Confession

She’s become my life ever since I held her first. She’s the reason I am. Her smile fuels my day.  Her welcoming giggle is the reason I run back home. Seeing her snugly sleeping in my lap is the biggest comfort in the world. A slight discomfort to her is enough to leave me sleepless. She’s the best thing that has happened to me and my husband. ‘I love my daughter’ would be a lesser phrase to sum up what she means to me. And ‘m grateful to God for blessing me with Hiyashaa.wowbadge

Hiyashaa, is the culmination to two Hindi words – Hiya (Heart) + Asha (Hope). With this I come to the title of this post – Confession.  Confession that she’s is not my Hiyashaa. She’s not the hope of my heart. She’s not what my heart desired. Yes, I didn’t want a girl. My husband most eagerly did. And am glad, God said yes to his ‘Hiyashaa’. The reason why I didn’t want a girl isn’t because I hate girls or that I propagate gender discrimination.

Many would think that I am just playing with words trying to camouflage my desire to have a boy for “obvious” reasons. But being born to parents who have always been proud of having two daughters, I could never even dream of choosing or playing favorite to a gender. My mom tells me that other moms in the family often refer to us saying, “If daughters are like Charu and Rupali (my sister), we ll be happy having daughters.” That’s precisely because of the way our parents raised us – with equal opportunities and hell lot of freedom to grown into responsible and sensitive women.

But despite having parents, who were proud to have daughters 29 years back, I didn’t want a daughter for myself. I didn’t want a baby girl because I was afraid. However, this wasn’t my ‘Hiyashaa’ the day I got pregnant. A happy and healthy child was on my mind on that day and thereafter, though my husband always wanted a princess to pamper. It was long that I had forgotten what I had gone through during my growing up years in Delhi. From being groped in crowded places, being rubbed and felt in the infamous DTC and Blue Line buses to innumerable inappropriate touches. I remember my 10 years old cousin trying to convince her mother for not going to India International Trade Fair (IITF) at Pragati Maidan, ever in her life. She was too young to explain that she was molested but her mother understood. They never visited Trade Fair again, which was otherwise an annual picnic for the family. But could that mother keep her daughter home-bound always? No. All of us went out and fought our battles. Sometimes kept quiet, sometimes taught the perverts a good lesson. Finally, we grew up, the nightmarish buses gave way to my Alto, college ques were replaced by comfy office premises and Delhi was replaced by Mumbai. A lot changed, which was enough to make me forget the shit that we had to face.

It was in the beginning of my second trimester that the news of a gang rape in Delhi flashed everywhere. My husband did his best to shield me from the news considering my sensitive pregnant self. Fortunately or unfortunately, thanks to the information overload, I ended up following Nirbhaya’s case closely. Was their a choice? I’m sure every woman in India, must have been doing the same. Add to it sudden spurt in news coverage of rapes of all kinds (young women, 60-year old and even 2-3 years old girls) kissing headlines everyday – it was then that my subconscious mind started praying for a baby boy.

Was I wrong in wishing that? Reading about a school girl raped by her bus driver or for that matter reading what happened with Nirbhaya will give shudders to every would be mom. Soon, Hiyashaa came in to our lives and I forgot everything once again. Blame it to human tendency, we get too comfortable, too early. All was well till I was on my maternity leave. But all good things come to an end. Soon, I had to join back work and we had to take a call on leaving my daughter with a maid at home or at a day care. Fear struck again. Right now I have my mother taking care of my daughter and I’m diligently working in office. But soon she’ll go back. What then? Will I be able to leave my daughter among strange people at the day care? If not, then how would I leave her alone with my most trusted maid, when we have the doodh wala and laundry guy knocking at our door everyday. My building has a swanky security system. But can I trust that security guard? I doubt. I’ll quit work, is what we have decided. But just like my mother, even I won’t be able to hand hold my daughter forever. It is sickening to think that the state of men in India is as grim today as it was during my growing up years. It’s worsening, perhaps! I’m sure!

I remember a male friend moving to Mumbai after he got married as he claimed that Mumbai is much safer a place for women than Delhi. But what happened a few days back with a journo in Mumbai is enough to tell that it’s not about the city but about the “citi-zens.”

Now, you tell me – was I wrong in wishing for a boy? After all, having a boy I could have got a chance to raise a responsible man, who would respect women. Now, that I have been blessed by a girl, I’ll have to teach her about touch (good and bad), pepper sprays, self defense, caution, clothes, look,  safe-unsafe places and of course men of all kind (pedophiles, perverts, rapists) – Oh there’s so much! Whereas, being a mother to a boy all I had to teach him was just one lesson – respect women. Isn’t it much easier?

That’s why I didn’t want a girl.

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22 thoughts on “Confession

  1. Great thoughts Charu! Completely agree with you. We live in fear today – each one of us. But, like you said – at the end, its about ‘her’ fighting the battle alone. If not now, when shes grown up – she will be by herself. A sound counselling and self defence classes will go a long way in addressing this problem for the girl child.

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  2. I share the same fear as you! I also wanted a boy for the same reason but everyday I thank God for giving me a girl coz I don’t know if I would have connected to a boy the way I connect to her. She is my world! And I will pray each day and make every effort to make her strong enough to fight the big bad world!

