Tuesday, August 8, 2017

A moment to preen

Nattu was asked to write a poem as part of her Language Arts class last school year.  She brainstormed with me different topics.  Even though she has not experienced gender discrimination, she has seen couple of instances of it when she visited India and used to ask me why girls were treated different from boys.  She has also seen her paternal grandma behaving the same with her dad and her aunt. This poem was born out of that idea. Her poem was chosen from her grade and was published in her school book

She Always Wondered Why

The cry of the newborn pierced the silence of the night
The smile on the father's face vanished at the sight
The mother knew why the father was distraught
And was worried about her child's fate.

The father wanted to kill the girl
But the mother would not allow it
The baby got a chance to live
And live she did in her own way.

As she grew she noticed little things
Her brother always got the best of everything
Attention, Love, Praise, Toys, Food
While she dealt with what was left over.

She was the topper in her class
Always a kindred soul
Earned rewards and got recognition outside
But never at home
Never from her parents.

She always wondered why
Why she is told not to play because she is a girl
Why she cannot laugh loud because she is a girl
Why she is told girls cannot argue
Why she cannot have a choice
Because she is a girl.

She went to college on a full  scholarship
Landed a job after graduating
But her parents never acknowledged her success
She always wondered why.

Once she had her own kids,
She asked her mother one day,
Why was she treated differently from her brother?
Why was she discouraged from doing things?

And in that moment
Her mother was struck with shock
What have I been doing to my own daughter?
Tears well in her eyes as her mother told her why
Her brother was favored over her.

The news enraged the girl
She was shocked and angry that just because she was a girl
She was treated differently
Does gender affect how much you love your child?

From that day
She always remembered that piece of her childhood
As she was raising her own son and daughter
She made sure to treat them equally.

The day her mother told her
That was the day her whole life changed
That was the day she found out why
She always wondered why.