Last week, I was travelling with my sister in Mumbai Local. A few minutes after we boarded the train, my sister asked an old lady sitting next to us: Are you a Bengali? Now I don’t know if you know many bongs, but they can talk and talk and talk (Yes! Even if they are meeting for the first time). I kept my phone aside and got ready for a good adda. After getting a fair idea about what we do, where we stay and the number of people in our family, the old lady asked: And no brother?
I have been asked that question by strangers all my life now. It is said that people get used to a particular thing if it keeps happening, but this question continues to annoy me till date. I quietly plugged in and tried to distract myself. Sadly, even Coldplay couldn’t help me this time (Chris Martin, I still love you!). I started thinking about the things I should have told her and perhaps the conversation would have taken place somewhat like this…
Me: Aunty, why did you ask that question?
Old Lady: Just like that beta…
Me: You know what I saw- that sad expression of yours after you learnt that my parents have no son. It is completely alright to just have daughters. Having a son is not the ultimate goal in life. People survive and in many cases, better than the ones who have sons.
Old Lady: Well! Now you are just over reacting.
Maybe it was a good thing that I did not say anything, because even if we both knew what she really meant, she could have always proved me wrong. At this point, I was trying hard to think about something else. But it is in moments like these, that my brain acts crazier. It chooses to always do the opposite.
I remembered the times:
When my neighbor couldn’t perform the last rites of her father. She and her mother had to wait for her uncle as she didn’t have a brother.
My mum was told by an aunt in one of the states in India after she delivered my sister to visit a Baba to get a son next time.
An uncle was denied his share of property by his own father because he didn’t have a son.
A well-educated family who had been maintaining a record of every generation couldn’t continue to do so. Why? No prizes for guessing this one. Yes! It is because the current generation only has daughters and no SON.
I am not saying daughters are better than sons, or sisters are better than brothers. The point I am trying to make is that, it is alright to have only daughters just like it is perfectly normal to have only sons. I have a sister and my parents are absolutely doing fine. Having a brother can be cool, but it is also nice to have a sister. Every day is like a sleepover with her. She has been a constant support system, critic and has taught me to love unconditionally. In spite of being the younger one, she has always been protective. She has protected me from the people who have troubled me and, quite often from my very own negative thoughts. Together we always try to keep our parents happy and I believe that we can do everything that is expected from any child.
But I guess, it will take some time for people to accept these facts. Though I really wish I live to see the day when people ask the question: And no sister?