Friday 17 July 2015


My journey to Delhi was the most memorable tour I must say. Not because I enjoyed being in Delhi which is the smallest n not so interesting part of my tour but because of the train journey I enjoyed from Nagpur to Delhi and then back from Delhi to Nagpur. Since last several years I have been traveling by train at various places and believe me train as I think is the best place to meet and know different people coming from different states, different languages and different culture. Most readers of womensweb might have read my article of journey to Delhi, “let the women be daughter of her parents’ always!”On how I met a family from Rajasthan and how they made me think over the issue of girl child. I had fun time with the kids in this story who made my travel easy. My back journey to Nagpur was nonetheless as interesting as the journey to Delhi. After boring journey half the way up to Bhopal, where most of the companions were of my age I guess shared no similar interests with me of talking/gossiping or discussing and knowing each other were mostly busy on their laptops and phones watching movies and talking with their friends and family. I finally got a good company of some children who had finally managed to make my last moments in that train quite comfortable and entertaining. I guess, it is my love for kids which make my time go quite easy and memorable.
After sitting ideal for several hours and looking at people’s faces who were not at all interested in me when the train stopped at Bhopal and people from my compartment got down and I got the new companions. Two ladies with their three kids and too much luggage seemed like they just had shopped it from Bhopal. The ladies got busy in arranging their luggage and the kids reserved their favorite seats for themselves. One kid who was around the age 5-7, was very much enthusiast and was speaking continuously. Mother you keep my bag here! Mother don’t keep my shoes deep inside, it’ll be difficult to find them! Mother I want to go to the upper birth…mother this…mother that. And his mother was constantly asking him to keep calm and let her do her work. After settling there the kid wanted to sit near window though it was packed with glass, he was struggling to see outside. But both the parallel seats were occupied by two people. One by an old lady who was not interested in him and the other one were with the girl of his age group mothered by another lady who boarded the train with this mother son duo. The girl had an elder brother studying in 8th standard. Unlike this kid, both the brother and sister were calm and seated ideally. On his asking for seat near a window his mother again asked him to sit properly without making noise. Seeing his desire to seat near a window sit I called him up to seat on my side lower birth. And without wasting a time he came to me and sat by my side and started talking to me. And over the time I was introduced to him and his family and the other companions. And we started talking to each other. There was nothing much to share culture and rituals unlike my previous journey as all of us were Marathi from Nagpur side but what fascinated me was the activities of those kids. I was seeing two types of kids. The two siblings as calm and “well behaved” and the other one who attracted me the most was enthusiast and talkative. All the time he was playing with me, asking me questions from his first standard text book. Asking me to multiply two into two or add five with seven and sometimes to correct the shuffled letters from a word such as MAT, CAT and sometimes real difficult for me like TIGER. Or sometimes climbing from one birth to another…he was enjoying the arrangement of the births one above the other. While his mother was continuously watching him and instructing him to not to peep up-down from upper birth or not to roam here and there or talk too much! Or sometimes he’d include all of us in his tricky fun questions from his textbooks. I enjoyed his company and neither of the other companions complained against him. But the mother was continuously asking him to keep shut or else complaining papa. May be it was my prejudiced towards kids that didn’t annoyed me his behavior (though I have seen real annoying spoiled kids but I didn’t find him annoying or misbehaved at all! May be only the parents who have to handle such kids all the time can understand how she suffered or maybe I could not understand his mother that the other mothers can! But one thing that drew my attention was when after several time after being scolded this kid finally said in a sad tone, “mother you always scold me in front of public. I don’t like this!”       
I was shocked to listen something like this for the first time. A 6 years old kid asking his mother not to scold him in public! He did not use the word insult. Probably he does not know the word but he feels it. He feels insulted when his mother scolded in public.
I felt sad for him. I wanted him to do all the masti and fun he was doing then. For me he was the kid what the kids of his age have to be. And aaj kal ke bacche are not as same as the kids in our parents’ time were used to be. As the elders tell me how their parents used to beat them or even the teachers to make them study. Now our generation cannot use force to make them come on line even as a part of their rearing. This generation is smarter than ours. They know what to study, what and how skills to develop, how to operate smart phones and computers even better than us. And using force or scolding them in public simply not going to work. Because these bachhe are smarter, they know what insult is, they too feel humiliated because they don’t fear elders and they too have the feelings. We as the elders have to understand this.

