*Inspired from true events*
Summer Vacation of 2008 recently got over.
One afternoon, Ananya and her siblings were having lunch- Daal- Bhaat. She quickly finished it to pack her bag for back-to-back tuitions. While leaving for her room, she kept her plate in the kitchen.
In 10 minutes the most studious child of the family was ready to go for tuition and was searching for her cycle keys.
“Anu Didi, Mera Bhi Plate Rakh Aa” requested her brother.
“Sorry, Ishu, I am getting late. I can’t even find my cycle keys”, replied Ananya.
“Arey, Rakh Aa Jab Bhai Bol Raha Hai. Ek Second Lagega. Kitna Late Ho Jaegi”, interrupted Ananya’s grandmother.
“Dadi, Mai Apni Khud Rakhkar Ayi Hu Na.” said Anu to her grandma putting forward a strong point.
“Tu Toh Rakhegi Hi Khud. Abhi Se Aadat Dalegi, Tabhi Agle Ghar Me Kaam Kar Paaegi. Ja Beta Rakh Aa,” commanded Dadi.
Ananya gave a very cold look to her brother and thought that keeping the plate in the kitchen was a better option than arguing with her grandmother. She picked up his plate and angrily dropped it in the sink.
Her younger sister who was assisting her in finding keys came running.
“Anu Di, I found your keys.” said little Tanu.
Ananya immediately took the keys and left for tuitions. The scorching heat of the sun was extracting her energy.
But, one thing which burdened her head more was her Dadi’s comment – “Agle Ghar Mein Kaam Ki Aadat Aise Hi Dalegi”
She couldn’t recall Dadi’s exact words but she surely understood that though Dadi addresses her and her siblings as ‘Beta‘ but there lies a difference in the way she sees them
During the tuition, she was all distracted and Dadi’s words kept messing with her nerves. She thought- “I have to prepare myself for another house where I will go after some 15 years. And, Ishu would probably be living in the same house for the rest of his life. He doesn’t require any preparation.
Just because somewhere some other Dadi is preparing her granddaughter to pick Ishu’s plates after 15 years.”
Ananya suffered this bias all her life but she started noticing it more often after this summer.
She was in class 10th and it was pre-boards time.
At home, preparations for a Yagna were going on as it was Ishu’s 13th birthday.
As Ananya picked her book for revision her mother called her.
“Anu, can you pluck flowers from the garden?”
“Mom, I have an exam tomorrow.”
“Haan Beta Malum Hai. Bas 5 mins Ka Kaam Hai”, requested her mother.
“Why don’t you ask Ishu to help you out. He is sitting idle”, argued Anu.
“Arey, Aaj Birthday Hai Uska. Aaj Kaam Karayenge Usse”, replied her mom.
“Ohh really, whenever it is my birthday I am the one who helps you out”, said Anu.
“You have to help me. Betiyaan Hi Toh In Kaamo Mein Maa Ka Haath Bantati Hai“, said her mom.
“Kaha Likha Hai Aisa“, shouted Anu.
“Don’t you argue Anu. Just do what I asked you to do. We are getting late. Not a word more. Go now.”, said her mother angrily.
“Arey Beta, Kyu Behas Karti Hai Maa Se. Ye Sab Kaam Bahu Betiyaan Hi Karti Hai”, said Anu’s dadi.
Poor Anu left.
As she was plucking flowers, a lot of emotions were troubling her. She wasn’t lazy nor was irresponsible then why a small work like ‘plucking flowers’ from the garden was so exhausting for her?
Maybe it was the burden of the bias she was facing which left her tired. She brought the flowers and gave them to her mother. Her mother smiled and kissed her forehead.
“Mera Achcha Beta“, she said.
Days passed, Anu passed in her boards with flying colors. Years passed, Anu was a graduate now.
She was earning quite well and supporting her family. And, seeing her potential, her manager asked her to opt for an MBA course to enhance her skills. After thinking about the idea for weeks, she put up the proposal in front of her father.
Her father was a PWD worker and a proud parent. For him, Anu was his Beta as she made him proud by becoming the best student in her graduation, a title which no “SON” had actually achieved in the family.
“Dad, I want to go for an MBA.” There was a strangeness in the room as Anu started elaborating her proposal.
“Toh Karlo, Agar Isse Career Options Badhte Hai” replied her father.
“Papa, I want to do a full-time MBA. It will require me to leave my job and pursue my masters”, explained Anu.
There was a sudden chill.
“Anu, Beta you know with my income I am already funding Ishu’s and Tanu’s education. And Ishu’s engineering is more important than your MBA. If you can work and study simultaneously then I can help you.” said her father in a depressing tone.
“Aur Phir Teri Shaadi Ka Kharcha Bhi Toh Uthana Hai Tere Papa Ko”, interrupted Anu’s mother.
“Arey Wo Ho Jayega“, said her father.
“Kaise Ho Jayega. Isse Bata De Ki Tujhpar Kitni Zimmedaariyaan Hai. Anu Beta Tu Badi Hai Samjha Kar.” argued Dadi.
“Okay, Papa”, disheartened Anu left the room.
Anu continued her job and enrolled in a long-distance MBA but one thought always stuck in her mind-“Does my family actually take me as a Beta or simply calls me Beta?”
After 4 years, Anu was happily married. One day, her brother called her
“Di, can you share the MBA preparation material?”,asked Ishu.
“Ya sure. I will forward you all the information. I can ask a few people from the University who can also help you.” said Anu.
“No Di. I just need the material. Right now I am going for MBA coaching and then I will try to get the best institute.” said Ishu.
Ishu’s words choked her. She wanted to wish Ishu all the luck but couldn’t.
All she could utter was “Hmm”.
“Ishu, Dad has to plan for Tanu’s wedding. Don’t you think you can do MBA with the job? ” asked Anu.
“Di relax. Papa said that I need to focus on my studies. Rest he will manage” replied Ishu.
From the Summer of 2008 to Summer of 2018 Anu is stuck with the same thought – Does her family just call her Beta or treat her like one.
There are many such Anus in our society.
I am not saying that Ishu is at fault. Nor I am saying her parents or Dadi don’t love her. But, I can’t understand why the bias?
Why just address her as the Beta and not treat her like one?
Call your daughter Beta only if you treat them so.
Call her Beta only if you allow her to plan her vacations with friends just like you allow your son.
Or, Call her Beta only if you think she can do your last rites just like your son.
Or, Call her Beta only if you put her equal to your son.
Yahi Sab Sehte Samjhte, Ek Din…
Koi Band Panno Mein Ashkon Ki Syaahi Se Likh Gaya
Agle Janam Mohe Bitiya Na Kijo.
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