Kavya called her father as the meeting finally got over.
“Yes Kavya, I have taken my medicines.” her father said, as he picked up the phone.
Kavya smiled hearing that, it was a routine. She always called at least one or twice in the day to check on her father. It annoyed him a bit, said he is not a child, but she couldn’t help it.
“Did you check the profile I told you about?” her father continued.
“Not yet, papa”
“Kavya, I know you are busy, but this is important too.”
“Yes papa, I’ll do it in a while.”
She put the phone down after promising to see yet another profile of a “prospective groom”. She was tired of it, for the last six months since her father had convinced her to get married, it’s like all she had been doing is watching profiles of men on matrimonial sites. It’s not like she had something against marriage, but the thought of leaving her father alone troubled her.
She was a single child, who had lost her mother few years back in a car accident. She and her father only had each other. She wanted a partner who would treat her father as his own, the way she is expected to treat his parents.
Since childhood, whenever people asked about her family, and she replied that she is a single child of her parents, the next question which usually followed was: “Oh, You don’t have a brother?” Some of them would look at her with concern and pity for her and her family, like something bad has happened. She couldn’t understand the reason behind this at that time. But as she grew older, she finally understood how the society differentiates between boys and girls, and last few months has shown her nothing much has changed. After all, a son is the “budhape ki lathi” for his parents, but a girl can’t be, even if she wants to.
She has come to know that many families who call themselves educated and modern, still want a girl who cooks like a chef, but should also be working. A girl who is highly educated, but should wear sari all the time and cover her head with a pallu after marriage, on top of such bizarre things is, the girl should not take any responsibility of her family. She knew this was one of the reasons some families who otherwise liked her profile, but her being a single child, they didn’t want their son to marry her. Because they must have feared that even after marriage taking care of her father would be her responsibility, and surely they didn’t want their son to be burdened with that.
A few days back she had chatted with a guy who had shown interest in her. After chatting for 1-2 days, just when she was thinking that this could go further, the guy had the audacity to tell her, “You know Kavya, most men don’t want to marry a girl who doesn’t have any brother. They know that at some point in future, the responsibility of the girl’s parents will fall on her, and indirectly on her husband.” It was like he was telling her: “If I marry you, I will be doing a favor to you and your family”. Well, she had told him “no, thank you” as politely as she could. But it saddened her that, even this generation people have such thinking.
She was lost in her thoughts, when a voice called her from behind, it was one of her colleague calling her for a coffee break. Well, she definitely needed some caffeine.
Kavya reached home late, and saw her father waiting for her, as always.
“You got late today.”
“Yeah, a last-minute meeting ended up being a long one.”
“Kavya, come here beta, I want to talk to u.”
She sat beside her father. She knew what her father want to talk to her about, but couldn’t say no.
“Kavya I know, I am the reason you don’t want to get married right now.” This was her father, straight to the point. She couldn’t deny what he said, her father knew her too well.
“No, listen to me dear, I know you are worried that who will take care of me. But I can take care of myself, and if certain situation comes in the future, there are many good old age homes…”
“What are you saying papa, what is the meaning of me being educated and independent if I can’t even take care of you when you need it.” Kavya interrupted her father.
“I didn’t raise you to take care of me dear.” Her father said.
“That’s not the point papa, you know what I mean.” Kavya did not like this conversation.
“I know what you mean dear, but the society doesn’t work like that.”
“Papa, I don’t care about the society. But I can’t marry a guy who expects me to take care of his parents like my own, but can’t do even half of that for you. Nobody knows what the future holds, what if something happens to me, or I become disabled, would he not take my responsibility too? What will my child learn from that kind of father?”
After a long discussion, her father finally resigned himself to the fact that she wasn’t budging from her point. That night, Kavya lay in her bed, thinking why it’s such a big deal for everyone, if a girl wants to take responsibility of her parents. She believed it is both, the right and responsibility of a child, be it son or daughter. Why is it so difficult to find someone who agrees with her? Well difficult or not, she will not settle for someone who won’t share her beliefs. She wanted a partner, for whom it wouldn’t matter whether she has a brother or not.
She doesn’t want a knight in shining armor coming on a white horse. She wants someone who comes to her in a modern age vehicle with his family, and has a space for her and her father in it. Smiling at her twisted fairy tale, Kavya succumbed to sleep.
p.s : This story is inspired from real life incidences I have seen. Its high time the society changes its age-old mentality. A girl has every right to take care of her parents as much as a boy.