Saturday 11 July 2015


Oh! This has been a long time to write something on this page, but finally I managed to come back with my second blog. This time it’s a story from nature; something which is true which is touching. I hope you connect with it. So the story goes like this-
Once upon a time there was a depot of dry forest woods. There was also one tree. Dry and dead! With no leaves, neither flowers nor fruits! It served no purpose to stay in depot but to cut the tree and burn its branches, the wood for fuel purpose. The depot was also full of weeds. The tiny little grass! which was restricting the growth of large trees. The forest department decided to sell all the wood and clean up the depot. So the higher officer ordered his subordinates. The subordinate after the sale of wooden blocks of depot found it convenient to clean it by the easiest way of lighting a fire. And so he did at once.
Later that day the officials came to inspect the depot. While walking across they reached near the tree. They found a small hollow hole on the tree trunk. They checked inside the hole and found what? Bodies of four parrots. Dead not because of the fire but the heat that was burning the tree. It was a family of four with mother and her tiny little chicken. Who did not even know how to fly? The mother parrot daily used to go out of her beautiful tree house fetch food for her children and feed them. Every day she used to follow the same routine. Go out of the house, keep her chicken wait and return back with a food. But it was a different day for them. Mother went to fetch the food, like always her little angels were waiting but by the time she returned the depot was set a fire. She realized the danger. She had to run away to save her life. But she could not. Her little angels were inside that house, she had to save them. She took a risk she flew to the tree, which was yet to catch the fire. She entered the hole. Her chicken were crying for her, waiting for their mother. She did not understand how to save them. She could not pick them up in her beak. Neither could hold them in her tiny claws. All that she could do was to embrace them in her feathers n so she did. The fire came to the tree; all that she could do was to squawk with her little angels. She could fly but she did not. How could she? She was a mother and that’s how mothers are!           

