Sharing an email.
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I have been a regular reader of your blog. I thought of writing to you since something recently happened which triggered a turmoil in my head.
Before I write about my thoughts, let me give you a small brief about myself. I have been born and brought up in a small town in a middle class joint family where rules were different for girls and boys. My male cousins enjoyed privileges which did not come too easily to me. I have a younger sister – so you can imagine I have grown up and gotten used to the fact that my parents are considered less fortunate since they did not have a son. I have heard random people giving advice to my mother how she will be able to conceive a boy child. Its atrocious but you would be amazed to see the amount of interest such topic generates specially in a family function or any gathering (could be a prayer meeting for somebody as well) my parents ensured that we had our own lives in spite of all the filth around us. Both my sister and I have done fairly well and did what we wanted to do. Parents support was unconditional but silent. Probably their intelligence convinced them it’s easier to do what you intend to do quietly rather than making a fuss about it and inviting trouble. I have been married for long now and recently my sister also got married. I was completely appalled by the number of people who said some absolutely nonsensical things to my parents
- – Hun te tusse apna kaam muka baithe ho (you have completed your duty )
- – Ab ganga naha lo , Chalo bhaar utha sir ton ( take a dip in holy ganga, burden off your head)
- – My brother in law comes from very rich family – so people actually came and said “Nice Catch”
- – Munda Honda taan tussi kamande (if you had a boy you would have earned a lot of money – by means of dowry)
These thoughts were all over my head when I noticed that in the entire marriage ceremony there is not a single blessing directly for the bride—
- – Sada suhagan raho
- – Sou putravati bhava
- – Soubhagyavati raho ( and mind it bhagya comes only with husband or a boy child)
- – Khush raho and jeete raho were reserved for the guy only
What troubles me is that the educated lot of my family agrees with these comments and believe that my parents have completed their duty by making sure we both sisters are settled now. At the end it all seems like a façade… you study, do well, have a great career, make lots of money but you are not complete – TILL you get MARRIED/ or have KIDs.
My parents still do not take money from me in case I want to contribute- they take it only if they can return it. I feel slightly cheated… it’s not what I signed for. Would it have been so much of an issue if I was a man!
My parents did not stop me from doing anything, I wonder how they would have reacted if I would have told them I don’t want to get married. Or more suitable for me now— I don’t want to have kids- I will adopt in case I wish to have a family with children in future. Deep down I know they will not be ok with this. The issue is that our generation also echoes these thoughts- my countless friends keep asking me when I am giving Good news- as if nothing else in this world qualifies for being a Good news except for child bearing.
And this creates a sense of discomfort for me – generations have come and gone but our deep rooted insecurities have remained unaltered. The picture of a perfect life has not changed over years and does not get complete without marriage/ kids….We do have pictures of a single women/a couple who choose not to have kids/ a divorced woman marrying again—- but these pictures are not celebrated like a wedding. And these pictures are not displayed for people to see but are hidden inside out of reach.
And that’s why I also feel that whenever I decide to have children I would want them to see all pictures, and create their own picture. I wish that people around would also have different pictures on their walls…. A world where every picture would have a different story
Is it a Wishful thinking????
Monika wrote about her experience as a daughter of a three ‘dheeyan dee maa’ here.