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Being a second girl child in an Indian family is not easy; this daughter succeeded with the help of her supportive father.
SivaRanjini Kasiviswanathan about herself: “I am a home maker looking after my darling daughter who is 2 and half years old. I previously rocked the IT industry as a well known tester and automation script developer. I have a passion for writing and painting. I like to optimize things which otherwise take long to be done and stick to schedule. I have recently started a blog to pen down my thoughts.”
Born as a second girl child, I was not welcomed with a silver spoon. A long sigh from my mom as she almost thought I was a boy since I was born in the predicted time (?!) and so many sulking faces around with murmurs of, “Oh! The second one is also a girl?”
Amidst this gloomy scene, my dad arrived with a handful of chocolates and a face filled with happiness. He was full of joy as against the grumpiness of the relatives, proclaiming that his “Lakshmi” was born on the salary day of the month. My dad enrolled me in one of the best schools along with my sister when every other jealous soul was rambling, “Do you need to spend so much for the girls who are anyway going to cost you much more than that when they leave you in the name of marriage?”
My dad just brushed aside all this nonsensical talk. We both made use of the best opportunities that were put on our way to climb up the ladder. Though it was not exactly a moonwalk, it was definitely a bumpy ride with occasional stumbling. My dad was very particular in making us independent.
When we became dependent on the autos or buses for the daily commute to school, he bought bicycles for us. I still remember the “BSA-SLR” bicycle which was then a big heartthrob for all the school girls in our small town. It was in a maroon colour, my favourite.
Usually the guy from the showroom drops the cycle at the house. But I rode it all the way from the showroom to my house on my dad’s encouragement with so much pride since no twelve year old girl ever rode a bicycle on the main road in our small town then. It was not just a cycle. It was my “PATH FINDER”. It gave me wings. It made me feel equal to the boys in our class. I was able to schedule my time since I was independent.
I use to roam around the streets behind the school in my “path finder” after the school hours. I visited so many small shops and collected charts, sequences, cards, satin ribbons, and glitters for all my science projects. My creativity spread beyond borders. When the teacher asked us to bring “Physical balance”, I was the one who brought a working model which was made from all the junk in the house. I was awarded 13 out of 10 marks(!!).
When I got interested in painting, my dad bought me a sketch set of 24 colours when there were only 12 colours available in general. He taught me Chess, a brilliant game which could be implemented in any given situation by the method of “approaching-a-problem-in-all-possible directions”. My dad made sure that at every stage of my life I was open to a totally positive atmosphere which brings out the maximum efficiency in me. Then arouse a problem due to sickness.
During autumn season, when they say, “The wind is strong enough to lift and throw off the stone grinder”, I was not able to ride my cycle against the wind. I had to go on leave for two or three days in a month when I could not ride the cycle. My dad pitched in with a solution for that also. There came my “PATH FINDER V2.0” a new “Bajaj Sunny” of course in my maroon colour. There were no words to describe my happiness. These incidents all happened with occasional visits from my relatives asking my dad, “Oh! She is grown tall and she has turned 16. We have a nice groom from a good family.” My dad made sure that they were lectured enough not to return with the same idea.
My dad use to stay awake late night with me since I am a night learner and get up early in the morning for my sister who is a morning bird. I cleared the school with good scores and got into a reputed college. Needless to say, I topped the class and got placed soon enough in a well reputed company. I proved to all that every child with good encouragement and motivation no matter if it is a girl or boy, will excel in their life. I refused to change my surname and my initial from my father’s to my husband’s after marriage.
Fast forward …… same sulking faces with similar dialogue for my daughter, “Oh it is only a girl but we expected a boy since the labour pain started early (?!)”. Is the world staying in the same position for the past several decades? After so many advances in science, there is still a group of Homo sapiens existing who regret having a girl child. I was given lectures stating that “Boys are the real ‘Heirs’ of the family tree”. So does that mean female DNA is brand new every time they are born and they don’t have any traces of their ancestral attributes? This is definitely news to the world.
I was more than happy when I came to know that it was a baby girl and I am determined to raise my girl with great encouragement and motivation and above all to be Independent.
I dedicate this blog to my father A.Kasiviswanathan.
Today’s changemaking organisation that we’d like to highlight is Goonj. Goonj works on a massive scale to direct old/waste clothing to more productive purposes, and on a regular basis, not just at the time of disasters.
One of their excellent initiatives is to help bring sanitary pads made of cloth to poor, rural Indian women, many of whom lack adequate hygiene products during their periods, greatly impeding their comfort and mobility. It has been well documented now that lack of such comfort during periods is a key reason for some girls dropping out of school once they reach puberty.
Besides these, Goonj has been in the thick of long-term relief efforts post disasters such as the recent floods and landslides in Uttarakhand. You can support Goonj’s valuable work through donations, contributions of usable material or if you’d like to be more involved, help organise a collection camp in your apartment/school/workplace/neighbourhood.
Pic credit Free Digital Photos
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Motherhood is considered a beautiful blessing. Being able to create a new life is indeed beautiful and divine. We have seen in movies, advertisements, stories, everywhere… where motherhood is glorified and a mother is considered an epitome of tolerance and sacrifice.
But no one talks about the downside of it. No one talks about the emotional changes a woman experiences while giving birth and after it.
Calling a vaginal birth a 'normal' or 'natural' birth was probably appropriate years ago when Caesarian births were rare, in an emergency.
When I recently read a post on Facebook written by a woman who had a vaginal birth casually refer to her delivery as a natural one, it rankled.
For too long, we have internalized calling vaginal deliveries ‘normal’ or ‘natural’ deliveries as if any other way of childbirth is abnormal. What about only a vaginal birth is natural? Conversely, what about a Caesarian Section is not normal?
When we check on the health of the mother and baby post delivery, why do we enquire intrusively, what kind of delivery they had? “Was it a ‘normal’ delivery?” we ask.