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How My In-Laws Very Smartly Did Not Let Me Name My Only Child!

Imagine my ‘culture shock’ when I discovered that the husband’s family was a patriarchal, sexist, orthodox family with the pater familias ruling the roost in a tyrannical manner.

Chirag tale andhera (darkness beneath a glowing lamp). I am borrowing this Hindi adage to highlight the paradox in my personal life.

Yes, I am an unconventional woman (tad Bohemian) breaking shackles wherever possible. A milestone was opting for an arranged BUT unconventional ‘civil’ (court/registered) marriage.

I appreciated my partner’s endorsement of my decision. However, imagine my ‘culture shock’ when I discovered that the husband’s family was a patriarchal, sexist, orthodox family with the pater familias ruling the roost in a tyrannical manner.

As I have mentioned in my earlier posts (about my married life) by and large I received ‘gyan’ (lectures) tongue lashing, browbeating formy ideas, attitudes and overall conduct which they found irksome. I bore all this patiently.

And then I conceived

Nonetheless the watershed of my life (I consider it my worst debacle) was when three years down the line, I found I had conceived.

The atmosphere at home became slightly more bearable (obviously for the  sake of my unborn child). Little did I realize that the devil in disguise (my F-i-L) had some trick up his sleeve regarding ‘his grand kid’.

As a consulting anaesthetist, he had unlimited access to other branches of medicine. In all probability he must have pumped his colleagues – my gynaecologist and radiologist – regarding the sex of the foetus. Though PNDT is labeled a criminal offence, yet this heinous practice does take place clandestinely.

How they did this

I grew suspicious because as the D-day drew near, the old  venerable gentleman (PBUH) began flaunting girls’ names in the course of  casual chitchat and gossip. Strangely, never did he enquire whether or not I had any suggestions. Why would he? He was a Doctor (a demi-god)! ‘‘An  honourable man.” Like Brutus.

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Anyway, post-delivery, he seized the earliest opportunity to get my newborn’s name registered. I begged and pleaded with the partner to reconsider. But he would have none of it. After we returned home post-quarantine, I cajoled with the husband to at least let me pick a nickname (every Bengali has a nickname) for my baby. All in vain. This time it was the grandmother’s prerogative! I was shell-shocked. My world crumbled!

Motherhood has been glorified in every age and clime. It remains the  pivot point of dance, music, art and literature. And here I was being denied a natural, inalienable right. Why? Just because I am a woman in a Man’s world? Sigh!

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About the Author


Am a trained and experienced features writer with 25 plus years of experience .My favourite subjects are women's issues, food travel, art,culture ,literature et all.Am a true feminist at heart. An iconoclast read more...

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