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It Doesn’t Matter if Those Tiny Shoes Are Blue or Pink!

It Doesn’t Matter if Those Tiny Shoes Are Blue or Pink!

“Phir se ladki hui he!”(You have given birth to a girl again). This was the first thing I heard, when my second child was born. The duty nurse walked in and placed her by my side. I was exhausted after the long labor and was bleeding excessively. I glanced at her, all pink and tiny, when a single tear drop slipped down my eye. I was happy. My baby was just fine.

Hubby and I were elated when we realized that our second bundle of joy was on its way. The nine months seemed too long for us three- and my first born just couldn’t wait to include her yet-to-arrive sibling, in her game of Barbie dolls. However, the elders in the family seemed a wee bit stressed. It began with subtle hints and soon moved to more direct ones that this time around, the baby better be a boy!

Hubby and I seldom paid any heed to these words, as the reasons seemed absolutely absurd to us. “You already have a girl,” they would say, “and another one would simply be an additional responsibility.”

Their want of a boy stemmed from the following thoughts.

  • With the number of rape and eve teasing around, there is an additional responsibility of protection of the girl. One always has to be on tenterhooks when they go out.
  • Continuing the family name and the task of doing karma is on the shoulders of the son.

Brushing away this absurdity, in our own privacy, hubby and I would draw up a list of names- both for boys and girls. It didn’t matter to us- whether those tiny shoes were blue or pink!

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On a cold winter night in Delhi, my second one was born in the Base hospital in Delhi Cantt.., when the duty nurse loudly made the announcement that it was a girl again. I gave her a meek grin at that moment, out of exhaustion. The elders in the family hardly had anything to say. The celebration was kept minimal and the air of disappointment was evident.

Back in the gyneac ward, as hubby and I sat admiring the new one, the duty nurse walked in and asked me if I was happy. Of course I was! What more could I ask for. My family, all of four, was complete now. She chuckled as she said,” You would be coming back a third time!! I have seen the world.” We both sat gazing at the door, when the intensity of her statement actually hit us.

This is probably the story in many households in our country, where a boy is preferred over a girl child, more so when it is the second time around. And this thought process is prevalent in every strata of society- doesn’t matter whether they are educated or not, doesn’t matter if they are in their 30s or in their 60s.

I probably consider myself lucky that my husband belongs to a generation where the gender of the child absolutely did not matter. I also consider myself lucky that despite the disappointment; the elders in the family came in terms with it and today are absolutely adorable grandparents to both my girls.

Yet, things are not the same for many other women in our country.  A girl child could actually spell doom for them, especially if the first born is already one.

Social campaigns have played a major role in changing mindsets and reduced the stigma attached to giving birth to a girl. Still the birth of a baby boy is accompanied by celebrations and the arrival of a baby girl elicits mixed reactions. What really needs to happen is a change at the grass root level, where we need to evolve new thought processes and advocate these to our next generation. It is only then, would we actually stop bothering, about those tiny shoes being pink or blue!

I shall leave you with a video that speaks volumes about the existing thought process. Brilliantly made by “Grey India”.

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Really Educated? #AtoZChallenge

Really Educated? #AtoZChallenge

rReally… Are we actually “educating” individuals, or merely “qualifying them”, piling on degrees after degrees? 

I bumped into Mrs. S at a birthday party yesterday. We aren’t really friends but have had a long association, professionally. A lady with a motor mouth, who seldom knew what diplomacy, was. And anyways in kiddo birthday parties, amidst all the screams and squeaks of children, her loud voice may really not bother you much.

It all started with someone complimenting my prettily dressed girls. “How cute little girls look in party frocks, shoes and shimmers,” he said. Mrs. S took no time to respond to this statement. “Girls would be cute and a pleasure now when they are young. It is only as they grow older would you realize the issues. You would have to keep a watch on where they go and whom they meet. And then the expenses you have to incur on them- spend on their education, later get them married, another expenditure on “Godh Barayee” (Baby shower equivalent in India) and later on her child. It is never-ending. I am glad I have a son.”

