A cold Saturday evening, he was riding the cycle and I was sitting in that lady style on the rod behind that handle. All drenched in the rain, me and my so called “veera” (brother) were returning back from our coaching. The moment we entered the house, mom got worried seeing both of us trembling with cold and came running with a towel in her hand. And we both behn, bhraa started acting like we were feeling damn chilled to get mumma’s attention. Oops! I was mistaken, it was not both of us for whom she was worried, it was only the veera.
Mom started drying his hair and patted him with love “Haaye mera bacha geela ho gya”. I was just waiting for my turn that when she will rub my hands and comfort me with her warmth. But, somehow that didn’t happen. She just rubbed his hands and took him inside. I was standing there only, ignored, unnoticed and the drops spilling down from my clothes and the long hair.
That moment was literally heart breaking. The tears rolled down my cheeks, but as they got merged with the rainwater nobody could make out I was weeping. Nothing else came in my mind except that “why” with a big question mark. Why she did not feel I was also wet. Am I not a good actor like him or I do not feel cold like him or am I able to bear this chilling weather easily.
What was it?
So many questions and had no answer to any of them. But, it was patience that made me ignore the things and behave normally. Though, I was trying my level best to be nice to mumma, but somewhere my heart couldn’t digest that discrimination.
The very next day 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. The Lorhi night had finally come and mom had set all the things to celebrate the occasion. Meanwhile, 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 makeup on this big day. However, the celebrations were going on. The elders sat talking about one thing or the other on their seats, while we kids were busy with dancing to the beats of the Dhol. I danced so much that after a while, it was not possible to even tap my feet on the beat. And, finding no vacant seat around the fire, I managed to settle down in the lap of my father. I had been listening to the sensible jokes of the elders, but couldn’t laugh. There was certainly something going on in my mind. You know what was it? Something not big again, but if paid attention to, it was a big thing.
It was the wording, “Kamaljeet de daddy”. You must be wondering Kaun kamaljeet? He is my brother actually, the pampered son of my parents. These words were constantly going in my ears. Every second person was calling my father this way. And, I sitting there in Daddy Ji’s lap was trying to make out the reason behind. When there remained no end to my patience, I just got up and started looking at my father. I just don’t know why I reacted this way, but it happened genuinely. Daddy ji thought, I had some problem and started enquiring, “Ki hoya puttar?” But I was just staring at him silently.
Suddenly came a moment and I uttered ‘Kamaljeet de Daddy kyu, ki tussi mere daddy nahi? All the eyes were staring at me. And one of my astonished uncles answered “oh puttar, peeyo da naam, munde de naam nal hi leya janda hai”. And then my childish soul asked another question, fer tussi saare menu puttar kyu kehnde ho? There was literally no one, who could answer back, but I wanted someone to speak out and clear the things. No voice came out, but the tears in Daddy Ji’s eyes were speaking.
He had felt that it was the discrimination which made me react. But, thanks to that childish reaction, it made me get the equal treatment in my home. Today, I understand that my parents were not wrong at that time. 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.