Today I am not writing about my kids, my parenting goof-ups or hits. Today I am going to tell you about ME and how it was like in a parental household which had only daughters. No sons, but yes son in-laws today who are like sons. Yet, technically saying WE (me + younger sibling) are daughters to parents, who don’t have a son.
In a country which is obsessed with producing sons, where having a son is the stamp of success for the family and having a girl is the biggest burden, where complete means having at-least one son if not more, my parents chose to stop after my sister was born, 35 years back.
Did we ever feel the pressure, did we ever feel the boys-are-superior vibes, boys need more blah blah blah? Well, never in the confines of our parents’ house. We were never asked to contribute to household chore, which I did once in a while out of love for my mother. When she was unwell, when she was fasting. I remember my dad making somewhat squarish phulkas on those days, for that’s the shape he could manage. Can’t blame him, doctors only know how to cut and stitch back. Making things flat is complicated for them.
I occasionally massaged my mom’s tired foot and always lifted all the bags when we were out shopping.
P.S I hope my husband is not reading this, for I never do this, exclusively when I am with him!!
So we grew up with core beliefs that there is NO boys-are-superior shit. We ofcourse had many cousin brothers, so it not like we were growing in a cocoon. Ofcouse when it came to clothes, both me and sister had to comply moderately with the small town girl code. Beyond the initial rebellion, we accepted to fit in, only moderately still. And we were always accompanied by the driver or the loyal servant for parents believed that there is a certain amount of safely net that’s needed, for they cannot change the whole world.
That we are an inferior species, never crossed our mind, ever. Be it education or upbringing. We gave in our best when it came to studies, excelled, went ahead and achieved what we had set out for.
Fast forward 25-30 years, and I have only gratitude and respect for them which probably cannot be put down in words but can only be felt and perceived in every action.
My most ugly discussion with younger sister has been on grabbing larger share of days, when mom is visiting Mumbai. Yes, we both live in the same city. And we are still competing on who will call them first on their birthdays and anniversaries. How can we spread our holiday in hometown so that one of us is meeting them every quarter. The little knick-knacks we pick for them, wherever we go, whole-heartedly. The meaningful everyday conversation we have almost everyday. In short, I think we both compete really hard to fit in the jig-saw puzzle, to be present for our parents – in those moments when they needed us and otherwise.
As a girl child, did I let them down – probably never have, never will.
A girl is NOT a burden. This thought can only settle and become permanent in your heart if you chose to believe so. Parents have never had a control on the outside world, but they are 100% in control of their own attitude. Of-course financial stability in their old age remains one sub-conscious concern. However if you never chose to give sub-standard life or education to your child, because of her gender, she is going to be there financially for your when you need them. For she grew up with gender equality beliefs.