SALAD BOWL FOLKS!

Sakshi was pregnant with twins. She already had a son so she was hoping and praying for at least one of the twins to be a daughter. When her pregnancy was full term and in her last ultrasound she asked the doc to tell her the gender of her babies at least now. And the doctor admonished her “Do you want to have your delivery in jail.” For those who may not know here in India it’s illegal to tell the gender of the unborn child. The doctor and parents are both liable to go to jail.

Why? When this basic information is available to the parents in other countries and they get time to prepare for the coming baby why are parents in India deprived? The answer is simple. We as a society have been very unjust and very biased against the girl child.

Everyone wants a male heir. One who will take their family name forward. Female child is considered a burden, a liability. She is a child who has to be brought up and then married. She will then go to some other family and take her new family’s tree forward. She will not benefit the family she is born to. It’s true, even the so called educated middle class and rich class also have such a thought process. So what do they do about it? They abort a female child. Female foeticide and infanticide are more common in our society than we realise. And hence the law…

This kind of biased and crooked society really rankles me. I have had a discussion with a lot people on this topic. Once someone told me that I can be preachy on this topic as I have already been blessed with two sons. No point in explaining to that person that I would have been equally happy if I had two daughters also. I don’t understand. When we are all human beings, and belong to the same species why we are all not equal.

I think discrimination has been prevalent in mankind right from the start. All over the world we can see cases of discrimination against fellow human beings on basis of gender, religion, caste, colour of skin etc. If we take a look at the history of mankind many atrocities have been committed against other humans based only on some whimsical difference in looks or beliefs.

This Injustice has been carried on for far too long. We have to get rid of our prejudices and bring in a beautiful world. There are so many other pressing matters that we need to concentrate on. I mean take global warming or pollution or floods, earthquakes or wildlife Extinction or deforestation or so many other issues. When the existence of the whole world is at stake what does it matter whether the person next to you is a black or a white or a brown, a girl or a boy, a Hindu or a Muslim or a Christian.

My request to you all would be don’t judge a person by his or her looks or beliefs. Be just. If we treat everyone with equal love and respect, we will at least take the first step towards forming a just society.

Jane Elliot the educator and anti-racism activist has put it very beautifully.

“We don’t need a melting pot in this country, folks. We need a salad bowl. In a salad bowl, you put in the different things. You want the vegetables – the lettuce, the cucumber, the onions, the green peppers – to maintain their identity. You appreciate differences.”

OH BOY! IT’S A GIRL!

1st time in the labour room:-

Me: “Dr, what is it? I wanted a girl”

Doc: “Wait for 5 minutes.”

I apprehensively waited & the doctor said “It’s a boy”, showing me the baby.

My baby gender wish vanished the moment I saw my baby and held him in my arms.

Throughout my pregnancy, I kept praying for a girl. I didn’t like when anyone used to bless me saying, “Doodo nahao, puto falo”, which means may you bathe in milk and give birth to sons. In my heart I used to cry – why can’t people give blessings for a girl, why does it have to be ‘putravati bhava”?

When my son was born, most of the people said now that a boy is born first, I can sit back and relax. I kept telling them that being a female, I wanted a baby girl, not for any other reason, but fascinating about their endearing clothes, making their pretty hairdos, indulging in gossips when they grew older and all that.

2nd time in the labour room:-

I was pretty sure this time that it’s going to be girl. I bought some ‘pink’ stuff also. My 4.5 year old son and I were so confident that we named ‘her’ Zara.

The moment I heard my newborn cry, I sprang up to see and confirm if it’s a girl.

I shouted at my doc: “You delivered a boy, I wanted a girl!”

Doc: “I can take this baby in that case”.

Me: “No…It’s MY baby!” Everyone had a hearty laugh!

My husband and my cousin sisters were worried that I might go into depression because they knew how badly I wanted a girl and also planned accordingly. But, the sheer fact is that the moment you know you are carrying a life inside you, you fall in love with it, whether it’s a boy or girl.

However, the heart-rending truth remains that in many families, the male baby is given importance and that too at the cost of taking the lives of the newborn girls. Every time I read or watch any news of girl infanticide, I feel poignant and enraged.

How can anyone be so cruel and heartless to kill such a beautiful creation of God?

Instead of “Ladies first”, it’s “Males first” in our country. Even in today’s changing times, our society is so biased against the females. Many parents don’t believe in higher education for their girl child. Because of raucous boys, girls are restricted to go out after the dark, whereas the boys are born to roam freely anywhere anytime.

Even if a woman is working and earning equally as her husband, she is supposed to give her cent per cent towards her house and family members. A woman isn’t supposed to fall sick, whereas the entire house will be concerned if her husband has a headache.

And it doesn’t stop here; we have put restrictions on her during ‘those days’. She isn’t supposed to offer her prayers, just because she has got her periods. My mother used to say, “Why restrict when this is also a part of the nature?” True, if God isn’t biased, so why are you!

Times are changing. Our generation has been able to mould a lot of things, but still a lot needs to be done. The other day my son told me,”Cars are for boys”. I immediately corrected him, “If a girl likes to play with cars, she can. No toy is girl or boy specific, just like you play with your kitchen set, a girl can play with cars as well.” I keep telling him that girls are equally strong as boys.

She is the creator, the core of all relations;

She makes the world a living place with her emotions;

Everything is just beautiful when she is around;

She can do wonders, why do you frown?

Don’t cut her wings, you will cry;

For she is as good as a boy.

Let her live, give her a chance;

Else, without her we will go into trance.