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No matter how good or talented she might be, there is always some discrimination against a girl child. Sometimes it may take extreme forms.
“Boisterous as wind, Playful as a balloon. Please don’t kill the butterfly in her cocoon.”
A little seed in the mother’s womb I lie ensconced in her protective amniotic fluid dreaming of a serene and happy future but alas I’m roused from sleep. I’m yet unborn, growing, waiting to come out when my time comes. But my own would-be father’s piercing tone hurts me when he tells my mother that he wants a male child to help him in his old age. That girls are mere burdens – educating and marrying them off is a waste of wealth. He wants my mother to undergo a sex determination test. He wants to be sure. I feel sad but mother disagrees and feels that “God would bless her with a male progeny.”
I spend my nine months gestation period in dread. I’m growing day by day, with the good nutrition and health supplements she consumes. At last it is time for me to be born. I come out into this bad world, a healthy baby with a fair complexion, sharp features, an intelligent brain, a pride for every parent.
But unfortunately there is disgust – even the lady doctor who has brought me in this world tells my parents, “It is a baby girl.” My grand parents from both sides look dismayed, specially my paternal grand parents. They pass bad comments, even telling my mother it was all her fault.
My father refuses to see me, sits gloomily in a corner thinking aloud about the burden he would have to carry, losing his amassed wealth to another family, in the form of a hefty DOWRY. He curses her for not paying heed to his words – “if only she had gone for a sonography, he would have got me aborted!”
I was hurt by how callous my own creator could be. Mother too being bombarded from all sides became indifferent towards me. She looked after my needs single-handedly but with no zeal. I was a lonely, unloved child. No relatives treated me with affection – there was no rejoicing.
I started growing up into a sensible person. I loved books. They were my constant companions. I literally drowned my sorrow in my books. I had just started to go to school when mother informed me that I was going to get a companion, a BROTHER.
She looked happy. She was having pains and was wheeled into a hospital, while I looked confused. In a little while the news came, the doctor proclaimed in glee-it was a baby boy. Everyone rejoiced, sweet-meats of choicest variety were distributed.
As soon as mother was brought into her room, all the relatives including my father made her feel like a queen. They fussed around her. My baby brother was cuddled, loved, hugged by one and all, without giving a thought to my feelings. A few relatives gave me pitying glances. I had to go through this, my fate.
There were rituals and rejoicing, astrologers were consulted regarding his future. Amulets and lucky charms were put by his side to ward him from the evil eye, while I looked on misty-eyed, hoping for a better treatment. I had been handed over the responsibility of looking after him in my mother’s absence. I too was a child, still I had to take care of him.
He was fed on fruits and goodies as he grew up, while I was given plain fare. I was put in a cheap school so that my father did not have to waste his money on me, and concentrate on his son’s upbringing. I excelled in studies but no one paid heed, while my over-pampered brother hated studies and just managed to scrape through in every class.
All his whims and fancies were taken care of, he was the apple of everyone while I was scolded for no fault of mine. He enjoyed getting me into trouble.
When I cleared my school leaving exams, I came out in flying colours. I was felicitated in front of the whole school. But at home no bouquets or sweetmeats but only taunts waited for me. My parents who have considered me a burden want to get rid of me at the earliest. I want to study further, my teachers have high hopes from me, but my parents want to get me married. I try to reason with them but I fail.
Proposals are coming in. I have to doll up and sit in a demure fashion, while the prospective groom’s family looks at me from top to toe and bombard me with uncomfortable questions. I feel like a commodity.
At last a boy rather a middle aged man is chosen. I protest but my protests are unheard. No rejoicing, a simple ceremony. A dowry both in cash and kind is given to the groom. I was sent with the advice to look after my new family and prevent my own family from any kind of shame. Whatever problems I face, I should sort them out and never to return to my parental home.
Beginning of another chapter of my life. I’m meted out treatment similar to what my mother always faced. I am dominated by my in-laws and my husband. I yearn for love but I only get tongue lashings. Their word is the law and I suffer in mute silence. Everyone abhors me, where do I take refuge?
Today my life has taken a full circle and I too have given birth to A BABY GIRl! I don’t want her to suffer like me, so I pray to God, “Please don’t be cold, daughters are angels worth more than gold!”
Image source: girl child by Shutterstock.
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