At first glance, Claudia Jessica Bamon may looks like any ordinary young woman trying to figure out what life is all about. But if you look closely, you can see the determination in her eyes. Don’t try to teach Claudia what life is because this 30-year-old bouncer, the first female to be in the profession in Meghalaya and probably in the North East, has experienced it and is living it on her own terms.
Freedom is what the young body builder, again the first woman from Meghalaya, is passionate about. But freedom comes at a cost and Claudia never flinches at giving her best to earn it.
Sitting inside the gym where Claudia works out, one would wonder how tough a woman needs to be to stride into a male bastion. But the young body builder looked relaxed and unfazed by the notions of gender inequality. “My parents and brothers always wanted me to be strong and independent. However, they never imposed anything on me. It was my choice to come into body building,” says Claudia who was always into sports and “wanted to represent the state”.
If one can ignore the biceps and the neat six packs which may put a Bollywood hunk to shame, one can easily see through a sensitive heart that pains at others’ plight. “While studying Social Work in college I understood that life isn’t a bed of roses for everything. Children go hungry, women do menial work to feed babies. Children beg for a morsel and their innocent faces would make me feel so guilty because I would waste food. They are also responsible for helping me grow up as a human being. I learnt to fight back adversities,” she says.
Claudia started body building only five years ago and soon realised the cost she had to pay. Besides the sacrifices, she also had to take up jobs to pay for the expenses. “There are hurdles to cross but those are part of life and make you stronger,” she says.
Claudia’s indomitable spirit comes from another woman, her mother Camlin Bamon who has always encouraged her in whatever she did. “She would never force me to do anything. I wanted to quit studies after matriculation and she agreed. And now I have a masters degree in Social Work,” laughs Claudia.
Talking about the challenges in being the first woman body builder and bouncer from the state, a confident Claudia says one has to be strong, both physically and mentally. “My father (Elias Bamon) was also my strength. He was a well-built man and could carry logs. In fact, he inspired me to become a body builder,” says the youngest of three siblings.
So she is the empowered woman. To this, Claudia again laughs heartily. “I don’t know. All I know is I am independent and I love it. I know I can take care of myself,” she concedes, adding, “Empowerment comes with the right mindset. Every woman has that power to overcome setbacks and start life afresh she has to realise it and unleash the power.”