Recently I watched the movie Dangal. I know, finally! Five minutes into the movie and my heart goes out to the character Mahavir Singh Phogat. My eyes did swell when his fourth child was also a GIRL. Now wait. Don’t judge me before you read the whole post!
As I glanced left to my husband, my lips softly whispered, “Now even I wished that his want of SON got fulfilled”.
Even in the dark ambience of the theatre, I could see my husband’s eyes widen in disbelief. His pea sized small eyes looked almond-shaped at that moment. Obviously, my comment was emotional, empathetic, unreasonable, and unjustifiable. It was also as short-lived as my husband’s big eyes.
I am a daughter’s mother and anything that interferes with the existence of daughters, troubles me. The movie brought back to me one such recent incident. One of my cousins gave birth to a daughter and sitting amidst some relatives I said, “Oh wow, I should congratulate her.” The corner of my eye recorded a very unpleasant facial expression of an elderly woman. Not quite being part of the joy I was experiencing then, she remarked, “What is there to congratulate? This is their second daughter”, with a cold face.
Her eyes and mine met. My eyes obviously filled with disgust and hers with audacity. I was taken aback by the sheer courage she had to dismiss the birth of another daughter as ‘not so welcoming’. I had not even blinked an eye when another lady managed to hit me again saying, “Sai baat hai….ek beti toh thee hi, agar ab beta aa leta toh family complete ho jaati.”
Oh yes!, the ‘family completion’ statement. The euphemism for those who do not say directly that giving birth to a son is necessary rather they sugarcoat their hypocrisy by expressing their ‘want of son’ under the veil of ‘family completion’.
I kept mum and took the farthest possible chair to hide my angry face. My silence haunted me for days. And like the ghost of Christmas past, Dangal brought me face to face with this incident, again. I asked myself, Why did I keep quiet that day? Was I scared of my relatives or do I also suffer from the same ‘want of son syndrome’? Do I belong to the generation that deep down still considers it necessary to have a ‘SON’?
I reasoned with my conscience on priority. I have a girl child and Yes, I will try for a second child but thankfully I do not care about the gender of the child. However, if my second child is a daughter, will my family be incomplete?
How does any family gets completed? Are childless couples or couples who have just one child incomplete in any manner? Is any first girl child destined to be somewhat retard or lacking in intellect? Maybe she can only talk half sentences or make half-sense of the things around her or may be draw a half circle. And that is why a second child is needed…sorry…a second child who is a MALE is needed because only a son can then complete their family.
Funny thing is, parents with girl child/children only are advised to complete their families. Do try for another child, and let’s hope it’s a boy this time. The sister needs a brother. She will have no one to tie rakhi otherwise.
You want more funny. Listen to this. Parents of two boys have somehow got their families complete. No one advises them to have a third child for it to be a girl. Try for a third child. I hope it’s a girl this time. Who will tie the son rakhi otherwise? No. One never hears this advice. Why having children of both genders is not important to complete a family in this scenario?
I still fail to understand why a SON is WANTED? Is it because the daughters will not stay with parents till the end but the sons will? The sons will have wives to take care of parents in their old days but daughters would go in different families. If this is the logic behind having a ‘son’ as a necessity, then we as parents need family ‘insurance’ and not family ‘completion’.
May be the parents are worried about who will carry their surname forward if there is no son? Yeah right! If surname is so important then shouldn’t parents focus on achieving something that their names and surnames are remembered by the coming generations?
Look around. The boundary of differences between males and females is shrinking to just being anatomical. Sons and daughters are coming up with unique arrangements of how to take care of their parents. Not all parents who have sons are very well looked after and not all parents who have daughters are left to die alone. What happens to one in his/her old age depends on a lot of other factors like health, finances, family relations, etc rather than on what gender of child one has. And, don’t even get me talking on the examples of daughters who perform cremation duties of their parents. If you think SONS are needed to perform death rites for religious reasons, wait for my next article.
No one is new to how important the balance of man to woman ratio is for any country. There have been plenty of rallies, strikes, and national level programs to highlight the decreasing number of females per thousand males each year. Also, I am yet to come across any MALE who can reproduce. So, this is plain logic that the birth of a woman is as important in the world as the birth of a man.
But why have parents become so selfish that choices are being set in the birth of a human being? Were making choices on curtains, paint colour, career, marriage, clothes, etc not enough? For many, finding love, being married, or being able to conceive are much bigger challenges than choosing a gender. For many, becoming parents is a blessing and holding a healthy child is a far superior wish than focusing on pink or blue.
Some days back I saw a man on television. When his third daughter was born, he named her as Nalini, to mean Na-Leni (don’t want to take). He kept this name because he didn’t want a third daughter. At the end of that show he thanked his very same daughter as because of Nalini’s son, this man could get the opportunity to come on television, be respected, and be a part of a much bigger world than he had always been in.
At last, I just wonder, how long will society take to realize, “Gold toh gold hota hai, Chhora laave ya chhori”.
P.S: Agree or disagee with me? Or do you have an answer on why a SON is WANTED? Please share your thoughts.