It was my first day. I entered the class and as expected, there were very few sitting in the corner. I never thought it would drop so drastically. Not a few weeks later, I was friends with some of them and had a really good conversation. I don’t know why I asked, but her answer made me think. I questioned. Not the society, but myself. I saw myself everywhere.
Years ago when I used to sit my little sister, teaching her interesting topics which I was learning, she would grasp it really quick. I knew she was one intelligent little girl. But never did I thought that what may change her mind. The day I qualified my entrance test for the IITs, I was greeted my all the relatives. My little sister came to me and said, ‘Bhai, today my friends were saying that I don’t have to worry about anything now, is it so?’ I smiled at her and asked why? She responded, ‘they were saying that you will get a hefty package after graduation and that’s why I need not work hard anymore. And guess what, I heard aunty also saying the same thing.’ I was unaware how my being at IIT will help her.
After my first semester exams, I went home to meet my little sister. She was pleased to see me. We chatted till midnight. However, it was not until mom came and told us to sleep that I got to know she was having her half yearly exams and tomorrow was a tough one. I wondered definitely she was excited for me coming home after such a long time, but she should have studied. The next week, to my surprise, I never saw her study the way she used to. On top of that, what shocked me was that dad said nothing. He always used to advise both of us to study and manage our time, but now I see no response from him. Maybe I was focusing too much on the studies or is it like she is very intelligent, at the end she is my sister. After her exams ended, we enjoyed a lot.
Months later while in my college, I again called her in the midnight to wish her birthday. Well, I got to know that she has got a scooty of her own as a present. That is really good. I was happy about her. But something was weird. I never saw where it was heading until she was with her results. You don’t expect a student who has qualified numerous Olympiads to score low marks in subjects. It shocked me. But maybe I was overreacting. Though I don’t think I was. She was not what she used to be anymore. I needed to talk to her. But when and how?
To my rescue, came my friend. I asked my friend how to insist her to focus on studies after explaining the way things have changed back in my house after me getting qualified for IIT. She frankly said, ‘She might not focus now. I have seen one. One of my friends’ brother qualified the IITs just like us and she was always said thing like you don’t need to worry about anything. You’ll easily get married. You do not need a job. Just get a qualification from any institute.
The worst thing, she gave in.
She followed a stereotype set by the society that girls are just not made to be the sole earner. They need to earn only when she is not pretty or has not a good family status. We girls are always said these things. We are always the first ones to be taught about the cooking stuff and never gifted anything other than a Barbie doll to play with. I see my younger brother who is still insisted on learning and grasping more so as to be in the IITs. I know his potential, but no one ever let him do what he wants. It’s like we girl many a times cry about the gender ratio, yeah but it’s the women in the society who many times make us think that at the end hume to ghar me khana banana hai aur bacche paalne hai. Surprisingly most parents also give in. Proud to say, I was an exception. I believe today your fifteen years old sister is not at fault. Maybe you are the only one who can tell her about the gender ratio in our college itself. I know she is intelligent and will understand the fact.’
Is it really true what she said? I mean definitely girls are at par in all the fields, but in India are they? It is not the same in other countries I guess. Why are we following such stereotypes and harming not only girl’s progress and crushing her dreams but also hampering the boys to earn and earn more and killing their dreams? Today they are thinking about their appearance and a job. Whereas boys need to focus on your six figure package and the six pack. Don’t we feel guilty to tell a man to marry a girl who is just good looking having a good family background? Would anyone ever ask a girl to marry a man who is very caring and loving but not earning? We expect an IAS girl to have a husband with 7 figure package. People in many states have dowry ranges for IITians and MBBS grooms. An IITian girl should never marry someone below her status. And then you are expecting a man to marry anyone just to fulfil the wishes of his parents.
Definitely we may say this is a thing of past. Just question yourself, is it? There are still many villages and cities which simply prove them correct. I still remember one of my coaching teachers saying ‘ladkiya yaha aati hai IITians ko patane ke liye’. Why not just count the number of girls in your class itself and compare it with the ones in the world’s most prestigious institutes? Please do not let your daughter start her life with a doll in her hand. Never make her feel that she is settled if her brother is. She can have much more than that. Let her realize her true potential.
Note: Image used in this post is only for representational purpose.