Why Not A Girl?

I am an independent working woman. My husband is the best man I have ever come across in my life, even better than my father. When my daughter was born we were the happiest but I couldn’t see that happiness on some of our loved ones faces. It was as if they were expecting something else. My daughter, Abhitha has a birthmark on her forehead, a big one, I hardly notice it, but some of our well wishers said, ‘As if it wasn’t enough that it’s a girl, she has a mark on her face as well’. We had their unwanted sympathy. Then our so called loved ones decided that the one month baby girl should have her head shaving ceremony in my husband’s absence, against his wishes. Being the youngest I was scared to say no, scared to rebel because I was thinking more like somebody’s daughter rather than somebody’s mother. I agreed for the ceremony, more than a ceremony it felt like a crime. My one month old daughter was taken to an old temple, horrible crowd was there. Nothing against temples, I am a sincere believer of the supreme power but the place was not safe. Numerous stray dogs, pile of iron bars and untidy barbers. I wanted to run away with my daughter but I could not. The daughter in me had overpowered the mother in me. I had just become a mother, and I failed. As the “loved ones” held my daughter to get her head shaved, she cried, she cried looking here and there searching for me. I failed horribly when I turned away, I can’t forgive myself ever for turning away. It was done, the “loved ones” handed her in my arms crying with fear and pain. I sat in a dingy corner and started feeding her, flying away the flies around her. I finally gathered some courage to look at her head, it had a turmeric patch, it was to cover a cut, there was clotted blood, a little on her face as well. That was the limit. I cried, I cried sitting there holding her in my arms, cursing myself. It was nobody’s fault, it was my fault. Our “loved ones” sat with the lunch boxes, they ate as my daughter cried. They gorged on sweets when my daughter cried, they clicked pictures when my daughter cried. Finally our “loved ones” took her to get Devi Maa’s blessings. With her head bowed down, they said, “Bless me that I bring a brother next time.” I said, “Maa, I cannot thank you more for saving my daughter, Maa please forgive me for being weak, forgive me for being gentle, I will now be a mother, I will never be weak now. Bless my little princess. Whenever you bless me with another child, I want a baby girl”. I said this out loud, loud enough for my “loved ones” to hear. All this happened in the month of April, scorching heat and loo. While coming out of the temple, the dogs bark loudly, one of my “loved ones” screamed as “the loved one” gave me a backward push to save itself. I fell down on thick, hot iron bars, holding my daughter as tight as I could to save her. She was safe, I was injured. I was shattered with this incidence. On our way back, the “loved ones” said ‘We could have done this at home, a barber could have come home, but I thought it’s better to come to the temple. One of our relatives did not to this for their son and the boy now has some problems because of it.’ I felt cheated, betrayed beyond limits. When this could have been done at home, why did they take us to a place with stray dogs, monkeys, heat, loo? Why didn’t they tell me that my husband had denied for head shaving?
Still I feel, it was all my fault, I am a coward who could not stand for my daughter. When we reached home, my husband called, we were in different cities, I told him what happened, he asked for a pic, I sent him Abhitha’s pic. He replied, ‘Pack your bags, I am coming to pick you up.’ He reached there around 2 o’clock at night. He did not say a word to anyone. Brought us home. This incidence left a scar on our lives, no matter how hard I try to forget it, I can’t. My daughter is all well now, a healthy and amazingly naughty child. we love her. Our “loved ones” are upset, why? I am not sure. I don’t really care much. I care about my husband, I care about my daughter. I will never be weak again, I will never think of our “loved ones” happiness at my baby’s expense.
I shiver when I think of that incidence, I shiver with guilt for being weak. When Abhitha grows enough to understand what had happened, I will ask for her forgiveness because only that can take take away that guilt from me.


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