Mumbai based Yogi opens up about how she was a victim of child sex abuse
We have had many celebrities and social media influencers talk about their childhood experience of sexual abuse publicly in the past but there are many who still shy away from coming out in public. With the recent ‘Times Up’ campaign at Oscars this year, women have become more vocal about it in India, especially the ones living in the metros.
Like many girls, Yoga instructor Diksha Lalwani shares her experience of being sexually abused at 6, with alcoholic parent and finally having to move out of her parents house at the age of 18. Diksha who is now a popular yoga instructor opens up about this and how yoga changed her life completely in this interview.
1) What was your growing up days like as a child?
Growing up was not the most fun. Dad came back from office late; he chose to drink with his friends over spending time with us. My mother and grandmother were around but we never went out for any dinners or a family holiday. Our childhood was all about going to school, tutions and the only fun part was playing with friends. The family dynamics were dysfunctional; too many joint family arguments and no one really cared about what the children wanted to do. I still remember feeling upset because no one cared about having a party for my 16th birthday and I really wanted one. I was also too quiet and suppressed to express my needs. We were scared of my father because he was an angry person. I don't think I want the same childhood I had, for my child.
2) You have mentioned that at the age of 6 you were sexually abused? Tell us about that!
I went to my mom. I told her about what happened to me. I was too young so I don't remember what did I say exactly but I did tell her that a man took me into his room. She was scared and was trying to get details out of me, and I remember crying. I don’t remember anything else. No one spoke about it ever again.
3) How did you take such a big decision like moving out of your parent’s house without their support? What gave you the courage?
Parents did support my idea of going to Bombay for studies. They we're not pleased when I decided to move out of the girls hostel to a paying guest because of deadline issues. They also wanted me to come back after 3 years of college, which I didn't. I continued staying in Bombay. They we're not too pleased but I was too much of a rebel. I asked my father for house deposit but he denied. I have slept at friend’s offices and their couches.
4) How did Yoga creep into your life especially when you were going through all this?
Before I decided to do yoga, I had gone through too much suffering. My film production job took the life out of me. Shooting hours were crazy; I wasn’t eating well, or getting enough sleep. I was tired and exhausted. Because of a bad job I got attached to my then boyfriend too much. When we broke up, I turned suicidal. By then, I had PCOD, prolonged bronchitis, and tendencies of depression. That's when I felt I really needed to step out of the city and find my sanity again. I packed my bags, went back to my hometown and from there decided to go study yoga. And yoga felt like a strong calling in those days. I knew it was going to heal me. A part of me was convinced I wanted to learn yoga.
5) What advice would you like to give to all the women, who probably have gone through similar situation but haven’t had the courage to do what you have done?
All my life I really did what I felt like doing and not what was expected of me. I really just kept following what felt right to me. I made a lot of mistakes, a lot of bad decisions, but I had my lessons to learn. Not a single regret. Went through difficult days, but if I didn't I wouldn't have felt the need to chase light. I feel suffering is really the point where you wake up. So if you are going through some personal agony, know that you are moving towards the brighter side.
6) Tell us how yoga changed your life finally?
Yoga transformed my life. I am totally a different person now. I am more positive and full of hope then ever before. My pcod is healed, my body feels fitter. Heart is full of gratitude. I practice yoga and meditation daily and that really is the best gift to myself. I feel good from inside now.