Thursday, November 13, 2008

The Girl Child : A personal journey by Nimi Khanna

"STILL BORN".My aunt announces loudly. But she had already kept the gunny bag ready. She hurriedly throws me into it. It's dark inside. I am suffocating. The bag is tightened.I struggle to breathe. I am thrown. Into a drain.
My tiny hands cannot move.
My little legs are numb.
The small world I momentarily knew becomes silent.
I am getting wet.
I am cold.
I am tired and hungry.
I am now losing the energy to move.....

Suddenly I hear a loud voice. A strong voice. A determined voice saying,"..but I still want to see the face of my still born child." The bag is lifted. Two gentle hands, soft hands,warm hands reach inside the bag.
The first touch--my Mother!
She screams, she cries..."my baby, my baby".
I move, I begin to kick.I am alive!
SHE'S NEW BORN ,NOT STILL BORN." She is a little girl", my mother announces.
"Yes, a girl and she is a curse" shouts my aunt. My mother's gentle arms tighten around me. I am safe.
I am Ganga .I am named after the kind river that flows from the melting snows of the Himalayas.
"It gives life to people, animals and plants"My mother says "Some bad people make it dirty but still it continues to flow. May my little girl. become like this river, the ever flowing nurturer" I love Amma. She is so clever and wise. She sings to me. She tells me many stories. From her I learn to knit ,embroider, crochet. She teaches me to cook. My big brother runs around teasing me.
"You are a girl ,so you have to learn these girlie things."
I stick my tongue out at him and cry. Amma lifts me and puts me on the swing and pushes ir higher and higher. Amma's happy voice rings in my ears"
"Ganga, go touch the skies ! There is nothing Bhaiya can do that girls cannot".
Bhaiya later became a chartered accountant. I entered the man's world too, and became an investment banker. But I continue to knit. One purl, one knit,one purl,one knit,on and on I go... Hey, this is like counting beads. There is nothing girlie about it. Bhaiya needs councillors to get answers for his bussiness problems. I pick up Amma's needles and knit, one purl,one knit.
Like meditation, it connects me to myself.
Actually,it has even connected me to my Bhaiya. He called the other day asking me to teach his two teenage girls how to knit.
I am Ganga a powerful force of joy and giving. Like that great river I have no prejudices about the past,nor any fears of the future.
I flow joyously in the moment, only in the moment.
My gunny bag opened and I got a chance to live. Many other bags never get opened.
Thought provoking message from Shekar

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