In a far-flung rural community named Devadi in a far-off district named Srikakulam in the state of Andhra Pradesh in South India, there was a thirty-five year old man named Ajay. Nonetheless he was an erudite, after a prolonged unemployment he decided to be a farmer, farming his five-acres field. After all he was my preeminent acquaintance in our village, notwithstanding about a ten-year age fissure between us.
Ajay unfaltering to walk down the aisle when he was twenty five. But the days had already been changed--not much stipulation for farmers in the villages. Every father with a juvenile daughter had been probing for a bridegroom with a regime post, and in the pits--with a private employment. In neither ways my pal was apt. So it took seven long years for him to stumble on a bride. My companion had been very much engrossed in accepting the dowry, but finding a bride itself was a uphill task to him. So the nuptials covenant was at no cost to the bride's family. Thus my chum conjugal when he was thirty two.
He was in a scurry that rapidly his wife Syamala turned out to be a pregnant lady in less than a month post wedding. When I went to pass on good wishes to him after knowing the news, I saw him drowned into profound thoughts. I inquired of his feelings but he didn't utter whatever thing.
Nine months had conceded quickly. And the day arrived. Ajay and I were in the hospice access strip outside operation ward. Ajay had been trembling for something, as if himself was performing the surgery. I thought Ajay was nerve-racking about his wife.
After a while, we listened a cry. Hardly could we categorize whether it was the voice of a male or a female. But we were sure it was a baby's cry.
On a nurse's endorsement, we hurried into the delivery ward. Both the mother and the baby were out of harm's way. But didn't I unearth a smile on the Syamala's face. She looked apprehensive. I was perplexed. Then I glanced at my friend. He had already made a face, nodding his head cynically.
"What happened?" inquired I.
"It's a baby girl!" cried he.
I glanced at the baby. She was smiling enormously. I was thinking, would she smile if she could comprehend what a person's making a face was?
In the next one year, I never saw Ajay maintaining any bonding with the little baby except spending some of his earnings on buying diapers.
For the next baby, Ajay wasn't so hurry. He took another three years for which Syamala was for a second time heavy with child.
"Why do we come to another doctor?" asked Syamala, surprised. "The doctor who treated me earlier was a good one. She is a perfect doctor."
"Who cares if she is perfect?" said Ajay impetuously. "She couldn't gift me a boy. So I changed the doctor, for it may change our fate."
"What a wit you are?" thought Syamala.
One day, Mrs. Pragathi, one of the three sisters of Ajay came to his home with her seventeen-year old son Bharath. Bharath was an intellectual boy.
That evening, when the little daughter of Ajay came towards Mrs. Pragathi, she shoved the child away, and made a face. Bharath, who was monitoring the panorama, without more ado caught the child saving the child from kissing the ground.
"Mom, what's erroneous with you?" cried the young lad.
"I don't like her," said Mrs. Pragathi. "We expected a boy but it's a girl."
"What's problem if it's a girl?" inquired the lad.
"Everything is a problem if it's a girl."
"A girl can eat like a boy. A girl can sleep like a boy. A girl can work like a boy. Then what's the disparity?"
"It's not about eating or sleeping or drinking. It's about safekeeping," cried Mrs. Pragathi.
"For instance, if you are left amid a strange city at midnight, without a penny in your pocket, you can sleep on the footpath. But if I were in such a situation, I couldn't."
The lad had been wedged with something. It appeared positively and something inevitable and convincing argument. So he thought of continuing the debate with some other point.
"You said one thing that could be negligible for a man but seriously concerned for a woman," said the lad. "But if it's a son, with time, when he become older and older, his adore and admiration and errands on his parents would take a rain check speedily. But if it's a daughter, the worship and deference and errands on her parents would accumulate with time."
The mother flabbergasted how could a young boy of seventeen demonstrating so much about a 'daughter'.
"How do you know that?" mystified Mrs. Pragathi.
"We had a debate," said the lad and continued, "sister and I, about who between us adore you and dad more. Post our debate, I got a doubt--What may befall in the future? Then I researched for some related paperbacks. Lastly on my professor's insinuation I read a book named 'Grandson Grandfather' in our college library, in which I erudite a lot about the magnitude of a girl child who would be a thousand times more imperative than a boy child to any parents."
The debate went on and on. For each concern heaved against a 'girl child' by his mother, Bharath defied imposingly. But again he was jammed when she said, "If a parent has four sons and only one among them developed a unrivaled moral fiber and turn into a good civilian, while others ruined themselves fetid; the parent would agonize but not so much. But if the same parent has ten daughters, out of which nine urbanized great quality, nevertheless only one daughter contaminated her life, the parent would die psychologically. The parent couldn't live contentedly in a civilization with a polluted daughter."
In either cases where Bharath immovable in the debate against his mother, involved society. Then he thought, it was the society to which the people were surrendered. And characteristically, the society considered women should always have certain confines, unlike free men. And if any woman lived beyond the imaginary boundaries, people couldn't digest. Even now we are in a society where though people shout the equation women = men, somewhere in their minds it lingers, 'Women should always have a set of boundaries, else the society would be muddled." And they whisper in minds women ~ men.
If a parent's son brought a girl illegally and get hitched with her, the parent just worry a bit. But if the same parent's daughter ran with someone and marry unofficially, the parent cannot assimilate it forever. That is why there are still some people who always forebode such instances (which they considered against the rules of a good society) and they marry their daughters in teenage. Every such parent only think this way--My daughter should be married early. So the headaches of pestering of boys or illicit relationships or any other attacks on her could be shunned and my daughter will be safe with her husband.
So anew the society has been involved. People are feared of the society. Such parents always feel that the society they are living in isn't a secure place to their daughters. They build their mindsets if the daughters are married early in the teenage, they would be somewhat secured. But never they think of what kind of life ambitions circling in their young daughters' minds, and are being killed ruthlessly.
"Mom, but you know, in developed nations it's the equation Men = Women," said Bharathi. "But I'm not sure it's developed because of the derivation or the equation has been derived post the development."
"Inasmuch a country's development doesn't mean it has been developed in only one direction of economy--that is GDP of a nation. It has many other things to be considered. Gender equality could be one of the factors. US has an economy of $20 trillion couldn't alone stand it as a developed nation but it had developed in every direction."
"Mom! How do you know economy and all?" perplexed Bharath. He thought his mother was an illiterate.
"I loved economics and I dreamed to be an economist. But I was vehemently married right away after finishing my tenth grade. So I never went to college."
The Short Story continues here...