Sheetal sat on her bed after a hard day’s work trying to catch up on her reading. Six months pregnant; with office and home both to take care of; she hardly found any time for herself. She was too busy being the wife, the daughter-in-law and the analyst at office instead of an expecting mother though she needed rest, pampering and peace of mind more now than ever at this stage of her life. But even the cramped schedule and the work load was tolerable when compared to the stress she was often subjected to concerning the gender of her baby. Though no one in her family or among her relatives would say it out loud in the open, she could see the signs practically each day.
Her in-laws would discuss names for her baby day and night and amusingly it would always be that of a boy. If she would begin discussing names of baby girls; they would put it off saying that bridge would be crossed if at all they ever had to go there. Ofcourse her husband was always by her side; her only support; he couldn’t care less if they had a boy or a girl. He only wanted both the baby and Sheetal to be healthy. But the people around her like her relatives would too toe the line of her in-laws in conversations and even gifts. Yes there was never a talk of a baby girl and if at all she would bring it up, she would be subjected to condescending glances and rebuking stares.
All these disturbed her; because if it were a girl in the end Sheetal knew the talks and the tones she would have to bear for the rest of her life. And that was not all; she and her husband would be forced to keep trying till a baby boy was born.
‘Ten fingers, Ten toes
She's laughter and teardrops
So small and brand new
And amazingly angelic
She's sent to bless you
She's one special Baby
The best of life's treasure
And will grant and bless you
Many hours of great pleasure’- Anonymous
We call our country ‘Mother India’; we are all born of mothers and we spend nine long months in the womb of a lady before venturing out in this world but still our petty egos and god forsaken outlook makes us wish for only boys to be born into our families.
I have spoken with many of my lady colleagues; all working in the big IT Industry, belonging to educated and well off families; and they all had something common among them; the fact that they were all expected to bear grandsons and not granddaughters for their in-laws. Don’t believe me, find out for yourselves in your offices or neighborhoods.
They are pressurized to such an extent, though indirectly, that they say things like ‘I wish I have a baby boy this time to atleast get them off my back!’ or ‘I wish I never told them I was pregnant’. It’s sad that an expectant mother is made to feel this way. Instead of rejoicing and soaking in the feeling; she takes it as a burden and a job at hand. Sad isn’t it that people such as these exist who can make even the sweetest moments of life turn sour.
The thinking and mind-sets of our so called city folks, isn’t very different from that which is existent in the rural and backward areas of our country. The only difference that might be is that the city folks more often than not do not have the audacity to compel their daughter-in-laws to go in for abortions. Ofcourse there are exceptions to this too.
Hypocrite is the one word that I find coming to my mind over and over again for us; for our own selves. Why is it so hard for us to actually move into the light from darkness? Why are we so backward in our thought process? Can’t we focus all this negative energy towards areas like fighting against unemployment or corruption?
We, Indians, are such that we will talk about issues such as these when a big celebrity comes out with some tears in his eyes to discuss it. But people please, don’t stop there. I realize now that each one of us has to bring changes in our thinking to actually create the India our children wouldn’t want to run away from.
An India plagued by evils like female feticide, Acid Throwing, Dowry and Bride Burning, Domestic Violence, Honor Killing, Female Genital Mutilation, Forced Prostitution, Human Trafficking , Marital Rape and Sexual Slavery to name a few shouldn’t exist anymore. It’s high time we change.
Victor Frankl said when we are no longer able to change a situation; we are challenged to change ourselves. So let’s wake up and resolve to bring positive changes in ourselves because it is only then that we will get rid of the curses of our society.