Wednesday, March 3, 2010

On The Pretext Of Women's Day -08.03.2010

 As I key in these words I am feeling a bit overwhelmed for the fact that when I was born ,or for that matter, all the women of my generation  or previous generations were born in India atleast , their parents had never heard of  sex determination tests  , nor did they contemplate   female infanticide the solution to the problem of having  to raise one more unwanted girl in the family. 
Ofcourse I was always given to beleive that my parents longed to have a girl child  and when I was born their joy knew no bounds.I had  no reason to doubt that yet as a little girl I always suspected a thin  biasedness in their actions towards my elder brother.
When they thought it was a right age for my brother to learn cycling , he was bought a brand new cycle (men's cycle) ,he learnt cycling and so did I ,on the same cycle, but nobody ever thought of buying a girl's cycle for me .In those  time   parents did not buy books, cycles , toys seperately for  each kid.These things used to be a shared property, even handed down to younger cousins later on .Despite this fact I always took this personally and thought it was partial of them to not to buy me a cycle. They always bought new dresses for me on every festival which made me feel very special as a girl and I took it as a celebration of girlhood to be able to receive gifts on Rakhee /bhai duj or get  a new dress.
In the course of time I realised that when my brother planned to go for a movie , he was given money and was allowed  without  much hassle  whereas I couldnot dream of any such adventure without having to answer a series of questions  and any slight reason was enough to get a clear big No. To save myself from such disappointments I stopped getting into any such plan.I took it as a trade off , If I wanted to be pampered as a girl  I had to give up my idea of fun to go out with friends for movies .

Similarly, One of my best friends, lets call her  V , only sister of 3 brothers was raised with a sole focus , to teach her every skill which would make her an outstanding wife. Her father was the most indulgent father I have  known .All  her over protective brothers and father used to talk 24X7 was about  giving her away to a prince charming(which they only were going to choose ofcourse) in the most grand weddding they could afford.My friend took this doting , a bit stifling albeit,  in her stride.She would cook, stitch, knit ,weave the dreams of her wedding and feel thrilled.
She too, just like me, took this whole game plan as a trade off.If she was to be loved so profusely she had to  give up certain freedom  in her life.

Me and my frined V were the two examples of daughters who were wanted and welcome in the family but , I knew many of my friends who were one of the many sisters before a badly wanted brother was born in the family. The sisters were raised on hand me downs ,old books  and shared all the deprivations to be able to save something for their  young  brother. One such  classmate of mine, named C here , used to cook for the family, bath the baby brother, helped in many household chores before coming to school.She knew this Home Work was priority for her. Just like us, she also took it as a tradeoff .If she wanted to continue with her studies she had to give up her certain rights .

Another friend  of  mine, lets call her D , who was second daughter in the family and had two  more brothers was removed from an English medium school  and was sent in a vernacular school because father could not afford the fees.
She and her sister studied in Vernacular school while brothers studied in an English  medium school. The girls had little choice but to accept the decision . They took it as a trade off between a good school for them and a good future for their brothers and may be parents.

There must have been many more examples around   but the point here is , all these girls were allowed to be born and their parents did what they thought was best for the family(not necessarily for the girl) .
The girls were treated less than equal in the family but   more  importantly these  girls did not brew contempt.They accepted the unfairness meted out to them without protest and yet remained forward looking.

V is now  a mother of  3 daughters , all equally loved ofcourse. I cannot say how good she proved to be as a wife but she is an outstanding mother. Her daughters are learning swimming, badminton, aspiring for good careers .She knows that  ostentatious weddings  for her daughters  can not be the  agenda of life.

C is happily teaching  Maths in an Engineering   College.Her daughter is learning Bharatnatyam.

D too is  a teacher . Happy and independent .
Now, about me, though my sacrifice looks really lame before what all C, D and V had to sacrifice in their lives  , we all learnt the same thing in the course of changing times that celebrating girlhood is not all about giving up things in life  . We all have brought this correction in our thinking . All these friends of mine are celebrities in their own right who till today do not hold grudge against their parents . The  parents did what they thought was best as per their discretion and their daughters did what they thought was best as per theirs.
So my this post is a toast and tribute to all those women who succeeded  against all odds and never became bitter in life.

                  Happy women's day to all of you .


  1. Kirti, I loved this post. Hats off to all the women who are making their lives work. Happy Women's Day to you too!!

  2. Whether we work at home or outside, we are all contributing to the society. we sometimes forget that.
    I too had an elder brother and I have also gone through the same things you mentioned. I always thought he had more freedom than I did and that rankled. But now I know that my parents were just trying to protect me at times. I just hope that our daughters have all the freedom they deserve. That they do not have to fight for something that is their right.
    Happy Womens Day to you.

  3. @Niedhie : Thank you for visiting here.I liked your post too about women's day.

    @Aparna : you are right , we as a society don't often acknowledge women's contribution as a home maker and its sad.
    Even I earnestly wish that India becomes a safer place for girls so that young girls can avail all the freedom.

  4. Lovely post. And everyone doesnt have to fall in the leading-from-the-front or running-away-from-the-unjust-folks category. Kudos to those thoughtful ordinary women, who treasured their parents, what they had as daughters, built on that sensibly, and today are wonderful mothers to daughters, with great and sensible freedom.

  5. @ugich konitari: So true , so true.