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Girls have to make all the sacrifice - leave their own homes, family, parents and go to their in-laws' place. Is it surprising that parents want only boys, asks Radha Sawana.
Girls have to make all the sacrifice – leave their own homes, family, parents and go to their in-laws’ place. Is it surprising that parents want only boys, asks Radha Sawana.
Recently my brother got engaged. Post engagement, we all traveled to his fiancee’s quaint little hometown in Jharkhand to meet her extended family. Hers is a perfect example of the big Indian family, the kind where aunts, uncles and cousins abound. As I watched them, and her, I felt a familiar pang in my heart. Before I knew it, I had traveled four years into the past, to my last trip home as an unmarried girl. It was Diwali.
It was a special vacation, like every other Diwali. And then, it was a bit extra special, because it was my last Diwali with my parents and my brother – the next one would be after my marriage, to be celebrated with my in-laws. It was as if, this one time, it was less about Diwali, and more about me.
My brother was by my side all the time. We made wreaths of marigold together, while dad hung them at every door. Even these simple moments felt surreal, somehow. Did my brother always do all this work, or did he wake up late and crib about it? He even sat by my side for some time while I made the rangoli, and then made me wear a saree for the Pooja. “It’s our last Diwali together,” he insisted, “the least you can do is wear something nice!”
Shiva, the young fellow who helps mom in the house, also played his part. Don’t soil your hands, didi. It’s too heavy for you didi. Leave this, I will do it, didi. Leave that too, I will do it. Wait, let me fill up the colours in this design. You just go sit inside, there are too many mosquitoes here. I will do everything. Was I always such a princess? Maybe mom won’t really miss me after all, Shiva will do everything for her.
My grandmother too called in the morning. “Pay attention to the pooja proceedings,” she suggested. “You would need to do all that by yourself next year.”
Aunts, buas, chachis and mamis all called – “Rest up Radha, next year onwards it will be all work and no play in your sasuraal. Oh, how would your parents be feeling right now?!”
I wondered about that too. I am not quite sure about what my dad felt – he, like me, doesn’t express his emotions easily. But mom, well mom suddenly needed me everywhere. Is this saree fine? These bangles should go well with the get-up, don’t you think? What are you wearing for the evening? Come, let me show you how we arrange the thali for Pooja. Did you decide what rangoli you want to draw? We need to change the curtains and the cushions too! Did you decide what you want to wear for the evening? And after the rangoli is done, you need to put up the diyas outside. How many diyas do you want? I have three plates full of them. And, oh, What are you wearing for the evening?
Was it always the same, I wondered. Did I always draw the rangoli, and handpick mom’s sarees? Did I always oversee the cushion changing and the curtain hanging? And if I did, who would do it now, in my absence?
Suddenly, it all became overwhelming. There was a lump in my throat, and I felt uneasy. I wanted to cry, to go back in time and relive my Diwalis. I wanted more – more of my house, my family, of mum’s fussing and dad’s quiet attention, of my brother and Shiva and grandmother and aunts. It was so unfair, I wanted to cry.
The final straw was the phone call from my fiance’s parents, now my in-laws. They were so excited! We are waiting for you, my father-in-law said. Next year, you will be with us, and already we have imagined how it would be like to have you. It’s been a silent Diwali since Janhavi left, but now you will be here! We are so looking forward to it.
I am not, I wanted to tell him, I am not looking forward to your Diwali. But I just tried to smile on the other side. Inside, I was screaming. What of my mother, and my father, and their home? My home? What of my brother, I wanted to ask him, but I stayed quiet. Silently my tears flowed, as I nodded and smiled, and tried not to hate the voice on the other end. It had the right to be excited, I told myself. They gave their own daughter away to marriage, didn’t they?
And then, it hit me. Not like a thunderbolt from the outside, but like a sudden flood of understanding from the inside. I realised I could never blame those who wanted a son. Wasn’t it obvious? Sooner or later, daughters just left. With all their smiles, cheers, their choice of cushions and mummy’s sarees, they left. But sons, they brought another daughter home. To stay.
Earlier Published at author’s Blog.
Image Source Pixabay
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Born a bookworm, trained as a chemistry researcher, grew up to be a business professional, with some writer on the side. I firmly believe that all problems reside inside, and so do their solutions. read more...
Women's Web is an open platform that publishes a diversity of views, indivisual posts do not necessarily represent the platofrom's views and opinions at all times.
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My house-help asked excitedly, “I am going for wedding. Can you let me wear your red & black saree? To be honest I was stumped for a moment; I didn’t know what to say but I still said yes.
I lent a gorgeous saree to my house-help for a wedding in her family. Soon I stated getting questions if I would wear that saree again or if I was okay to be seen wearing the same saree my house-help was wearing?
We are all so conditioned to give our used clothes to our house-helps but are we okay to wear the clothes they were wearing?
A few days ago she came excitedly to me, “I am going for a family wedding. I want to wear your red & black saree, Ill wash and give it to you after the function. Please can you let me wear it?”
Sivaranjiniyum Innum Sila Pengalum (SISP) is an ode to all of the lost women, who could have been sports stars, singers, bankers, lawyers, doctors, just... happy, if they hadn't been enslaved in matrimony, and then forgotten all about.
One of the cool things about my mother was that she was an ace athlete and a champion sculler as a young woman in the 1950s and 60s. I only found out about this side of her a few years ago. I imagine her in a paavaadai dhaavani, taking on the mighty Kaveri river so many decades ago.
I recently watched a Tamil film anthology on SonyLiv that she would have liked to watch – Sivaranjiniyum Innum Sila Pengalum, (SISP) that has 3 stories of 3 different women – Saraswathi, Devaki, and Shivaranjini.
Like all the heroines in the anthology, my mother’s talents were sacrificed at the altar of matrimony. She pawned her gold medals and silver cups one by one to pay for expensive textbooks for us or a gift for a niece on her wedding, money for which she didn’t dare ask my father, because it was her niece… I remember how she caressed the cups and how her face hardened as she shoved them into her bag to take to the jewellers.
Times are changing and so are we... So what's wrong if I want a 'live-in-son-in-law' -- Ghar Jamai for my daughter when she grows up?
Times are changing and so are we… So what’s wrong if I want a ‘live-in-son-in-law’ — Ghar Jamai for my daughter when she grows up?
This thought crossed my mind as I was making my daughter sleep one night. Very lovingly she cuddled up to me, still holding on to my shirt, clinging on to me with one hand. I too lovingly brushed my fingers over her head. I couldn’t stop admiring this li’l apple of my eye for long (just like many other moms). I realized that time is going to fly and my daughter will soon grow up, and so I must treasure and cherish all these little moments between us before they pass by like a fresh breeze.
Life never remains the same for anyone. It is only in the moments that we must love and live life. Tomorrow isn’t certain and so we must love every moment as if it was our last. I told myself that just like me, even my daughter is going to get married one day and leave my home.
She decided to talk about it with Rahul. To her surprise he responded with, "What is the big deal, it's just four days! You can visit your family some other time of year. All girls do same everywhere."
“Are the patients over?” Dhriti asked in a foul mood to her receptionist. “Yes ma’am,” answered her surprised receptionist who was not used to see her in this mood.
But there was a reason for it.