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Having a daughter should not be something to be consoled about. And a girl child should not have a disadvantage in the 21st century.
While lying on the bed of the OT, I was able to hear the chaos clearly and could see how everybody in the room was busy with their roles in the operation. From the senior doctor, assistant doctors, to the anesthesiologist, to the nurses, everyone was bustling with activity, except for me. I was busy too waiting to hear that beautiful cry, sweeter than the voice of a nightingale.
I was under the knife for my c-section and was numb from the waist down, but my brain was alert, my eyes were open, and my heart was beating. I was observing the room, the voices, the silence, the chaos. And a white board grabbed my attention; it was a summary board for the patient and the baby-to-be-born in the OT. My eyes got fixed to the label ‘Gender’ against the baby’s column. I started to wait keenly for that column to be filled by the nurse.
There was the cry I was waiting for, after ten more minutes of wait, she wrote ‘female’ there. I had mixed feelings seeing that – I was happy about being called a mother now, but not as delighted seeing the word against that label.
Please don’t get me wrong; I love my girl more than anything in my life. But, I am a mother too, and every mother wants the best for her child, and I know what a girl child has to face being born in an Indian family. If my family would not say anything, the neighbours would, if they spared her for her gender, the relatives would have something to say or the maid or the passerby, it is India, she can’t get rid of catcalling, deprecatory dialogues. I have faced it, my friends, my cousins, my aunts, my mother, we all have witnessed the incidents where people belittle us for being a female. Not just men, but women too belittle girls, pandering to patriarchy.
Women have been treated as a commodity in our country since ages and having a girl child has always been a matter of grief for the family in our society. Well, I wasn’t sure how my family would take her. I am called by my family a flag bearer of gender equality, but, a mother in me was in a dilemma, worried about her Lil Angel, about the treatment she would get. About the rough patches she would have to face throughout her life just because she is a female.
Back in the old days, people were pretty vocal about their likes and dislikes. They were not hesitant about expressing their opinion on subjects. But as the acceptance of these things has increased, the people are now very smart in showing their preferences silently in a best diplomatic manner. Just when I was trying to get over my fear, one of the nurses came in the OT and asked the assistant, “Kya Hua?” The assistant doctor said “ladki” And the nurse said, “oh! Koi baat nai.” And she looked at me with sympathy in her eyes. The look I was expecting! Hello! I have given birth to a girl, not an alien.
Next day one of my aunts came to the hospital to see me, and I accidentally heard her talking to my cousin over the phone. She said with disappointment, “Haan ladki hui hai, rang bhi saaf nai hai.” (she has given birth to a girl, and the girl is not fair either).
After few days we took the baby to the temple and there we met a lady who my mother knew, she saw me with the baby and asked while looking at the baby, “Kya hai ladka ya ladki? (What is it a boy or a girl?) I said, “ladki” (girl). To which she said, “Arey! It’s OK.” I didn’t say anything and ignored her.
Next day, a few transgenders came to my house on the occasion of the arrival of the new member in the family. They asked for 10000 bucks as a gift. To which my neighbour said while negotiating, (unintentionally I guess) “No, we will give ₹2000 only, not even a penny more, ladki hui hai ladka nai (it’s a girl, not a boy).”
A few months later I went to my aunt’s place, we were sitting in the living room watching her favourite program, and she asked me out of nowhere about my plans for the next baby. What she said was more disturbing, she said, “When are you planning the second baby? You have a girl, had it been a boy, things would have been different.”
In olden days, where people had a harsh way to show their disapproval. These days with time and thanks to the noise the kindhearted people are making against the gruesome acts of female foeticide, regressive minded people have become more tight-lipped about their beliefs. But they do not shy away from expressing their thoughts hypocritically in a softer tone, so that if ever get pinpointed, they can always retract and save themselves.
Among the bourgeoisie, people support equality in public, they openly declare a boy and a girl as equal, but behind the closed doors, deep in their heart, there is the prevalence of favouritism toward the masculine gender. And they express their hidden feeling very smartly, as and when they get a chance to, by showing their reaction to the sex of a newborn, for a boy child the reaction is “Arey badhai ho!” and for a girl child “Koi baat nahi!”
Is t fair to expect me to be happy about having a daughter in such a world?
Published here earlier.
Image source: pixabay
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