This morning (February 6, 2011), I was on my way to Worli and was lucky enough to get a seat in the bus. So, I decided to read and simultaneously listen to music. After I completed half the journey, the lady beside me said something. Rather, she asked me something. I removed my earphones and before I could even ask for a repeat, she repeated herself, “Kya aap married ho?”
I smiled gently and conveyed a “No”.
“Kabhi Karna bhi mat,” she told me. I did find this weird, but I kept the weirdness aside and asked her what happened guessing she was going through a terrible phase. Now, I put away my phone and thought of continuing the conversation.
As she talked, I also shut my book and put it in my bag.
She told me that she was married for three years and her husband did not contribute a penny towards “his” family, which comprised her and their one and a half year old daughter. He was his parent’s only son and the only child, to be more precise. And before I could even ask her name, she said that he has applied for a divorce. This was certainly disturbing. So, I went on to ask: aapka naam kya hai?
“Sita,” she said. After this I don’t remember asking her a single question. She talked and talked like she knew me since a long time. Time and again, I did nod to assure her that I was indeed paying attention to what she was saying.
Sita is the youngest after four girls, who are happily married. When she was in her Third Year, studying B. Com, her parents got her married to this man (she answered her board exams after getting married). She also had to give dowry. Her parents had aged and they wanted their youngest daughter to get married before anything unfortunate could happen to them. But all complications paved their way after Sita gave birth to a “baby girl”. She continued conveying that her in-laws wanted a boy, and this gave rise to all the problems. As she talked, her daughter was fast asleep on her mothers lap.
I wanted to listen to more, but my stop was approaching. And yet, she did not leave me. She had no clue, as to who I was and asked me if I was any person holding any important position, anywhere. I smiled and said I am a Third Year student. She immediately had a fallen face. And I could do nothing. I’m sure it was her college days she remembered. All I could do was to smile and say a goodbye.
This incident did leave me thinking through the day and I thought Sita is a lady who comes from a female majority family and her husband, on the other hand, a female minority. What if he’s the only son? It is still a 2:1 ratio. Every time I think “gender biases” can be put to an end, some incident crops up which suggests that it is in fact a challenge. 😦
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