Oishi’s Junior PROM

I was coming out of the Oxford Valley Mall in Pennsylvania last weekend, when I saw a teenager window shopping through a row of exquisite dresses. She pointed to one dress at a time and said, “Not this, maybe this, definitely not, yes, yes, and maybe this.”

Her mom gave her a light hug and said, “Let’s go inside and check.” They were probably shopping for Prom.

I couldn’t help but notice how happy both the mom and daughter looked and found it difficult to veer my mind away from Oishi’s Prom experience.

Oishi initially did not want to go to Prom but declared one day that she wants to. “It is going to be in an aquarium. So I think I will have fun” was her reply when I frowned at her change of heart.

A day before the Prom, she declared again “I will wear jeans and T-shirt instead of dress.” “I will be lot more comfortable that way” was her simple answer to my concerned look.

When I went to pick Oishi up from her school after the Prom around 1 am, she was bursting with jubilance and talked incessantly about her relaxed, fun time at the Prom. “I am so glad I didn’t wear a dress. I couldn’t have danced as much as I have today, mama.” Then she added, “But mama, many kids were staring at me and one of them asked why I wasn’t wearing a dress.”

Oishi is a pianist and has recitals throughout the year in New Jersey and New York for which I bought her numerous dresses. But she chose to exercise her freedom of choice by not wearing a motion-limiting dress to the Prom.

The stares and questions were expected and understandable. But I couldn’t help but wonder whether it was all because we are seasoned to think in a certain way and frown upon any deviation from the norm.

Nonetheless both my daughter, dressed in jeans, and her friends, dressed in beautiful sparkly dresses, had a wonderful time at their long-awaited Junior Prom.

Sharmistha’s Book

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Sharmistha Das

Sharmistha Das, an Indian immigrant engineer and entrepreneur, is the author of "From Hindustan Cables Limited - Journey of a Small-Town Indian Immigrant Woman". Every South Asian woman who has immigrated to America will identify with the adventurous journey of Sharmistha Das. Born in a small rural company town of Hindustan Cables Limited in Bengal, India, Sharmistha grew up with her brother, mother and father in a simple home without running water or furniture, but with a great amount of love. Supported by her parents, she left her hometown for Kolkata and became the first female engineer from her community. After her marriage, she moved to Bangkok, Thailand and finally to America, the land of opportunity and heartache. While working and bringing up her daughter, she got her Masters in Business Administration and started her own business. Unthinkable for a girl from Hindustan Cables, she got divorced in 2012 and adapted to a new life as a single woman and as a single mother. Sharmistha’s story will inspire any women to dare to live her dreams.

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