Shweta Parmar

The adolescence is a challenging time period for most people, some waltz right through it while for most it’s a hot and challenging mess. And like most people, it wasn’t a smooth sailing for me.

I was born in the Army fraternity where my father was a proud army officer who served his nation in various locations across the country, and we accompanied him. The panoramic sceneries and the indigenous people there gave me memories for life. Needless to say, my childhood was quite a ride. In one such instance, my father got transferred to a remote location in West Bengal, a Military Cantonment, Binnaguri. Within some time, my father got promoted to Colonel, which brought in many perks and privileges. Life was perfect!


As I kept approaching puberty, there were a lot of physical and emotional changes going on. I was diagnosed with a condition called PCOS – Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. This caused me to have an excessive amount of hair growth all over my body. I started to get conscious of the way I looked. I began wearing over- sized clothes and tried every procedure, albeit painful, the modern beauty parlors had to offer. But that wasn’t the worst part. I had picked up a sport, Badminton, and the children there began to call me names, sometimes even a Eunuch, because of my body hair. Not only did my self-esteem go down, my confidence got affected adversely.

I also started to think that I would never be accepted as a person because of my medical condition. I hesitated to go out. “Will I ever be considered beautiful?” was what I spent thinking most of the times.


After two years my father got posted to Pune, Maharashtra, where I took admission in 10th standard in Army Public School. The Army club there was organizing an Annual Beauty Pageant which was within a month of our arrival in the city. My parents enrolled me into the contest without informing me. I was furious and refused to be a part of the pageant, but my parents were adamant.

Unwillingly, I went for the auditions and surprisingly, I got selected. We had to undergo a two weeks training program for the Pageant wherein we would be trained in every aspect of the contest. 

From walking in heels for the first time to getting my eyebrows done, it was a nightmare. A nightmare which I gradually started enjoying, although I knew I wouldn’t make it because there were far more pretty and confident women, who knew exactly what they were doing. And I was just in it for gaining experience, which might help me later on. 


My parents left no stone unturned in giving all the support that I needed. This news travelled fast in my school as I was the youngest member to have ever been a part of the Pageant (I was just 14!). Slowly, I picked up pace and was one of the best in my batch.


On the final night, I could hear my parents in the front row screaming my name as we walked on the stage. I could see tears in my mother’s eyes, pride in my dad’s and my brother waved and flashed me his cutest smile. In that moment, all my fears and apprehensions left me. With my heart pounding with excitement, I knew this was my day. And I did it; I became the youngest May Queen ever! In those moments, I realized what truly mattered was how I saw myself. I was beautiful and confident and an amazing woman not because someone told me so but because I knew. I knew there was a fire within me which burned brighter with every challenge I took in life. I was ready to take on the world!!!

A fact about self-esteem is that it makes you question every decision you make in life because you’re more worried about how you’re perceived by others. It takes immense courage, support and persistence to come out of that shell. I learnt that success and failure are subjective and is dependent on your sheer efforts and belief. There’s nothing as bold as than believing in yourself.