“Both my daughters are very intelligent, very fond of books. My husband says, we will make them study a lot, I don’t want them to be illiterate like us.” Little dreams have the power to grow big and become beautiful reality when you cherish your daughters.
Enjoy Morning Meanderings with a hot cup of tea or coffee and some cookies to munch on the food for thought. 😊 ☕️
The rains had once again stopped me from going for my walk, but Kanchan had come despite the heavy rains.
“I am so happy, madam, it is my daughters’ birthday today; both my daughters were born the same day, two years apart,” she said the moment she had kept the dripping umbrella outside and walked into the house. The joy seemed to spill over from her round face, which usually had a pinched look, but today had a rosy tint.
“So, what are the plans for today?”
“Just a small party for the kids,” she beamed.
“If I remember correctly, you said you were calling the entire village for your son’s birthday party. Why this discrimination?” I asked.
“No, no it is no such thing. Actually, we wanted to throw this big party today, but then it would be a financial burden on the guests – they would have to bring two gifts, hence after a lot of discussions, we settled for that.”
“Oh that is great. Very wise.”
“In our house, my mother-in-law is the only one who differentiates between boy and girl, the others do not. Neither my husband nor my brothers-in-law. In fact, when my second daughter was born, my mother-in-law refused to see her for a fortnight.”
I was reminded of the incident that my parents often related about the neighbourhood woman who had come to our house at my birth, and clucking her tongue and shaking her head dolefully, peeping into the crib, had delivered a dark prophecy, with a blissful countenance.
“She is your second daughter – such a weakling and ugly too. Don’t be crestfallen. She won’t survive.”
My parents had literally kicked her out of the house.
I snapped from my reverie when Kanchan’s words fell into my ears,
“Madam, aap kya soch rahey ho? Why are you not listening to me, huh?”
“Carry on, carry on, I am all ears,” I said, still seeing the image of my dad combing the hair of the girls, ironing their school uniforms, and dexterously tying the knots on our school ties, while my mom packed our tiffin boxes.
“It was my husband and brothers in law who made her see reason. My husband said, ‘If I am not sad, why should you be? Merey ghar main to Laxmi aayi hai. And will you believe it, ever since she was born, our finances have started looking up. Both my daughters are very intelligent, very fond of books. My husband says, we will make them study a lot, I don’t want them to be illiterate like us.”
“That is very nice.”
“That is why I work in so many houses.”
“But you hardly work, you just talk,” I quipped.
“Sorry, sorry,” she pouted and ran into the kitchen, scanning my face for any trace of anger.
Seeing none, she was again full throttle. From the kitchen now.
“Daal, baati, churma banaiyegey aaj.” she chirped, almost dropping a cup.
“That is wonderful”.
“May I go early today?”
“Of course and happy birthday to your daughters,” I said, giving her a few things that I had bought for her daughters and a cake that I had baked while she was talking away.
“Did you know about my daughters’ birthday?” she asked, a trifle perplexed.
“Remember, this is not the first time you told me,” I said with a smile.
“Oh,” she said sheepishly and ran out. I followed her out of the door to have a look at the weather.
It had stopped raining and the sun was a bloated Smiley flaunting its rays against a clear blue sky. Under the blue canopy, the tea-seller’s two year old daughter was playing Hide and Seek with her father, shouting ‘Paapi Paapi’ and bursting into a string of happy giggles.
“Madam, dekho abhi bhi paapi bolti hai, papa nahi (she has still not learnt to call me Papa, she calls me paapi).”
“Don’t worry, she will soon learn,” I assured him, and he bent down, scooped her in his arms, and kissed her on both cheeks, while his wife smiled warmly from the tea kiosk.
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