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What happens to a father when his daughter reaches the ‘ideal marriageable age?’ Does she become a burden to him along with the society?
“Women aren’t meant to do jobs unless the family is struggling for ends to meet. It’s the duty of the men.”
“Then what are we supposed to do with out education degree?”
“It’s for the better upbringing of your future child when you would get married to your husband. It’s for running your family smoothly. That’s our culture.”
This was the conversation I heard during my lunch today and suddenly I thought – Are my 16 odd years of education just a waste of time?.
If raising a child is the only use of a girl’s education, why is a girl allowed to become an engineer or an architect? Why don’t we enroll our girls into a parenting course and teach her how to be an ideal wife and mother?
I love my father and yet, lately, our thoughts are unable to match. As someone who had served the nation for quite a number of years, he had always encouraged me to be independent and to follow my dreams, even if the society holds you down. He was my 3 am friend and I could share anything with him. He would support me through a heartbreak or during a rough couple of days when my academics took a toll on my life or existential crisis in general.
That feels like a distant past right now.
I was constantly reminded of my age and the examples of my cousins who are excited about their supposed grooms. I was termed as someone ‘scared of marriage’ because I asked them to leave me alone while I follow my dreams. They say a father grows along with a daughter. Is it really? Or is the curve more gaussian where he allows me the freedom for the first couple of years and then try to cut my wings for the rest of my life.
My mother, who didn’t have the privilege of higher education, believes marriage for a girl is for security, social and financial. But why does a father who is more educated, socially aware and considered ‘the head of the family’, refuse to support his daughter after a certain period? Is he succumbing to the pressures of a society that always wants to suppress a ‘woman with an opinion’?
Fathers are daughters’ best friends but if the best friend refuses to understand your need of freedom to choose and live your life on your own, who would she turn to? How are you giving her a hope of getting an ‘understanding husband’ when you fail to understand her after she spent everyday of her life under your care?
Image source: a still from DDLJ
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