Monday, July 6, 2009

2 Sisters and no Brother, God be with your parents.

Among the innumerable happy and carefree memories I have of my childhood there is also one gloomy memory that is quite engraved into my mind.

Having been brought up in a small town like Ranchi has had its own share of discomforts. Most of it, I never experienced. Thanks to the warm and loving family I have, Neha and me have had a very protected, lighthearted, affectionate and independent upbringing.

Coming to the point of this post, the most common childhood question I have been asked by every adult I met for the first time is “How many brothers and sisters you have”, my reply would be “I have a younger sister”. My response had always been followed by a quick “what? No brother, oh no, poor parents, 2 girls to marry off”
The adult could be anyone – friend’s parents, new neighbors, some vague acquaintances and sometime some god forsaken relatives. But the line of questioning was always similar.
Not only me, even my younger sister Neha has faced a lot of these. This one question followed by a quick dismissal and then the pity has made me go through a gamut of emotions. From the initial confusion to irritation to anger to rage to the ultimate indifference. If anything this probing left me a little more determined to make a mark.

This was outside. At home it was a very different scene. Our little family was picture perfect. Neither mom nor dad ever seem perturbed that they had only 2 daughters and no sons. This fact never bothered them. In fact in more occasions than one I had seen them shut people up when they started the usual course of “Oh Mr/Mrs Bhatia, but why didn’t you try for a third child, didn’t you feel a need for a son?”

So when we weren’t bothered why were others? When my mom was happy with 2 girls, when my dad was proud of his 2 daughters, when neither Neha nor I felt the need of having a brother, why was the society so concerned?

Today, both of us are doing well. I am well educated, have a good career and am poised to do even better. I am financially independent and happy in life. Neha is all set to follow suit, having just completed her MBA. How is it any different from a family which had 2 sons? Now the same old folks come and congratulate my parents on the having the proverbial “well brought up children”.

Why I say this today is because I saw the familiar story unfold in front of my eyes. I thought the world had changed. But be in the 1989 or the 2009, be it Ranchi or Bangalore, something’s remain unchanged. In the play ground of my apartment, I saw a 5 year old subjected to the same line of questioning. The little one, who had an infant sister, was visibly unsure of what she had said that had made the aunty so abject, simply shrugged and went off. I smiled, because I saw yet another independent and confident lady in the making.

61 comments:

neha said...

good one..actually its better in our case..u know why, because i met a very proud but sad mother lamenting on the fact that she has two sons who are very far away from her..may be those parents having sons have expectations of full fledged families which does not happen in most of the cases..then whats the difference..anywayz, the best part is that i would not cry my heart out on my wedding :)

Indyeah said...

society doesnt change does it?
or maybe it is changing but too slowly ...

one wonders at the moronic questions..

betiyan beton se kam nahin hoti is a line I have heard on TV ever since I was kid in those public service ads...

Loved the last line :) made me smile :)

(((hugs)))))))
hats off to your parents for raising two amazing daughters:)))

Ekta said...

Such a wonderful post... There will be thousands of morons around, poking you with the same question.. You said it so right... society will ever change... even 20 years down the line... the thought process will be the same... I loved the way you wrote this. I simply loved it!

pujathakur said...

Coming from a 'nuclear' family where mom, dad, sis and me were the 'only' ones and no son to carry our family name forward... And yes, we had to hear the same stuff!! My parents always replied by a polite but hurt smile. But they too lost their cool once when a relative suggested that they adopt my younger uncle's son just to make sure that they do have some support in their old age!!

Aditi said...

Nice one! I totally agree to each word you said here.I have seen many such incidents happening and its truly sad.
A girl child is a blessing in every single way and am proud of our parents who have always shown so much confidence in us :)!

Kanupriya said...

... and the fetish for a "son" still continues, right here in 2009 too :(. Even I met a lady last week who is just of our generation, working & independent, has 2 yr old twin daughters but is planning for her second pregnancy ( in fact 3rd child) just becoz she thinks her family will be complete if she will have a son. I had no idea how to react on her statement except for a silent glance with an internal sigh!

Hopeless Romantic said...

we have a long way to go in changing such kind of ridculous and ill minds

FC said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
D said...

My mother is so glad she had two daughters - she has no DIL to adjust with and has all the freedom in the world to do what she wants to because her daughters are financially independent and married.

Iya said...

@ Neha – I know who you are talking about, and even that irks me. And I know u will cry at your wedding, u bet!

@ Indyeah – yes, its changing but the pace is killing me. Indeed I have wonderful parents, to have made us believe that nothing is a disadvantage.

@ Ekta – thanks so much. This is something I feel about very strongly.

