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Not willing to let go of her dreams, an Indian woman who ran away from home seven years ago to avoid marriage, has returned as a commercial tax officer. Social media users in India are sharing the inspiring story of Sanju Rani Verma, from the Indian city of Meerut, UP, and discussing how important it is to follow one’s dreams.

Verma decided to run away from home in 2013. She was 28 at that time, and her mother had just passed away. Her family members started pressurising her to give up the post-graduation course she was pursuing at that time and get married. They told her it was time to “settle down”.

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But, Verma didn’t think so. She had bigger dreams for herself. Initially, she tried to make her family understand by telling them that she wanted to build her career, but to no avail.

“I do not understand the societal pressure… not letting your daughters study and marrying them off,” she said, according to an Indian news media report.

After a fight with her family, she left her post-graduation course midway and ran away from home without any money. Verma rented a small apartment, where she started taking private tuitions to afford the rent. She also found a job as a part-time teacher in private institutions and started preparing for her Public Service Commission (PSC) exam, simultaneously.

Finally, this year, Verma, who is now 35, wrote the PSC examination to become a commercial tax officer at the state level. Last week the results were released and Verma had got through.

She was quoted in a news report: “They [family] were upset with me, because I started living by myself. But I know they will be happy to see me getting respect as an officer. I am aware of my responsibilities and want to support my family in every way possible.”

Social media has been posting positive responses to Verma’s tale of resilience.

Facebook user Aradhya Mann wrote: “Stop deciding for others, their time to ‘settle down’. It’s a myth and some people don’t want to do that.”

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Ritika Kunal commented: “It’s the 21st century, women have reached the moon and beyond, but some families still make women feel like they have to choose between having a family life and their dreams. Kudos to those women who refuse to allow others to chart their path.”

Verma’s next goal is to write the Indian Civil Service (ICS) exam and fulfill her dream of becoming a divisional magistrate.