mom of all trades

mom of all trades

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Monday, November 23, 2015

Softly falls the shiuli flowers

It was a warm sunny day when I first arrived there; my aunt’s house, which would be my home for the next 10 months, while I completed a course and contemplated on my academic future. I remember that the clouds were scattered like white cotton candy over an azure blue sky and the shiuli* flowers were strewn on the pebble laid garden path, their coral stalks startling against the pristine white petals. Looking back, it was  one of the best things that could have happened to me at that point in my life  My aunt, uncle and cousin took me into their fold in such a seamless, organic manner, that after a while I began to feel that I have always been part of the family.

  My aunt took me under her wing, reprimanding me like a mother, giggling with me like a friend, pampering me like an aunt and forging a bond that would bind us forever, impregnable against the onslaught of time and distance. Eleven in the morning, soon became the best part of my day. The neighbour aunty would drop in and this would be our cue to gather in the living room. My aunt would come in with big mugs of steaming ginger tea; mine  would always be in the ceramic beige mug with little blue flowers, the color of sapphire, printed all over it; that she had specially bought for me.  I loved wrapping my fingers around its smooth surface, letting the soothing aroma of the ginger spiked tea lull me into a sense of wellness, as I listened to the lively conversation. Those 11 AM conversations helped me realize the insignificance of my ‘problems’. It helped me steady my confused thoughts. This ritual of devoting a small part of the day to enjoying a cup of tea with loved ones, seemed to me a spring cleaning for the soul.
Uncle was never too busy or tired after long day at work to plan fun trips and dinner at lovely restaurants. He insisted that I get my driver’s licence, personally enrolling me in a driving school. Together they slipped into the role of my parents and opened their home and hearts, giving me readily and lovingly, the gift of their time.
Ten months flew by, peppered with countless lovely meals, long conversations, trips with the family, impromptu shopping sprees and memories to last a life time.

In my mind those wonderful ten months are akin to the exotic shiuli flowers that lies strewn on my aunt’s pebbled garden. The exquisite and delicate shiuli, which blooms at night and drop off from the tree to the ground, as the first rays of dawn touch its petals. The fragrant shiuli, that enjoys the privilege of being offered to the gods, even when they lie on the ground. What a short but glorious life.
*Shiuli is the Bengali name for the Night flowering jasmine, also known more commonly as the Parijat flowers in Hindi and Pavizhamalli in Malayalam.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Children Of a lesser god?

I am so lucky; I am going to be part of a wonderful family. How do I know this, you ask? After all I’m just the size of a peapod, with only a tiny fingerprint to claim as my own; a three month old foetus nestled safely in the cosy confines of my mamma’s womb. I know they are wonderful people, my mamma and daddy. Oh, how lovely those words sound .They shower my brother with love and refer to him as their blessing. I can’t wait to be their blessing too, to nestle in the crook of my daddy’s arm and fall asleep to my mamma’s soothing lullabies.
 I am going to be photographed, my parents can’t wait to see me. My little heart swells with pride, I am a baby girl. I wait for them to marvel at my tiny toes and my wee little hands. 
They don’t notice my facial features slowly taking shape, nor my tiny limbs kick out. They don’t see my minute fists open and close, nor my little toes curl. All they see is that I am a girl.
Nothing makes sense anymore. Why are they saying that I am a curse and will be a burden to them? Why do they not want me to be part of their lives, a much as I want to be part of theirs?
 Why do they think baby girls are lesser beings than boys?  Are we not their flesh and blood too? Are we children of a lesser god?
In this day and age when women are doing everything from ruling countries, travelling to space, heading corporate empires to being sole providers for their aged parents or little children, this prejudice against female babies is a shocking but true reality in our country.
  We can do our bit by getting involved with local organisations which support this cause and by   ensuring that the community we live in is aware about the seriousness of this issue.

Population First, is an NGO working on population and health issues within the framework of women's rights and social development
Laadli – A girl child campaign is Population First's campaign against sex selection and falling sex ratio.
You can pledge your support for the cause here

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