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When I was pregnant with my first child, I remember wishing fervently for a baby girl. For I wanted to raise my precious girl-child in the exact opposite of how I was raised and make her better than me.
 
My childhood was symbolic of the era of my time, and the product of an ultra-conservative Indian-Roman Catholic upbringing. I was told to go to the kitchen and make myself useful when visitors came, when all I wanted to do was sit with them and hear the stories they told and live a little of the world outside my tiny part of nowhere.I was always admonished because I laughed too loud, I walked too proud, I talked too much and I was too vain. I grew up hearing “It’s a curse having girls, I wish I had all boys,” “You are too bold... a woman should have fear in her heart,” “Stop behaving like a man,”; “No, you cannot wear pants – it is vulgar,”; and an even stranger one when they got really exasperated... “God forgot to add a penis when he made you.”
 
The eldest in my family however, had one, so most naturally all my parents meagre earnings went into sending it overseas to become ‘someone’. That left nothing much for the rest of us – two girls and another boy. The elder girl succumbed to the rules of womenhood of that time, and went quietly into the night of being the perfect wife, mother and daughter. The younger girl rebelled and raged , raged against the dying light... every nerve and fibre screaming against the invisible shackles of ‘culture’, ‘religion’ and ‘environmental conditioning’ that would have made her just another statistic...
 
 
 
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