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  3. Well written piece Charu…. Straight from the heart. God had other wishes for me . He bestowed me with boy and like you we two sisters have gone through lot of rough deals. I will surely raise my boy as a responsible citizen and yes not to be responsible brother, son, colleague, life-partner for the princesses around her but to be responsible human being for the entire world of Princesses ………..

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  4. Charu… I respect your feelings but don’t ever say this again.. you are wrong by saying that you never wanted a girl child… Charu being a mother of a son I will tell you these things happen to boys too. I agree that the %age of happening is lesser but yes; it happens with boys too. Being a mother or a son its my duty to teach the lessons of morale policing, gender equality and using his charming senses properly while respecting a lady’s dignity. I always wished to have a princess but fortunately or unfortunately He ignored me and you both were the ones God Almighty chose to bless with…. A PRINCESS….

    Charu.. I am really “J” of you all women (Neha, Himani… and now You) who belongs to the series of parents who can always say “SONS ARE FOR WIVES AND DAUGHTERS ARE FOR LIFE”

    Enjoy your motherhood and feel blessed with a companion for life…. May God bless you both and give a safe and long life to Hiyashaa….

    Never ever say this again… its unfortunate what all these girls went through and may be by the time Hiyashaa grows up we all mothers wud have succeeded in making our sons responsible enough to protect girls like Hiyashaa and not to look at them as sex toys….

    May God give me the courage and strength to make my son A RESPONSIBLE MAN…..

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  5. Your post is straightforward and to the point and I agree with your points. The choice of gender of the baby cannot be chosen but the recent spate of brutal incidents sets us to re-think. But how long can we avoid wishing for baby-girls?

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  6. How thoughtful, Charu. And how dreadful too. Suddenly, all kinds of nasty thoughts come to my mind — a growing cousin ‘touching’ me when in std VIII. Another cousin trying to grope, post which I cried my heart out to my mom to take me back. The disgust of not wanting to get into a bus, packed with people. Waiting tirelessly for an empty bus to come along. That fear that gripped me every time my work meant that I had to go home at 8.30 – 9 pm in Delhi… how I moved jobs simply cos I couldn’t have put in those unearthy and odd hours… I can absolutely agree with ur fear of bringing a daughter into this unsafe India.

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  7. Well said Charu… raising a girl has lot more responsibilities and I bow to my mother for raising three of us..
    the desire for having a boy is the same as in old times, the reasons have though changed.

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  8. i have just one word for all the words that you wrote here ….. TOUCHED
    Beautifully connected thoughts charu,fantastic work.
    Listening to all this scary events,makes me wish for a boy too,
    but the love and bond that daughters share. can never be matched with that of a son.
    So bhagwaanji ,just bless me with a healthy child when its time .

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  9. Article is really good, make us to ponder – what we really achieve – Bad memories and bad after thoughts for rest of life – for both – one in jail and other in normal life.

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  10. Well written charu. I’m sure most parents will agree to your thoughts. Well, I wished for a girl and got a boy! Now I’m relieved. I’m the other side of your coin! The only promise to all girls out there is I will educate my child to respect and treat girls with dignity. Also to fight any injustice against them. That is the least we can do.

    Love you to and your sweetie pie :*

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    1. Thanks for dropping in New Mom. I am really worried. I can teach my girl self defense, I can teach her to shout, good touch, bad touch but won’t she fall physically weak in front of a monster four times her size. Nothing is in my hand is what worries me. You are right, we need to teach our kids to be sensitive to the other gender.

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  11. Nice confession Charu. I can understand your fear Charu. I am also having a 21 months old baby and I too have gone through all those things, and even I too fear about all those things which you do, but then fearing so much will not allow us to live happily in this world. We will have to make our daughters stronger so that they can easily face all those things….

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    1. Alok, I agree with you. And I will teach my daughter all the self defense techniques, good touch bad touch, to fight back etc. Even the mother of the Bangalore girl must have planned all that but she got late. But will my 2-3-4-5-6-7-8 years old girl be able to fight a man double or even triple his size? Does she deserve to live in the constant fear of someone treating her so brutally and constant pressure to save herself? I think inculcating sensitivity towards the other gender is the need of the hour.

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  12. Thanks for writing this as a guy who never faced such issue and who is dad of a girl now would have never thought about these challenges even though news about such incidents flash every day but since they lack that emotional touch one hardly feel connected to it but your article has made me to start thinking about all these challenges that my daughter would face and start considering my options.

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    1. Thanks for writing in Irfan. My intention behind writing this wasn’t scaring people, but making them think! And pls do come back here and share the solutions that you find to this. I would love to read as I am short of answers.

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  13. I have a daughter and I constantly wish to leave India as soon as possible,,,ppl can call me coward…if that gives a safer life to her…I am ready for that.

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  14. Very well written Charu ..I have started teaching my twisha when she was 3. too small to understand the cruelties of the world, i used to remind her once a week. she is 4 now and she reminds me everything that i taught her everyday… my husband chose switch for a permanent night shift because we want her to be safe and i continue to work, looking at the rate the inflation is rising, to give the best to her. I don’t know for how long we will be able to continue this way.

    thanks,

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  15. Wow!!! Charu i just read this post and it is a beautiful compilation of emotions…after reading it i feel like writing about my little one on my blog 🙂

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