Thursday, November 10, 2011

Blessings - Of Krishnas and Lakshmis

A short story.

It had been two days that she had been home now. Her stitches were still sore from the episiotomy. Daily routines like passing urine caused so much pain and discomfort. But holding her newborn in her arms made her forget all that. She was trying her best to ignore remarks like,"how can she sit and eat when the baby is hungry and crying for food." She knew she had to eat well to be able to nurse the baby and to get enough strength to look after her two kids. She tried her best to remain calm, when they joked in jest," Now both of you would have to save enough for two dowries." She knew it was in everyone's best interest that she just kept quiet. And she did. She was offered to get her hair oiled and she accepted. That's when she was told why they didn't send the news to every single relatives and friends yet. "Pota hua to khabar bhejungi, bola tha maine sabko." ("if a grandson, i will send you the news", that's what i had told everyone). By the evening, she had heard it from each member,"humein to laga tha is baar ladka hi hoga" (we were sure it would be a boy this time.). And at some point, later in the day, these few were added too,"ab pehli baar to kuch bhi ho jaye." (doesn't matter if he irst born is a boy or a girl). It made her wonder the hypocrisy of it all as she remembered how in front a room full of an audience, she was told that one child is a blessing from God and is more than enough. Doesn't matter if it's a Krishna or Laxmi.. But she stayed mum. Hypocrisy or not, she was not supposed to voice her Question.

The real shocker came that evening, post-dinner. She had just put both her girls in bed. At the dining table, they were told to try for a boy next time. She, aghast, just looked at him. He reminded them that there was no surety it would be a boy, to which they had some nerve to say, "doosre mahine mein hi pata chal jaata hai.. And it's safe". They, then, went on with examples of such cases. Devastated, cursing herself not leaving earlier, she just left the room.. And cried .. The whole night.. For many a nights and days after that. She still couldn't believe all that conversation had actually happened. That they actually asked her to go for a female infanicide?!?
Would they have said this to their own daughter?

A woman with a daughter and whose daughter is a mom to a daughter... How can she even suggest such a thing to somebody else's daughter?

After many days of such rants, (yes, they hadn't stopped, even after his intervention. They would continue, sometimes behind his back) she, reluctantly, seeked to turn to their daughter. She being, her age, and being a mom to a girl in the same age group, would understand her dilemna. If nothing else, she would have somebody to confide, to be able to get listening ears to her emotions that she has been going through. So she shared her predicament, being a fool that she was. She forgot that with them, what one said becomes gospel for the rest. Be it a sheer lie, but together they would prove the other one, in front, a liar, a specimen of mental health. "A boy child would complete the family," she was told. And then and there itself, had wanted to shoot herself. This coming from an educated woman her age, who herself is a daughter and a mom! And with that and many such thoughts overflowing her little brain cells, she fought the PND. She refused to fall into the trap, when seeing her passing by, they would hold her newborn in arms and say,"we do not worry that you are not a boy. After all you are the laxmi of our house." Why? Why hypocrisy? Why try to appease her? The damage was done, slowly and daily, beyond repair. The thoughts never left her, long after the childbirth.

Fast forward to the present.. She recently heard the news.. Their daughter just had another baby.. Another girl.. Another lakshmi.. Everybody is rejoicing. She just has one question
Will they suggest to their daughter what they did to her then?

What do you suggest-a krishna or a lakshmi?

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