Saturday 23 May 2015


Last November when I was traveling to Delhi from Nagpur, on my way I met a beautiful family of four in train. It was an early married couple, along with their four year old son and the two year old daughter “Gudiya.” The family was going to their hometown in Rajasthan from Chennai, the place where the father used to work as labor in a marble factory. Gudiya was the most beautiful girl I had ever seen. She was real Barbie doll. Her beautiful big round eyes full of kajal on her white face was making her look even more beautiful. The kids happily mixed up with me and were enjoying my company. On a two day journey to Delhi the kids spent most of their time with me since the time they met me at Nagpur. The parents were happily freed off their continuously annoying kids at least for some time.
I was happy to see that the father loved his daughter so much. The scene had changed my perception that most uneducated poor families from northern states particularly Rajasthan and Haryana don’t love their daughters and don’t want girl child per se. No! There are people who accept their daughters and love them. It is not just about loving and accepting daughter. It’s about the pain of a father who has daughters in their society. I got to know about their problems when we started knowing each other. The young man was a labour and a wife was 7th class educated housewife who was 23 year old woman (3 years younger to me) was a mother of 3. The little angel Gudiya had an elder most sister who was 5 years old and was living with her maternal grandmother. The woman had got married at the age of 17. Though the man was a labor both the couple belonged to quite well to do respective families who had number of cattle at their houses which marks their richness in their society. When the women got to know about me that I was 26 year old and was still unmarried she was quite surprised. And at the same time the couple was proud to know that I was a practicing lawyer.
My most conversation was with woman only during stops at various stations or when the husband was busy roaming inside train with his kids somewhere. The woman was happy to see me highly educated. And at the same time sad and jealous. She did not have the opportunity to educate herself. She wanted to study. She belonged to some village in Rajasthan where the school had classes only up to 7th standard. They were four sisters and one brother. Then off course like most Indian families the lucky chance to go out and get education was given to her youngest brother. The sisters had to get married. They had to give dowry. The parents could not spend more on the education of their daughters. Her brilliant brother was now engineer earning in lacks per month in Delhi and now wanted to marry a girl of different community who is equally educated and earning equally with him. The sisters were not that much fortunate. My new friend was hardly 7th class passed and she had got the husband according to her qualification, She said. Though the couple was happy with each other; she was not happy getting married early. She said to me that I had a life ahead to explore, I had lot more to see. But it was not so in her case. According to her, she had nothing left to see in life. At such an early age of her she was done with her studies, she had got married, she was done with her romantic life, she had enough experience of sexual life and now she was a mother of three kids at 23, she was repeatedly telling me. Now she just had to take care of her husband, his kids, and her in laws. Her routine day included to cook food, see the kids don’t go far and take care of the cattle.
My repeated words that she had got the most beautiful daughter were making her happy but whenever our discussion came on the topic of daughters or girls she used to get anxious. She was worried about arranging dowry for their two daughters. They have to give huge amount in dowry, cattle and land too. The half the savings of their life goes to dowry of their daughter and what happens when you have two? U have to start saving for the dowry of your daughter the moment she is born! She said.   Unlike her parents the couple wanted to educate their daughters. But in two day time spent with them the woman was repeatedly saying
“betiyon ko badhane me bohot kharcha aata hain…bohot dahej dena padta hain…..betiya”…(nodding her head indicating her helplessness of having girl child) …
She could not finish her words but I could understand.  Her words saddened me several times. I could look at Gudiya and hardly could imagine parents not wanting the most beautiful girl like her because she was a daughter.
My experience with the family showed me the reality which I only either used to read or see in television.
Giving preference to boy over girls in education, getting daughters married early giving huge dowry made me think about the problem, the causes of this menace and its solutions.
Lack of education?
I’ve heard that there are rates for dowry…higher the son is educated, higher the dowry amount. (pardon me if I am wrong!) But dowry system is equally or even more popular in educated and rich families.
Then what can be?
The patriarchal society?
Betiya parayi hoti hain. Ek din to usne apne ghar jana hain.
Beta ghar ka chirag hota hain. Ek din baap ka naam roshan karega.
Why? Women can’t hail their name?
In India most girls are married early. By early, here I mean around the age group between 18 to 25. This is the age when most people struggle to make their career. What if a married girl makes her career after wedding? Whatever she earns was learned from her maternal house and then the credit and benefits goes to her in laws. However, the son gives back what he gets from his parents he continues the family name, family clan and takes care of his parents at old age. Then why should parents even think of spending more on girl’s education?  I guess this is what most parents think even today not in India but off course in Bharat. 
The personal laws now have given equal rights in family property but I see it still have not worked. This right gives her only security after birth. But what about her security before birth. What about her right to be born as an individual and not as particular unwanted gender? It is about the birth of a girl in our families. Her rights…education, career, marriage, her status in family and her identity as an individual.  A women when gets married in India, she has to do everything she could do to show the society that she is married. Putting Sindur, wearing Magalsutra, dozens of Chudis and everything else what her community requires her to do. She even changes her name/surname and also changes her status, she becomes Mrs. She does all this to show her affection and dedication towards her husband. What she gets in return? Mr. ABC remains Mr. ABC and rest we know. What I mean here is woman changes her identity as an individual here. If we go to justify the present biased tradition we have to go to our early society. When there was a concept of ownership. Where women were really the vulnerable class of society. When the masculinity required staying under the protection of some men. Then women had to declare that they belonged to particular man or family. If I’m not wrong the women today are the still vulnerable class of society. But there is remarkable elevation in their status as well. Then why such class has to follow such traditions which nonetheless still dominate them in a patriarchy? Not going to other traditions which women accept as their shringar with pride. I’ll stick to the point of changing identity. Do really women need to change their identity given by their parents. Is replacing fathers naming with their husbands name still holds so much importance in our society?
People will consider this as a very minor issue. “What is there in name?”  Shakespeare once said! But it’s about your identity. It is about what you take from your parents. Isn’t it our responsibility to hail our fathers name. Can’t two people with two different names live together as husband and wife? Is it so important to be called as someone’ mistress than indicating just your gender with pride as miss.  It is ridiculous when I see in most official forms there are options to indicate your gender (not status, because there is separate column for status) as Mr./Miss/Mrs then in next column you’re even asked to indicate your status as single or married. This may be a neglected technical error but my point is do women have to call themselves as Mrs. while filling up the official forms when they can indicate their status? I see no point in changing names after marriage or status as miss to Mrs. If the woman’ last name indicates who she is dependent off then at least a modern woman doesn’t require to change her name. She earns as much as her husband and is independent as much as her husband is. But still she is proud to change her original identity. Nowadays there is an improvement…..women after adding fathers surname add husbands surname as well. A good move! But why even to add husband’s name? For example Mrs Aishwarya Rai Bacchan’s wedding is seen by whole world. Everyone knows Aishwarya Rai is married now. Then she doesn’t require to call herself as Mrs. Also she earns or successful as much as or even more than her husband, then the logic of woman being dependant of her husband or is taken care off or protected by her husband is not applicable to her, then why does she needs to change her name.
I think surname system only indicates what clan, family tree or blood you inherit. And accepting husbands surname after a social ceremony does not simply make her the clan or blood member of that family. One interesting question was asked what will be the last name of a kid who’s born out of people with two different names. Is it important to have the surname? What if the child is name after the initials or names of his parents? The better answer to this question lies in our own country. If we go to south, we won’t get to know the surnames of people we meet. Their name starts with the initial of their father’s name. I’d like to give an example of my few friends from south…K. Amrithraj, S. Neelimadevi etc.. I don’t know their surnames but they have names. What if we instead of naming people after their surnames name them with their both the parents’ names? I see one important benefit of this system will end recognizing people’s caste by their surnames. This can be a small step to stop caste based disparity in our society. At the end what I suggest here is marriage is the union of two souls and two different families and for this holy union I don’t think we need to change the original identity of one person. Let the women be a daughter of her parents’ always even after she gets married to you. A woman is blessed best with her duties to perform towards her both the families whether you change her name or not! What say?