I sometimes feel sorry for those people who don’t wear themselves on a sleeve. Meaning, people who cannot be themselves with everyone; they only let the trusted in. Fortunately or unfortunately, I am one of those.Circumstances sculpt a person. As we all know, our circumstances many times differ and only very few times are alike. We’re just very different people but it’s a difficult reality to accept. Especially with technology that has shrunk our lives and gotten us in a dangerous proximity with strangers, onions like me find it a challenge. Who am I? Hum mann ke dariya mein doobey. (I am drowned in the sea within my heart). I like to live my life like an open book. I don’t want to carry dark, ugly secrets in my heart. I want to live to have a fair and light conscience. I can say things (sometimes almost preachy!) because I live by what I say. In the back of my mind, I am constantly analysing my actions, wondering if I unintentionally stepped on a toe or said something I shouldn’t have. I have always been like this as far as I can remember. And I cannot change it within myself. My conscious behaviour may also make me appear to be uptight many times. I’ve come across such comments before, especially with the advent of communities such as Twitter. You see, to judge me, you must understand my layers. I don’t live different lives in each layer, but to know those layers, you will know why I am who I am. I come from a background where women are not given their due respect and where, I’ve had to fight to make my voice heard and to make sure I got the respect I deserved. My dream has been to give education rights to girls and to the needy. Many times, I find myself to be the only hijabi woman in a gathering of men: in conferences, in village council meets and other village-related work and there’s a manner to behave to be taken seriously by people and to be respected. That is my first layer. Beyond it, I am a very different person, only visible to my husband and close friends. We live so many roles in one life! On Twitter, I am myself but not entirely. While I am my outspoken self (it just doesn’t go away), I am passionate about education, building an egalitarian society and other such social issues, I cannot act out of character and lose all my layers for complete strangers. As I build Twitter friendships, my interaction changes and becomes warmer, but with random first-time @ reply people, I morph into my formal self. At some instances, I’ve tried to ‘loosen up’ and act friendly with the strangers but I had to end it there in that first tweet because I felt I was going beyond my norm. Now, I have come terms with myself and accepted that I cannot be like others. While I appreciate the good qualities in them, I know that I cannot act out of character. In doing so, I am losing the charm that I had first fallen in love with.