I felt Somewhere Pity for  Being a Girl….A cold Saturday evening, he was riding the cycle and I was sitting in that lady style holding the handle tightly with both my hands as we were returning from our coaching center.  I could see my home from my eyes completely shut, but slightly open and then the raindrops stopped hirtting my eyes, we reached home. We ran to get into the house. Mom got worried seeing both of us wet as we were trembling with cold and  moreover, we were deliberately acting it out too, to see her reaction. And we both behn, bhraa out of breath, stood there laughing, when mom brought the towel to dry us.
I saw her feet move towards my brother and started drying him with love “Haaye mera bacha geela ho gya”. I waited for my turn when she will dry me and rub my hands and my laughter turned into a smile.  I was expecting a towel at least, but my smile ended with a gulp in my throat. Suddenly the wet clothes felt more wet while I moved towards my room.

I was little back then and could not understand discrimination.

This incident really touched me and I took this incident very personally. The image of mom drying my brother is still clear in my head. I think we are what we were as a child. Why did she not see me wet? The question which was ringing in my head all night while I hid under my double blanket with a tear in my eye was a big “Why”
Our home decorated with lights and dancing songs was loud as it could be the very next day. It was Lorhi, a festival celebrated in our Punjabi families with great pomp and show. I was all excited to wear fluorescent Punjabi suit with Teele vaali jutti, a paraanda, a saggiful and be the real Mutiyaar.
That outfit really made me feel special. It gave me confidence and pride of being a girl or you can say “I’m the best, huh!” type of  attitude. Music was making me move while everybody took their seats around the mountain of the wooden logs and the paathis, leaving pious flames and started throwing the fullas in that fire.
We Punjabis actually wait for this day to come, and the girls are especially excited to wear on make up on this big day. However, the celebrations were going on. The elders sat talking about one thing or the other on their seats, while I with other kids after waiting for 10 minutes, staring at each other that who will start, just started dancing to the beats of the Dhol. I danced a lot, I like dancing like all girls do. Sometimes the moment holds you. I felt free for a moment, like I could be anything in the world. After a while, when it was not possible even tap my feet tn the beat. And, finding no vacant seat around the fire, I managed to settle down in the lap of my father huffing and puffing. I felt safe, kind of father daughter thing.  I had been listening to the sensible jokes of the elders, but couldn’t laugh.
It was the wording, “Kamaljeet de daddy, kamaljeet nu dekho” while running towards him. It was a shout as my brother’s clothes caught fire. My father ran towards him I followed my instinct and grabbed the jug of water and ran towards them and gave it to my father. He quickly spilled it on the fire on his clothes. Thank God it was not a huge fire but my brother suffered minor injuries. Everybody gathered at the spot and my mother was weeping and holding my brother tightly. I still remember the words coming out of my father’s and everybody’s mouth “shabash puttar” and then my mom pulled me towards her and it was a different type of hold, which I never experienced in my life ever.
This is actually a philosophical Indian psychology, which goes in every parivaar as a trend, but it’s the time to change.
Calling your daughter, a “puttar” is not enough; you also need to treat them that ways.

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About Amrita Sharma

Amrita Sharma, a master in English from PU tries to debunk the old cannons of social norms and experiments with the hard and bleak reality of our times through her stories. Her experiences as a teacher with the children of different age group allows her to understand the psyche of kids.

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