The Daughters and Hindu Rites
I remember one small event when I was eight years old. A healthy, lovely, small boy about three years old, used to pass our house for his short afternoon walk accompanied by his ayya.1 Whenever he was about to pass our front door, my mother always went out from our house to say hello and some sweet words to the child. Then, suddenly he stopped coming and after about a week's break he reappeared with his ayya in the street. But this time I was surprised to see that my mother did not come out to say sweet words to him, but instead she gazed at the child from her window and a tear rolled down her cheek. Later I came to know that the parents of the little boy blamed my mother for his sickness as my mother had no son, but only three daughters. According to the superstitious beliefs of the boy's parents, my sonless mother was responsible, in a very mysterious, supernatural way, for the suffering of the boy.
I was hurt by the accusations against my mother, and from that very moment I started to rebel against all kinds of boys, small or big. Even at that very young stage of my life I promised to try to be a responsible "son", rather than a so-called daughter. I started to notice that in many families, sons are treated better than daughters. Most parents prefer their sons to be better educated than their daughters. A daughter is educated, taught many things, and works in order to obtain an excellent bridegroom. A good bridegroom is the final destiny for their daughter. A boy can go everywhere, do everything, play any game, but a girl is reared with so many "dos and don'ts" that at last she starts to lose her self-confidence; on many occasions, she has to depend on a male who could be her father, brother, husband or son, too.
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