Prashant jee, ek beta kar lo ab aap! “Go for a son and your family will be complete & perfect” a guy advised me. “I have a beautiful daughter, what makes you think that my family is imperfect at the moment?”
To a father growing old, nothing is dearer than a daughter. -Euripides
I could sense anger in my own words. So I mellowed my forthcoming statement: “Imagine that you slept and you dreamt. In your dream, you went to heaven and in heaven you met God. He took your right hand and placed a little angel in your palm. When you woke up from your dream and looked at your palm, you saw the little angel in it.
In year 2012, my daughter was born. I stood speechless when I was holding her for the first time in my life. She was never seen in this world before and now placed in my hands as someone who belongs to me. I thanked God endlessly. She appeared as little as a mouse and as red as a rose. I looked into her twinkling round beautiful eyes and got the glimpse of the mesmerizing heavens in them. I was touched by divinity. I was blessed with a daughter. That very moment, my family and my world, went complete”.
My fingers may be small but I can still wrap daddy around them.
The guy did appreciate my talk but added in end, “Acha hai beti hai. Per ek ladka to hona he chahiye parivar mein! At least one boy has to be there in family”.
His response blew my fuse. I asked “Aur ladki kitni honi chahiye? And how many girls you think should be there in a family?” He did not answer. He could sense my ire now. His statement made me more upset. When I mentioned that my world is complete, he did not need to impose his shady opinion on me any further.
I continued with my exhortation, “So a boy is a mandate and girl is not. Your outlook is not an isolated one. Millions think this way. I genuinely wish to know: What drives this venomous widespread misconception that a family is imperfect without a son? is a daughter not enough?
Why is it that when the first child is a boy, everyone is relieved; however, if it is a girl, the couple is repeatedly advised that they should go for a second baby and if it is going to be a son, their family would be complete. Two daughters can’t do that?
Some families/couples are so possessed by such erroneous corrupt notion that they keep on producing/aborting multiple girls till they get that one boy. Why?”
The guy retorted, “Prashant jee, there are reasons for desiring a son. Your lines were superb but in real world, things are different. We need to be practical, not poetic. Please explain: Ladka nahi hoga to apka vansh kaise aage chalega? Apka acha naam hai. Apke naam ko kaun aage le jayega? If a son is not there, who is going to take your name forward?”
I counter questioned, “what is the complete name of your great-great-grandfather?” There was a ghastly silence. He did not answer because he did not know or did not remember. I spoke, “Despite having sons, his name is lost today. Please understand that children do not take our name forward the way you think, nor they need to. The names that are fondly remembered in this world today, are names of those, who stood for a noble cause, did assiduous work, made great sacrifices and never compromised on their value system.
They enriched the world by their magnificent contributions and ameliorated the lives of others by how they lived their own. Jesus Christ, Mother Teresa, Swami Vivekananda, Mahatma Gandhi, Sardar Bhagat Singh, Subhash Chander Bose, Rabindranath Tagore to name a few. These names are going to live forever despite the fact that most of them did not have even one child to carry their name forward. If you want your name to be remembered and revered, then become a man of some value. Dedicate to some noble cause and live a life of purpose.”
Guy replied, “but you can’t ignore the fact that daughters would be married off and will go to some other family. Boys stay with you, when they do something great, they bring honor to your family. Boys also become a support in your old age. Budhape ka sahara hote hain ladke. You might have heard this and I don’t think that you can ignore it. Also, if there will be no boy, Aapke adhoore sapne kaun poore karega Prashant jee? Who will realize your unfulfilled dreams?”.
I answered, “Mere sapne main khud poore karunga. I will fulfill my dreams myself and in case I am not able to, I will not burden my child with the load of my unfulfilled dreams. I will help her achieve her own dreams. It will be nonsensical on my part to push my child into becoming a doctor and work in hospital when she wants to be a fighter pilot and fly the sky with supersonic speeds. It is a crime to crush ambition. We must protect dreams and nurture talents. That is our biggest responsibility as a parent.
Girls don’t go to some other family, they get married and start their own. So do boys. No one goes anywhere. Your child is truly yours and will stay yours for life. You also talked earlier about vansh kaise chalega. Let me tell you that in reality, vansh ladkiyon se chalta hai. Their contribution is unquestionable. It is a woman in whose womb, life begins. She brings alive the next generation. It is a woman who goes through a near death experience during child birth (no man dies of child birth) and she calls that near death experience as the most beautiful experience of her life, she becomes a mother. If it was not for her pain, sacrifices & strengths, this world would have collapsed a long time back.
You also questioned ability of girls to do something great and bring honor to family. I hope you are aware (or you acknowledge) what our daughters have accomplished. Did they not become Ms. World and Ms. Universe? Did they not win in athletics, tennis, badminton and boxing tournaments throughout the world? Did they not climb Mount Everest and one Indian girl did it without legs? Did they not reach the top most position in the corporate world? Did they not go into space and have museums and institutes built in their name? Did they not become most respected police and administrative officers and have their documentaries being aired on international channels? Did they not win in Olympics?
Let’s look at the latest grand achievement of Indian daughters: Olympics 2016, 2 prestigious medals of India and both of them bagged by our daughters. If it would not have been for our girls, we would have returned empty handed from Olympics and you think that a boy is a must to fulfill our dreams? Is a daughter not enough?”
