Being a Girl in India

January 14, 2013 by Diana Banik  
Published in Women

Being born a girl in India, it seems, is a curse that befalls not only on us but the entire family from the moment we are conceived in our mothers’ wombs; a curse that we have to live with for our entire lives.

Sometimes I wish I were born in another century and sometimes I feel I should have been born in another country. At times I wish I was born a boy and most of the times I wish I was not born at all.

Being born a girl in this country of ours is a curse that befalls not only on us but the entire family from the moment we are conceived in our mothers’ wombs. You men may think it is the safest haven, but for us it is that place where we first experience fear – of death before life.

Some of us are very lucky. We have parents who are happy that we exist and nurture us and love us even when everyone around them rebuke them for bringing us up ‘as sons’ and for giving us the right to study, to play, to not help our mothers and aunts in the kitchen, to be ambitious, to choose a life partner, to go out of the house and work and sculpt an identity of ours. The rest of us, well, do we even need to say it out loud?

We grow up hearing that grandmother of ours reproach our mothers for having borne us and telling us each day of our lives that we mark the end of the ‘glorious’ family name. Our uncles question our upbringing if we don’t learn to slave for men, take our decisions and speak up against abuse. And all the time we are told how useless we are because we know not how to cook and stitch and fulfil a man’s desires in bed.

No, we are not allowed to climb trees or play cricket; for us are the dolls and ‘mini’ kitchens. We wear not shorts nor go for a swim in the river, for there are monsters looming large.

And only we are to blame. It is we who are guilty and always wrong. We are guilty, first and foremost, for having being born. We are guilty because we are ugly and some of us are beautiful, because men stare at our fully clothed bodies and wish they could strip us naked, because we refuse men who then drown us in acids, because we cannot win the heart of our husbands and they sleep with whores, because we don’t bear a son and because we choose to walk out of a marriage where we are abused and belittled every instant till we can take it no more.

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