Gender Parity,  Parenting,  Popcorn Zone

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!


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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  • Muthu

    Ooh this is another one of the many paradoxical ideologies in our society that I loathe. We worship goddesses but have a particular skepticism towards bearing a girl child.
    Aptly titled and well written. I agree that should never matter if the shoes are pink or blue. It’s a blessing in itself

  • Krithiga

    It doesn’t matter if those tiny shoes are pink or blue.Rightly said.The baby has to be Healthy.
    Lovely daughters with caring parents:)

    Sriram & Krithiga

  • Shilpa Garg

    Yes, it should not bother anyone, whether the tiny shoes are pink or blue! I wish more and more people believe so. A friend gave birth to a daughter few months ago. The entire family including the husband mourned her birth. I shudder to think of the tough and trying times the mother faced. It’s sad that girl child is still not accepted in many families!

  • Rachna

    Oh yes, it was so prevalent back then. And here I have two boys and had yearned to have a girl. We have a long way to go with gender equality and acceptance of the girl child in this country.

  • Ami Bhat

    I have only one and that too a girl. I would not have wanted it any other way and if I were to ever have another one, I still would love a girl. It appalls me that while our country has grown some of the thinking has not. Well captured.

  • Shilpa Gupte

    It’s such a common story in our country . Daughters are looked down upon and considered a liability. And this happens across all classes of our society.
    You and your husband are such amazing examples for trying to change the mindset that a girl is a cause for concern and boy, a cause for celebration.

    • Me Otherwise

      Tulika, I have faced this twice in my life. Similar to your situation, we were two girls too and I remember my mom being constantly told on why she should have another pne- specifically a boy. The second time… which still goes on… is in my own life.

  • Lata Sunil

    My case was reverse of yours. A case of having too many boys in the family. So, when I was pregnant again, we prayed fervently for a girl. And when we had a boy, only the nurses were elated. Because, there are hardly any females in the family, even in the extended family. How I wish I had a baby girl. Too many boys is also a pain. Balance is important in society.

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