.
I realized that with this man I could speak my mind out and not be judged. He respected me like an equal and that was a welcome change. Even my mother noticed the changes in my personality and body language and teased me about it. One night I gathered some courage and messaged him ‘I find you very sexy’. There was no reply from him for a few minutes and that made me uneasy. I became nervous at his silence and wondered if I had crossed that thin line of a trainer-trainee relationship. Then he responded with a smiley J and said ‘I find you very sexy as well, Nisha’. Now we had crossed that line of comfort.
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