Today when I reached home, I saw a sweetmeats box in the kitchen. It turned out the guy who collected thegarbage, Vinod, had had a baby girl and had distributed sweets. I would have completely moved on and not thought about this had my mother not repeated this three times in a span of 15 minutes.
I stopped and turned around to listen to what she was saying. She went on saying it over and over again, with immense happiness in her voice: “He was distributing sweets because he had a girl. The first in his family in three generations.” Her incredulity and the unbelievable-ness of it. That, he, was actually glad of a girl!
I had to, then, point out to her that, in India, its the educated more than the uneducated who abort and kill baby girls for that famous ‘son’. India may ban sex-based tests but it still happens. There is no need for geographical discrimination within our country. A doctor, who is a friend of our family, had offered my mother, during her second pregnancy, the option of finding out whether the child she was carrying was a girl and to abort it, if the need be. A doctor was suggesting it and that’s how easy it would have been. She thankfully refused and today I have a 25-year-old sister, who I hope never hears about this blasted suggestion. And I have been unable to meet this doctor since.
Long live people like Vinod who celebrate the arrival of a daughter. And people like my parents.
And oh yes, when my mum was busy having kids far away from our dad, his instructions were explicit — ‘Should you have girl (at least the first time since during the second baby, he was around), please send a telegram and if it’s a boy, it’s ok, no hurry, a letter will do.’ Way to go Dad.