It's a girl!

Though my friend was thrilled it was a baby girl, the rest of the family wasn't.

A friend of ours once cracked a joke about how Eve came into being from Adam’s rib. He went on to crack more and more jokes about the fair sex.

Reflecting on them later, I thought, “what would a man do without a woman?” contradicting an exasperated Henry Higgins in My Fair Lady, who wonders what a woman would do without a man! Furthering the whole argument of who would benefit more in the whole scheme of things, I have come to the conclusion that both will not be able to do without each other.

However, in our male-dominated society, a woman is always second in line.   Once, when my daughter was little and was in shorts, somebody mistook her for a boy. She was quiet assertive in clarifying that she was a “girl.” I beamed.

The thought of saying “my little girl” always put me in a comfort zone for it was that little angel who picked up a duster on a very busy day when the maid was sick, that angel who collected glasses and bowls in her tiny hands after a party. It was that little angel who woke up in the middle of the night to see if my head rested on my pillow.

One of our maids has five children. The first four are girls and the last, a boy. To support her battalion, she works from dawn to dusk. Why ever didn’t you stop at two, we asked. “No, we had to have a male child. The family has finally achieved a ‘status’,” she told me with pride in English. I shrugged not wanting to argue further.

A friend delivered after several years of marriage. We very happily picked up a few things for baby. But at the hospital, there was a sadness lurking around the semi-dark ward. Though she was thrilled it was a baby girl, the rest of the family wasn’t. We came home with a heavy heart. How could they not love the tiny one lying peacefully in her crib?

Have we ever sat back to think how places like classrooms, sports fields or workplaces acquire a new perspective with girls in them? What a riot of colour a girl brings to the lives she touches! What lively chatter fills the house with her sweet voice narrating the days’ event!

Unfortunately, not a day passes without a glaring headline announcing atrocities committed on women. Hearts still ache when one thinks of the victim of the gruesome Delhi rape case, who, when on her death bed, told her mother that she wanted to live.

Most households run on a woman’s strong hands that incessantly toil all day. When will a man realise that it is a woman’s eyes he gazes into and bonds with when he enters this world? Some food for thought, isn’t it?

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