In a nation where girls are outnumbered, killed in the womb, thrown in bins, not allowed to study or get into a profession of their choice, their face burnt with acids, many raped for lust and killed for dowry, they still gather the courage to come forward, to fight, to rise and to achieve the unthinkable. Imagine what our girls can achieve if they are protected, respected, pampered and their talents nurtured. Despite having all resources, this country is not developed because our girls are looked down upon. The day we start respecting our girls, we will be super power.
Now, coming to bhudape ka sahara old age support. Is your retirement and old age planning, the responsibility of your child? It is your onus. Don’t expect it from or blame it on, your children. Your job is to bring up your kids well and then set them free. Let them go into this world to navigate their own path of gutsy explorations and mind-blowing achievements. They will never discover what their life was meant to be, if you hold them captive at home.
A daughter may outgrow your lap bu she will never outgrow your heart.
Even in animal kingdom, parents teach their offspring to the best of their ability and set them free, forever; Not selfishness but Genuine Love forms the basis of Real Parenting. It only knows how to give and expects nothing in return. A daughter or a son, it discriminates none. True love does not ask for physical presence or demands old age care. It only wishes for child’s well-being and keeps on sending prayers.”
This guy was quiet now but still disagreeable in his demeanour. I was looking at him and trying to understand why he is still holding on to that mindset (boy should be there). I thought for a while and spoke, “I believe it is fear and insecurity that makes you crave for a boy and to have him live with you and look after you in your old age.”
Guy asks, “What do you mean?” I explained, “Look at you, you are age 33, but you look 50. You drink and smoke. You overeat (most dangerous) and then lead a sedentary lifestyle. I have never seen you exercising or eating correct foods. In fact, health is your last priority and fitness is no priority at all. You desire a son because one day when you will fall sick and get diseased due to this long term body abuse, you can become a sad and expensive liability on your child. Isn’t it shameful to become that by choice? Is this an example you set in front of your children as to how one must live life?
There are people in this world who are trying to become a blessing (not a curse) to their children. They take care of their health and try to stay fit. They respect nutrition. They exercise. They stay away from drink/smoke and also tell their friends/family to do the same. They save for their old age. They plan for medical emergencies in later years of life. They are strictly against burdening anyone. They want to live honorably and leave honorably. These are people who live up to 100 years and even when they are 80, you can see them bench press or run a marathon with their grandchildren. They don’t become liability on anyone. They inspire. They set a true example of what this life is and how it should be lived.”
The guy cut my talk in the middle and said, “I agree with your points but I disagree with your point about why I want a son. I actually want a son and want him (and his family) to stay with me in my old age because I don’t want to be alone in my old age. After I retire, I would be at home as world would not need me or my services anymore. If my son and his family would be there, I will get companionship. I will be happy to see grandchildren in my house and playing with them will bring me joy. Ghar Main Ronak Hogi. I don’t want to die of old age in my bed, all alone, with no one to perform my last rites.”
I replied, “Insecurities don’t breed companionship. Love, Duty and Devotion, does. You live your life and let your grown up children live their own. Ghar main bachon ko qaid kyun karna hai apko? Aap khud bahar jao aur duniya main ronak lao.
Our Late Former President, Dr. A. P. J Abdul Kalam Azad was 83 when he passed away and he was working till his very last day. He did not die alone in bed at home. He was in Shillong and was going to give a lecture at IIM but met with a cardiac arrest. Entire nation went into grief and a 7-day state mourning was declared to respect him. He did not marry, did not have children but 350,000 people attended his last rites. It’s been more than a year that he is gone and millions of us still can’t stop missing him. His name, his biography, his books, his work and his legacy will live on with us, forever. He will never be forgotten.
You can work (if you choose to) till the very last day of your life. With 40-60 years of learning and skill development, what is the point in sitting at home and wasting those assets? Please Don’t. Go out and work. No one can and no one will stop you. Rather, you will be admired and respected. You can make more contribution at age 60 than what you could make when you were a novice at age 20. Enrich the world with your learning and experience.
Do you know Sir Amitabh Bachchan? Do you know our PM, Sir Narendra Modi? They have crossed 65 but the spirit with which these people work and kind of performance they deliver, puts most youngsters to shame. Every day, they are getting better at their work and their contribution today, is much more significant and powerful than what it was 30 years back. You can truly choose to work till you drop. Then you can happily say that you really enjoyed every single second of being alive and made the most of this opportunity called ‘Life’.”
After this I went quiet (I believe my anger went away). There was utter silence. The guy spoke after sometime, “Thank you Prashant jee for this talk. I needed it. What I said was very wrong. Forgive me. I request that you pen down your views and post them on your page. I want to share them with few people.”
Hence this article and I dedicate this article to every single daughter of this country (including my little ‘Noor’). You daughters are greatest gift of God to us and we are truly blessed to have you in our lives. You complete our world. Forgive us for respecting you any less than what you deserve and may we do justice to our role as parents, guardians and humans. Amen!”
Love and Regards to you all!
About Author: Master trainer Prashant is a fitness coach who helps to bring out the best in you and takes you to an extraordinary level of life. If you like his article, please do share it with people you love (esp. daughters) and connect with him on his FB page.