Monday, March 7, 2011

Of Daughters and Sons

There was much celebration in the house. The mother had been blessed with a baby boy. The baby was doing well and so was the mother. All relatives were rejoicing. Someone said – It’s good that the first born is a boy, now no one needs to worry about what the next will be. And others vehemently agreed.

And a couple of years later, a girl was born too. It was the proverbial “complete family”. All efforts were put in to provide the best in class education to the boy. The best school in town, the best college in the country and then a foreign MBA. The girl got a raw deal in comparison. Being a girl she wasn’t allowed to leave her small town to big bad world of Delhi or Mumbai for higher studies. She managed. Completed her graduation and started working in a bank, and slowly and steadily made her way up.

Both the children got married. The boy is settled in USA with his wife and a son. His trips to India are random, about one in 2-3 years. His parents have never visited him. They don’t even have a valid USA visa. The girl got married too. She has a daughter.

It’s been 35 years since that blessed son was born. The father is now heart patient. He suffered a stroke followed by a paralysis attack and then failed kidneys. He has to go for dialysis regularly. The mother is fighting cancer and is undergoing Chemotherapy. She also had a mighty fall and broke her hip and thigh bone. An iron plate and rod has been inserted and she has been put on bed and has been advised no movement what so ever.

The daughter has been living with them, since the first stroke happened. She had come to take care of the father with the intention to return as soon as he recovered. It’s been 3 years ever since. In these 3 years she has taken a job transfer back to her parents town. Her daughter now goes to school there. The husband lives in another town and visits them every weekend. Her whole life revolves around her parents. The son “has not been able” to visit even once.

And still our society craves for a son. They reason – “who will take care of us when we are old and frail? The daughter will be long gone”. This is a true story. It’s happening with someone I have known for over 15 years. The desire for the son is still very strong. It doesn’t matter if we are in the 21st century already. Can we for once treat children as children? Can we for once provide them equal opportunities? I am in no way typecasting all sons in this bracket. I am just narrating a true story. Think about it… 


soul speaks said...

Hi Iya, I know many real life stories like this going around me. Infact my own story is the same, we are two sisters and my father always lamented not having a son, but it is me and my sister who is taking care of my parents, and beautifully at that. I have a great career, I get many opportunitites to move out of Delhi, sometimes India, but I never did and shall not do till the time I have an option to take them along.. I also have two daughters and I am thankful to God for that. No regrets whatsoever for not having a son...ever... Hugs to you.

womensweb said...

Thank you for your entry Iya.Thought-provoking story indeed.

Prats said...

Just one word for the story- Sad.

Agnija said...

Hmm.. I agree. When my Dad fell sick for the first time, the doctors did not give him his options. They asked "Do you have a son who can bear the expenses?"! I am glad my Dad had just us girls. I found many of my friends who had grown up with boys suffer worse fate at home than those like me!

Ugich Konitari said...

Loved this post !

I have brothers , but my parents brought me up almost like a third son, giving me all the opportunities the sons got. The siblings are abroad, and although they came for short periods of caretaking, I was honored to be the sole caretaker of my parents in their last days, shuttling between 2 cities. My mother passed away first, and my father was alone for 6 years after that. I was mostly there, but I was completely disgusted with various relatives who would come and openly ask my dad if he didnt think one of his sons should have returned back. This too, when I was sitting right there. I once asked them "Who do think I am and why do you think I am here ?" after which they all disappeared , muttering about me.

So while some sons may knowingly avoid responsibility, some manage to make frequent trips, but it is our society which refuses to change, understand or sometimes even shut up and keep quiet......

Anonymous said...

brilliant post this is exactly what I keep saying all the time...

god knows why we prefer one over the other :(

congrats on the blog adda pick

Anonymous said...

It is at such times when these lyrics from a very very touching song come to my mind

Boys you can break
You find out how much they can take
Boys will be strong and boys soldier on
But boys would be gone without warmth from
A woman's good, good heart

On behalf of every man
Looking out for every girl
You are the God and the
Weight of her world

So fathers be good to your daughters
And daughters will love like you do
Girls become lovers who turn into mothers
So mothers be good to your daughters too
- Daughters bu John Mayer

Lovely post Iya, this just proves that there is no limit to how much a woman can give and give up .... Trupz

Raksha Bhat said...

These days its a fact...the daughter is the one who looks after the parents...daughters are a blessing indeed:)

Indian Home Maker said...

I too know many such daughters. I think these women are slowly changing the way a small number of Indians are seeing their children.

Without this change we have a nation going towards a situation like in this movie, Matrubhoomi - a nation without women.

Pinku said...

lovely post Iya....

and this story is true in thousands of homes across the country and yet society cant stop craving a baby boy.

I hope your friend has the courage and patience to carry on alone. Am so glad she has a caring enough husband who is willing to take the trouble to live alone and shuttle between cities on weekends.

My salutes to that 'boy' who can feel for his in laws.

Jill said...

What an interesting and sad post.

I have recently visited India from here in Australia.
I feel blessed with the freedom we have but equally not the strength of the INdian family bond.
All cultures can learn from eachother.

I am following you now.
Feel free to drop over to our child friendly blog too.

Sue said...

While there are men like the son, there are also men like this son-in-law... This girl that you write of, I hope she receives the same love and care in her time of need. She deserves it.

Anonymous said...

If you ask me, bloody hypocrites. Don't get me wrong, I am an Indian woman, brought up in India, and saw this everywhere. I am having my first kid now, and its a boy, and so many people who came to wish me and my husband during our function said lets hope its a boy (we didn't know the sex of the baby then). Most of them making that statement were women. I couldn't keep my mouth shut now, could I? Nope...had to retort back saying, why should it be, you are a girl, I am a girl and my husband married a girl. A girl would be great. If a boy or girl, it doesn't matter to us. we were a girls only home (excluding my dad of course)...

Funny enough though, this is not an Indian only mentality. I live in the US (ever since I came for my higher education), and I know friends from other Asian places, even traditional European, American and other families, who say the exact same thing...a boy heir!! What nonsense!!!

Thinking by living said...

Sad but a very true perspective. I have seen this repeated in my circles far too many times. I guess the mindset has changed over time, but it will take some time.

Good write.

Raining Fresh Daisies said...

I totally agree with you!

Me, being the daughter of my parents and that too the only child have never felt any less in being there for them.I just dont understand the fixation with a son.

Now am gonna be a mommmy too and the questions from everywhere has already started - " what do you prefer"? Am appaled at the question. Every child, whether girl or boy is a gift that we have to readily accept and just hope that God bestows the child with good health.

Thank God that sex determination is banned in India, though I have heard to stray cases where people do insist on knowing the sex of the child.

All I can say is parents, in-laws of another generation will never change. Its upto us- the so called educated, post graduate ( in most cases), career Women (and Men) to stand up and speak for their child and accept God's gift whole heardtedly.