Iya said...

@ Puja – I can so understand that.

@ Aditi – Welcome to my blog Aditi. Yes its all about what we have seen while growing up.

@ KAnu – yes it very much does. I pity such women.

Iya said...

@ Hopeless Romantic – looks like

@ D – unfortunately there are few like your mom and my parents. And this craving for a son is something which I have noticed is more prevelant in the womenfolk than the men.

Goofy Mumma said...

Ranchi? really? wow! Anyway, that's typical Indian aunty mentality... the thing is it did not bother you or the little girl and that is what really matters. These women are no good in life, have been and always will be a liability on their family, and think likewise for every other woman on earth. Pity them really!

monikamanchanda said...

tell me abt it... somethings never change... we are 3 sisters and i have been a target of this quesion way too often

and something never change... when ojas was born a lot of people came and told me that good that the first one is son u have no tension in life.. morons.. the anger in my answer used to depend on my mood and their fate

hugs iya

monikamanchanda said...

oh finally i am able to comment here

masood said...

Some things take so bloody long to change. Despite women exceeding on all fronts, our society is still stagnant on the whole boy theory!!! And only trust pesky useless relatives to bring it up!

Just call me 'A' said...

Times are a changing though slow :) but this perennial question will always be asked because there will always be a moron out there :)

Surprisingly...I've never been ask the.."Oh no brother?" question. But yes, I do see the expression when I or my sis say that we're just 2 of us :)

Society will always have a problem with something or the other.

mindspace said...

cheers to the families who never let their girl child feel any lesser..
the world indeed needs more girls. I would like to believe times are changing.

mindspace said...

n cheers to the post being picked by blogadda.. that proves that you are churning out words quite well! :)

Indyeah said...

Congrats on being selected for BlogAdda Iya:)
your post asked a very imp question..hopefully somewhere someday these words and these questions and all the discussions we all keep having will bring about a change ...

((hugs)))

Iya said...

@ Goofy Mumma – Why the wow for Ranchi? What am I missing there?

@ Monika – really, some things are so constant be it anywhere. I have a friend (a lady) who desperately prays that her first born be a boy, just so she can have the second one without tension…

@ Masood – it’s a sad reality but I am sure even a few progressive parents can make a difference.

Iya said...

@ A – you are the lucky one who hasn’t had to face the question..

@ Tara –thanks Tara. And yes so would I like to believe

@ Indyeah – thanks, yes if not today tomorrow things will surely be better.

Meira said...

Sigh! Our closest relatives begged my dad to 'exchange' one of his daughters with another 'lucky' relative's sons. The same relatives now look up to the two daughters who are now far more successful than their own children!
Bash em up!

Goofy Mumma said...

Its the hometown of my father, he grew up there. So I just have a soft corner for the place. hence. :D
And congrats about this post Iya. Your blog is really going places these days!

Goofy Mumma said...

Its the hometown of my father, he grew up there. So I just have a soft corner for the place. hence. :D
And congrats about this post Iya. Your blog is really going places these days!

Preeti said...

Iya ! thats sad but true ... I am from a family where my parents wanted to have a girl as their first born so they dont have to worry abt the second child ....

strangly my brother wanted to have a boy child ...and I if ever have a baby , will love to have a girl ...we both dont want two kids .

we have neighbours who had 10 daughter in the trial ....in the end doctor prformed tubectomy without tellin the mother :-)later they adopted one
of their daughters boy ...and this guy now all grown up curses his parents why they gave him up to the grandparents .. he miss his own parents and siblings !!

but people will never learn ...

Dil se said...

Iya: I can so relate to this. I came from a family with 3 sisters and 1 brother, brother being the youngest, and you can understand the situation that must have undergone here.
My mom was a very brave and educated women and still she had to succumb to the pressures.
Even I could see the joy on my MIL's face when she got the news "It's a boy !!" .The reaction was: "chalo ab chahe agli ladki ho jaye, koi dukh nahin hoga "
So, see our society hasn't changed at all in all these years.

Swaram said...

Oh Iya, we r two sisters too n people never change. Its only we who have to change ourselves na to just ignore them. Happy though that my dad n mom never ever felt that way n infact when one of our relatives said something abt having a boy, my dad proclaimed that if they wud even hv another kid sometime, he wanted that one to be a girl too :)

Smitha said...

First of all, congratulations on being featured in Blogadda!

Loved your post! Such a wonderfully positive post! Loved the last line!

I just wish there were more parents like yours who are ready to face society and have the courage to tell them off! When will people realise that daughters or sons - it makes no difference - if the parents treat them the same!