The group present just disapprovingly said, “Come on, things have changed”. And the conversation ended there. I of course was not really surprised. There are many such people in our society who think in a similar fashion. But here is what struck me odd. 

Mrs. S holds a Masters in English Literature and an MBA in Marketing from Patna University. With a double degree she worked as a high school teacher. So if this was the thought process of the “qualified” individuals of our society, is our education system actually in place? Are we actually “educating” individuals, or merely “qualifying them”, piling on degrees after degrees?

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Shouldn’t our education system be focussing on bringing out better thought processes, so that something more positive could be done for the society at large? We need to make our whole education system effective to tackle mindset issues that are prevalent. 

That’s real education!!!

4 Main Reasons Why Indians Prefer a Son

4 Main Reasons Why Indians Prefer a Son

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “First Light.”

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To Prime Minister Modi’s “Beti Padao Beti Bachao” scheme.

As a mother of two girls, all through the years, I have had people telling me, about the importance of having a son. So last week I decided to chat up with people I know- both young and old- to understand what the actual thought is. And I must say I was appalled at what came out of it.

When I was expecting my elder one, the “renowned” elderly women of my colony would often judge the shape of my pregnancy bump “Mubarak ho, lag raha he pehla bachcha ladka hi hoga”, (Congratulations, looks like your first born is going to be a boy). I used to brush this kind of statement with a smile. Hubby and me never really bothered about gender and were more concerned about sailing through pregnancy and delivery smoothly. Of course I proved their prediction wrong and gave birth to a beautiful baby girl. Their first reaction post delivery was, “Yeah kaise ho gaya? Tumne Krishnaji ki puja ki hoti tho aaj Bal Krishna tere godh mein khel rahe hote.”(How did this happen? If you had worshipped lord Krishna, today he would be in your arms).

When I was expecting my second one, my household seemed tensed (except for hubby and me). My parents-in-law wanted their dear son to have a son. It was of importance to them. Hubby and I of course seldom bothered. When the second girl was born, no one said anything. The celebration was kept minimal and the air of disappointment could be felt.

This is probably the story in many more households. People don’t really neglect the girl child once born, but a male child is often preferred. And these kinds of individuals are present in every strata of society-doesn’t matter whether they are educated or not, doesn’t matter if they are in their 30s or in their 60s. The thought still prevails.

So here are the reasons people resonated.

  1. Economic factor: The traditional social set up focuses on the son being the main bread winner of the family. He is expected to earn and take care of his parents in their old age. When I mentioned the fact that girls are financially independent today and earning their own living to a 60 something Mrs. Tiwari in my colony, here is what she had to say, “Beti kama bhi leti he, tho usse thodi paise lenge. Damaat kya sochega?” (Even if the girl works, how could we take money from her? What would the son-in-law think?)
  2. Higher financial liability on the daughter: Here is another ridiculous reason I heard. It is more expensive to bring up a girl child. Not only do you have to educate her, you also have to save up for her marriage and may be for other occasions in her future life.
  3. More responsibility and more cautiousness with a girl child: Ok so this reason beats it all. Girls are an additional responsibility. With the number of rape and eve teasing around, there is an additional responsibility of protection of the girl child. One always has to be on tenterhooks when she goes out.
  4. Reasons resonated by the elderly. Continuing the family name and the task of doing karma has always been on the shoulders of the son. This is still something people are concerned about, despite girls now coming forward to do the last rites of their parents. At least I was happy that the young educated individuals I spoke to didn’t advocate this much.

I have learnt one thing after this exercise- Schemes will be launched in plenty by the Prime Minister. Schemes would come and go. But what really needs to happen is a change from within each one of us. At the grass root level we need to evolve new thought processes and advocate these to our next generation. It is only then would issues such as gender biases cease to exist.

I shall leave you with a video that speaks volumes about the existing thought process. Brilliantly made by “Grey India”

Linking with : http://www.writetribe.com/write-tribe-pro-blogger-challenge/