A play called ‘Aaina’…. And yes, I have a daughter.

21st March was a Saturday. No different from the other Saturdays in the past. I mean – that’s what I thought.

Until 7:30pm at Sudarshan Hall.

A subject that possibly each one of us can relate to. Why it is ‘okay’ to rape or molest a woman.  Why it is ‘not okay’ for a woman to walk out of a dead-end abusive marriage.

Raw emotions portrayed by a bunch of “amateur” theater artists brought to life memories from the past – either conversations I overheard from ‘relatives’, or the look of utter despair in the eyes of a friend, or some article I read in a newspaper.

Whilst we participate in candle marches, shout slogans, run workshops on ‘woman empowerment’ (nothing wrong, I am simply trying to make a point), as Mothers, let’s be brutally honest – gender discrimination (‘son’/’daughter’) begins at home. 

I thought my generation, my peers (be it friends, colleagues or cousins) – would be a little different. It is frightening to see that they aren’t.

I know this 30-something IT couple who have a 10 year old daughter. The girl is bright. But the Mom chooses to focus on ‘customs and traditions’ – holds multiple religious functions at her home. Nothing wrong actually – with the ‘customs/traditions part’ but she ALSO sadly states she hardly has “time for studies and it doesn’t matter so much because she is a girl.” I bet this wouldn’t be the case if I was writing about her ’10 year old son’!!

A very close relative of mine had a son – her first child. When a neighbour dropped in to congratulate her and said “Good job! First child is a son!” – the girl practically preened in front of her …”Yes Yes … I have a son!”  A normally level-headed, mature, confident girl is suddenly pleased she popped out an offspring that came with certain ‘socially acceptable’ body parts!  For some reason I couldn’t help but think of the movie “Species.”

I am sure you get the gist.

Mothers of our generation! Let’s be sane here. And a little courageous. It is ridiculous to moan about ‘interrupted careers’, ‘sacrificed BITS Pilani BTechs’ when you propagate the same twisted ideal in what you say to your sons. And your daughters.

Kudos to Sonal and the rest of her troupe for choosing upbringing as one of the root causes for gender-discrimination for their very first play. The play was sensitively handled, stellar performances from real people.

Maybe someday, we can also run a sequel that focuses on the good stuff. About couples who nurture marriages between equals, balance career and parenting goals, ensure equal opportunities in education and platforms for their children regardless of gender. Who do this quietly, every single day of their lives.

A miniscule percentage of the population. But we cannot lose hope, can we?

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465 Words

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