Fantastic post!

Meira said...

psst psst, My husband's from Ranchi.:D Small world, eh?

Rohit said...

yeah..after all these years ..still the same question. I dont know, but I can connect to that in a strange way ..we are 3 sisters and a brother..guess the worst part is as somebody commented above, even the so calld educated section is equally resposible for spreading this mindset..

Solilo said...

Iya, Had a similar discussion on my blog sometime back where people mentioned how everyone pities parents with girls.

Few fools in the society should be ignored because for every prejudiced people there are some like your parents who are proud of girls.

Congratulations!

Piper .. said...

congrats on the blogadda thing! :) and hey, we`re two sisters too and I know how irritating it is to be subjected to such a line of questioning!

Poppins said...

Oh my first time here and what a post! I have two daughters (as you probably know) and I'm hoping that they won't hear anything like that. I did get some "Oh you should have had a boy" but it was mostly from the help/semi-literate class.

And for them, it does make sense to say that, their women are still a troubled lot.

My own relatives were sort of disappointed briefly, only because everyone sort of wishes for one of each. Thankfully no one said anything nasty or hurting.

As for the hubby he keeps saying that he's now part of the prestigious dad-to-two-girls club - right from Obama to his MD at work :)

Deeps said...

Its been a regular sight for me too in Delhi..not directly to me though as I have a brother so my 'fits' into group,but these intrusions have been pointed towards my friends' moms many a times.
Its a sorry state indeed.
You know what,Iya..R & I have even come across people who beg on streets in Delhi...They would be opening their sentences by saying 'kuch dedo,apka agla bacha zaroor ladka hoga'.... and promptly R would hit back saying,'hamari agli bachi bhi beti hogi...tumhare kehnese kuch nahi hota!' its so annoying!

Deeps said...

oops lot of typos...what I meant was this..."its been a regular sight for me too while growing up in Delhi..not directly to me though as I have a brother so my mother 'fit' into the group,but these intrusions have been pointed towards my friends' moms many a times."

vandana said...

This is so true and so sad....but I know of few people who just do not want girls just because girls have to leave their home after they get married ..and even though son does too but still girls go to different family altogether ..now what can u say to this reasoning !!

Rush said...

well said ..i can totally relate to this coz my mom had 2 more sisters and no brothers..but did that change anything?
no...they were 3 proud daughters and still making their parents proud.
Its a myth, a society created jargon..people are always unhappy, if u have 2 boys or two girls..they will always have something to crib about.

Miss M said...

I have a younger brother and sometimes when my mom pampers my brother, I jokingly tell her 'haan haan, pamper him all you want now. But remember, I will be the one looking after you when you're old and not his wife!'

Hehe. :) And you know, having daughters is kind of a safety net I believe. Cos' daughters really are forever. God knows what the sons are going to marry!

Such a lovely post this was! :)
Have been reading your blog for quite some time now, but first time commenting. :)

WSW said...

I get you completely.
Am an only child. That too female.
Dont even get me started on the line of questioning.


Guess they can eat their words now.

~anu~ said...

OMG!!! way to go!! :) :) :) :)

Rohini said...

Ugh, I hate this attitude. When my son was born, I was most irritated by the congratulations like 'Oh you're lucky your first one is a boy. Now, no tension.' Gr....

Imp's Mom said...

sigh somethings don't seem to change, do they... but u knw...am seeing all around...with my friends and family and they all want girls and happy with just one girl too!

loved the last line... :-)

and congrats on being the pick for tangy tue!

Manish Raj said...

Hi Iya

It should not matter.

I and my brother (with Ma and Papa) lived in Patna. People used to come and ask - No sister ?

Mindset of people will change. Slowly but for sure, it will change one day.

d gypsy! said...

hopin d mindsets change

after my sis got married ( we are two sis and one brthr), people used to tell my mom

'gud, u done away wth one responsibilty'
my mom just says 'they are my assets, not responsibilities and i cant do away with them.. i wont ever'

Mampi said...

Iya, I have also faced the same question over and over again and to add to the problem, I had lost my father when I was 20, then on it was just the tch tch of people.
Bah
as if we cared.
Loved your post
and the end is simply smashing.

Iya said...

@ Meira – Rally, there are enough and more such around.
Wow about your husband being from their. It will be great to chat up

@ Goofy Mumma – its great to have found a connection.

@ Preeti – writing this post has brought out such strange stories in open. 10 daughters in the anticipation of a son and then adopting daughters son, can it get worse??

@ Dil Se – see, in spite of education your mom had go with your Grandmothers wishes. Reading all your comments has made me think even more.

@ Swarm – thank god for such parents

Iya said...

