Cheers to daughters


Ashee always worried about me, even as a five-year-old. She would squeeze her head between my busy hands and concerted face and look deep into my eyes hoping to discern if her mother was happy at the chore, and she would smile in that particular way, to infuse a little cheer into my life — she had already begun mothering me.

It’s possibly because we had that wonderful start. She is my second child and I slipped into motherhood easily that time. Shivy, my first born, was gentle, well-behaved child who, then in her two-year wisdom, forgave her mother the follies of first-time parenting and watched over Ashee too. This set a pattern in our lives. I have always been Ashee’s prime concern. Even across the seas she worries if my walks stretch into late evening, and wonders where I have been shopping for such long hours. I remain amused as I have been all through her growing years. Shivy quietly keeps me updated on Ashee. Why the hell does Indian society shun the girl child?

It’s perhaps this prejudice which actually bonded us together. A mother and her girl must not be tampered with by our society. Just let the girls be and instead concentrate on the boys. Polish the apples until they shine.

“Mom it’s Diwali!” They sigh across the phone line. “What have you made?” they ask. I tell them. I’ve taken care to make their favourite dishes. “Ummmm! We can get the flavours!” they squeal in delight, we are so together in spirit and in mirth we laugh in unison, aware of the blue nautical miles of the Pacific Ocean that separate us. I have no regret at letting them go, to empower themselves.

“We lit a candle before Ganesha,” they tell me. The Ganesha is the tiny idol I gave to take with them when they left for Australia. I smile from the memory of it. “We kept some candies as offering and we later ate them!” they giggle. Like I didn’t know they would devise ways to eat chocolate. But not this time, this was serious puja offering! These are innovative girls, who will light candles instead of diyas and find ways to keep tradition alive, and who with their simple ways brighten the world tomorrow!

“What about little Kary?” people who know me may ask. Well, she is my strength. Cheers to girls!

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