Going Beyond The ‘Shaadi, Saas, Satyanash’ Conversation

Can we please go beyond the shaadi conversations and teach our daughters this instead?

I wave my hands as my little one boards her school bus.

Once the bus has gone some distance I turn around and quickly go to the nearby park for a morning walk.

A few minutes into the walk, I hear faint giggles from behind.

Shaadi. No Shaadi!

Kyu? You don’t want to get married kya?

Nahi !!!!! Shadi. Saas. Aur phir Satyanash!

Achcha Saas ki vajah se. Haan vaise shadi ke baad life khatam he hai. Achcha slogan hai. Shadi. Saas. Aur phir Satyanash!

Another round of giggles.

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I turn around. I wish I could pass it off as a joke. I am appalled.

Two girls. 14 years maybe 15. Dressed in football jerseys and shorts, sports shoes on. What are they discussing? Marriage and mother-in-law! And the death of what could be an intelligent mind and capable human being, of course.

They are alarmed by my expressions. They stop and go down on their knees, on the pretext of tying a shoelace. I continue my walk. What can I say to them?

Shouldn’t they be discussing their running speed at this hour? A pending school assignment maybe? How tough is the football coach during training? Even an argument over the new dimpled boy in class sounds normal! But Shaadi. Saas. Satyanaash! This?

I complete my walk and look around. The girls are gone. My look shooed them away, I guess.

I am forced to think-What are we telling our girls? What are they observing? Most importantly, how am I raising mine? They are just 8 and 5 today but they will be 18 and 15 in a few years? How would their conversations be? Is there something I need to tell them?

I reach home and get back to my routine chores. In the following week, I go out to watch a movie with my family (I haven’t forgotten about the distressing conversation of the teenagers from the park). The movie is based on the life of a homemaker who dedicated her life to catering to the idea of a happy family and lost her identity in the process. A school reunion ignites her soul once again. I was hugely disappointed with the shallow treatment given to such a brilliant story. But something happened because of which I was prompted to write this.

My dearest S,

When you were a few months old, I would talk to you for hours and you would simply blink; People used to tell me- wait till she grows. She will ask you so many questions you are going to run for your life in the opposite direction.

S, you are 8 now and I can safely say I never had to run anywhere. Because you are perceptive; you always ask the right questions.

I have often met life answering those questions.

Like today, in the theatre.

While I was moping and kicking myself on why I booked the movie in the first place, you my girl asked me a question that made the movie worthwhile –

Mumma, why is this lady seeking her husband’s permission? If she wants to go to meet her school friends she can just go! Why does she need his permission?

S, You are so kind and you wear your heart on your sleeve, so much so that I worry about you a lot more than I worry about T. But today, you did not just ask a question. You relieved me of my most basic worry-How am I doing as a parent? Am I raising you and T well? Is my parenting turning you into a strong and confident individual?

I got my answer. I have nothing to fear now because your question is one that many women in this country are hesitant to even think about.

My charming little T,

I remember the day when you walked up to me with a simple question-Can you teach me how to make Banana Choco-chip cookies?

Mildly surprised by your request I pried a little-Yes, I can but why?

You replied confidently-I want to learn how to make them so that I can make them for myself.

I chuckled and asked again-You want to learn it for yourself?

This time you looked surprised, confused. Yes, for MYSELF. Why would I learn it for someone else?

My heart lost track of its beats engaging with your eyes that day. So bright, so clear about what you want for yourself. For yourself.

And that’s the thing I admire most about you, dear T. You keep your needs, and your desires above everyone else. And you can present them in a room full of people confidently and no one can make you feel guilty about that. You care for yourself and that is a rare trait most women forget to take care of, growing up.

My dear children-my lovely S and T,

 You are so wonderful what can I possibly teach you?

 But then I am reminded of my carefree childhood, my terrifyingly confusing adolescent years, and eventually the loss of a sizeable portion of my confidence as I adulted.

And I realize I may have something for you. Here are my two cents on life for you.

  • As you grow up, you will realize that the world is much like a challenging jigsaw puzzle. It confuses you. You make some choices and then the puzzle refuses to come together. Start again. Cry if you must because it did not work out the way you thought it would and then start afresh. Build your world again. Rethink your choices. Learn from your mistakes. But never stop solving the puzzle. Never give in to an overwhelming problem or situation.

          ‘Never give in except to convictions of honor and good sense.’

           (I did not say that. Winston Churchill did!)

  • So, read. Read a lot. The world is vast and vibrant, all waiting to be explored. It is much bigger than what you see around you. The quality of your thoughts shall determine the quality of your actions.
  • Learn to draw lines no one can cross in your workplace or relationships. Set a standard that people need to take heed of. As a woman, I rate drawing the line very very high in life. I feel all women must learn the art of drawing a line without feeling bad about themselves, early on in life. It is like a life skill! Because people can push you to the edge if you do not draw that line. Now, where do you draw the line? Anything that costs you your integrity and your freedom, that’s where you draw the line. Those are the only two things that lend the other person power to control you. And you will be surprised to see superabundant people like that, I assure you. Safeguard your integrity and your freedom. At all times.
  • Being free is one of the most misunderstood and unloved words in a woman’s life. When I say freedom, I mean the freedom to be yourself daily, like a way of life, and to maneuver your life towards a direction you think adds value to your personality and the world; independent of what others think or how they would respond. The people around you have so many views about how you must live your life! You can listen to them and politely refuse them all. I learned very late in life that being free is a matter of choice. You can start early.
  • Earn your buck and let no one stop you from doing that. A large part of your confidence stems from what you can do with your innate abilities and hard work. Party but make sure you are capable of paying that bill. The most important responsibility is to shoulder the responsibility of self. Let no person tell you otherwise.
  • Lastly, you may choose to wear the heels but also buy yourself a pair of good running shoes.

I love you and I have your back. Always.

Mumma

P.S. Late post for INTERNATIONAL DAY OF THE GIRL CHILD


Image Source: Canva Pro

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About the Author

Varunika Rajput

Varunika lives in the city of Mumbai with her two gregarious girls and her husband and is happily taking care of her nest. In a parallel universe, Varunika is the author of the book WOMEN & read more...

5 Posts | 5,174 Views

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