@ Smitha – thanks so much. This was a topic very close to my heart and glad u liked it

@ Rohit – that’s true, the craving for a son is not limited to the rural India

@ Solilo – thanks lady, yes my parents are proud of us and u are proud of peanut. Long live such mindsets

@ Piper – thanks ya.

@ Poppins – welcome to my world and thanks..
Dad – to – two – girls club sounds like the thing.. hadn’t heard this before

Iya said...

@ Deeps –exactly, such is the fixation with the male of the species..

@ Vandana – that’s a new logic, and I hope they are being true and not hiding under this cover.

@ Rush – actually I have never seen anyone being subjected to ridicule or sarcasm for having given birth to Sons!!

@ Miss M – I am so gald this post made you come out and post your views..
And its true, daughters are for ever..

@ WSW – bash them up u say!!! Yo to that

Iya said...

@ Anu –go where baby?? Y have u been missing??

@ Rohini – yes and I know educated women who opine that it is such a relief to have a boy as the first born

@ Imps Mom – thanks ya. Yes things are changing but the pace kills me..

@ Manish Raj- but I am sure there wont be any sarcasm in that line of questioning

@ d gypsy – see, that’s the attitude we need. There have to be more ppl like ur mom

@ Mampi – thanks lady. Yes, F Off to them and now I can say even more proudly. After all I am doing better than most of those so called sons!!

Jarlin said...

Wonderful post...But, I don’t think such differences are existing in these modern days.

Even if you felt it still exists, then the one who is raising such question / shocking reaction will be a “Woman” not a man. I’m sure. What do you think?

Dimple Dalby a.k.a Ms.trouble said...

I loved this post. The last line made me smile..

Mama - Mia said...

ah well! its all crazy! i know M got all envious glances etc at hospital because we were the only ones who had a boy around then at that hospital! grrrrr!

but things are defi changing! :)

cheers!

abha

Monika,Ansh said...

World has no changed Iya. I see this happening all over even now.

In a party a while back I even heard one of hubby's friends who already has a girl child, thinking of doing screening the next time around to make sure he has a boy. I just bit my lip as I did not want to spoil the party but I felt disgusted to the core.

indianhomemaker said...

Brilliant Iya, proud of you and your parents! I heard similar disappointment from everybody when my first born - a daughter was born. I was being reassured that this was only the first time by the doctors before anyone else :(

Loved how you ended it Iya! An absolutely awesome post!

Iya said...

@ Jarlin – u know these diff exist event today and not only in rural but in urban areas too

@ Ms Trouble – thanks, keep coming

@ Abha - Really , did that happen right in the hospital. Wonder why I am not amazed.

@ Monika – such people make my blood boil. And I have got into so many arguments coz of this. But I know that my arguing doesn’t change their mindset.

@ IHM – thanks lady. U have been missed. For daughters like u and me, the world might change someday.

Latika said...

I too come from a family of two daughters. Today, both me and my sister are successful young adults and are doing very well in our respective careers.

I am expecting my first child in January next year and these days I am subjected to comments like "Agar pehla ladka ho jaye to acha hai..koi tension nahi rahegi"....others pass comments like "mujhe lagta hai ladka hi hoga" thinking that on hearing this I will be elated or something. Little do they know such comments really make me sick to the stomach. Let me tell you these are not uneducated villagers who are passing such comments. These are the so called "educated" modern people of our society.

Wonder when will people realise that daughters are as good as sons...if not better.

Sara said...

Very good post,educated and confident women like you can show them that we're no less valuable than a son.But, things havent changed and will not change soon :(

Reflections said...

Very nicely written:-))!!!!

My family is just like urs...we are 2 sisters & yeah ppl jokingly asked if there wasnt a boy but my parents were cool & we never bothered to give it any thought:-)).

Lakshmi said...

Reading your archives :) I am one of two sisters too. My parents have heard enough of these too, but luckily they did educate us and enable us to be better than boys in our family. And good thing is I have not heard such a question as I parent two girls now :)

Anonymous said...

hi i m mother of 2 lovely daughters aged 4 yr n 1.5 years old loved by all in our family .But still i get to hear from my family n aquaintances to try again for a son too commenting that its very much required....i m kind of not at peace and thoughts of having a lonely old age for us after my daughters gets married disturbs me a lot.i live in a family where my husband n his brother contribute a lot for their parents,my bro-in-law too have 2 sons only.So a comparison comes in mind unintentionaly also n feeling comes that may be a son is a must for your old age n terms of emotional n financial support.i see mothers of sons are more confident n relaxed whereas those blessed with girls are to be more consious