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My parents were constantly asked why they only have one daughter. While their response was good enough, I wasn’t ever happy with it!
In this mockery that our society seems to have become, it isn’t enough to have a child, it isn’t enough to have an aankhon ka tara. And it isn’t enough to have an offspring who carries your name ahead and makes you proud.
Well, what one really needs is a son to stand true to societal expectations of ‘having a child.’ Are you also amazed at the double meaning or did you fail to notice it?
Take a look around and you will realise the deep-rooted misogynistic expectations by our ‘samaj.’ After all, manushya ek samajik prani hai (humans are social animals) and thereby we all need to fulfil or at least answer the questions of our non-related reporting authorities.
Since I was a child, I have constantly heard my parents being asked, beta nai hai? Bas ek hi beti hai? (You don’t have a son? Only one daughter?)
My poor parents who loved me unconditionally and supported me selflessly would reply and say, ‘Humari beti laakhon mein ek hai. Yeh humara beta bhi hair aur beti bhi’ (Our daughter is one in a million. She is both our son and daughter.)
They were never ashamed of me and neither did they deprive me of anything. My parents never even felt the need to have a son. They only said the last statement because society wasn’t ready to hear, ‘why do we need a son?’ ‘Why must be daughter be the son and the daughter?’ ‘And why can’t she just be my daughter who loves, supports and follows her duties towards us?’
My parents’ reply doesn’t enrage me much because they never left any stone unturned to fulfil my needs and expectations. It’s the society that still poses these questions that enrages me. We are in the 21st century and women have constantly proved their worth in every single field!
This soch continues to put pressure even on modern parents like mine who have supported me at every step of the way. They still can’t give snarky comebacks to people who ask them such questions. Such is the power that our modern society still holds, whether we talk about it or not.
The irony is that the above-mentioned questions have been the experience of most modern-day households. Households where, like me, other women too are accomplished professionals, all-time scholars and avid travels who are passionate about dancing, writing and singing. In a nutshell, this has been the experience of every privileged daughter standing on her own feet and supporting her parents – both emotionally and financially.
I shudder to even think about the plight of women who come from less privileged backgrounds than mine. Or the ones who are still fighting to achieve their dreams. I am sure it’s not a very great place to be in.
We can’t keep waiting for these things to change. To all the single daughters out there, regardless of your background, I just think we have to start fighting our own battles. Take the steering wheel and turn it the way you want to! Do not wait for society to change or for your pressurised parents to change their answers. Simply stop giving a damn and show them through your actions!
And ladies, if it becomes too much to take, do not shy away from answering back even when you are not the one being asked the questions.
When you look back, your regrets should be the result of your own mistakes or learnings. They shouldn’t be borne out of societal pressures, unrealistic expectations, and futile gossip.
You are stronger than you think even if someone stands by you or not. Not having a brother is neither your fault nor a matter of concern in any way. It’s just an indication of the unfulfilled lives of society that poses such questions.
Roll your eyes, come up with a snarky comeback or just mind your own business. Either way, you go girl!
Picture credits: Still from Bollywood movie Veere Di Wedding
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