A son speaks:
Do I have the choice of sitting back and letting someone else worry about the next meal on the table? Do I have the choice of not being the head of the family?
Do I have the choice of not performing my filial duties as the eldest born?
Am I bound to care for my younger siblings, see that my sisters are married and my brothers educated and settled in white-collar jobs? Am I supposed to see to it that my children are provided for, a house, an education, a future?
So what if I am the chosen progeny? Am I supposed to be "duty bound"?
Do I have to subjugate my independence to "Son, you must. It is expected of you, so are you supposed to"? These doctrines tie my spirit from taking wings.
Can I not say, "I am not responsible for you, my brothers, my sisters, my wife, my children, each to his own and as one is destined to?" You make or break your own destiny. Am I being fatalistic, nihilistic when I voice these views?
There are questions that I must ask myself. I am in a pre-destined position-the eldest born and that too, a son. The one who carries my father's name forward, the future scion of the family. A veritable don! Am I prepared to give up these privileges?
If not, then why this quandary?
In retrospect: an answer from a daughter
To each his own dear brothers, father, son, and husband. If it was not so by what is demanded of us, am I to be kept the last to eat from the family plate, while my dear mother, feeds you with the choicest fare?
Am I to be sent to the government vidyalaya, while you put on a tie, slick your hair with the oil from the household press, and are accompanied proudly by my father to the "English Boarding School"?
Tutored by the best English-speaking ladies from Darjeeling, while I languish in the corner, trying to interpret, trying to glean "pearls of wisdom" that are "pearls before a sow" to your nonchalant ears.
Am I, too, to be married off to a man, my father's peer, then sold to the helicopter lady from Bombay, flashing her jewels and promising a 25 percent on the deal that you make on me? Am I not the source, the shakti spirit from whence you were born, but am I to cast aside, a masomat widow. No land to my name, no place in society, not even considered as a community member, dejected and degraded.
Am I, too, to be demeaned, called witch, sorceress, fed the basest and plagued by the likes of you my dear brother, father, son and husband. All in the name of being a woman. How then should I console myself?