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My very first memory comes from the day that my brother was born…
…I was four years old and brushing my teeth, while my brother and sister terrorized me from the hall:
“Now that he’s born you’ll be nothing!”
“No one will remember to feed you!”
“Indian sons are kings, and Indian daughters are a waste!”
The final comment hit me the most. I didn’t understand it then, but the truth would appear in years to come…
…They were a sickening pair, my two over-glorified brothers. If they weren’t soaking up the praise for their average grades, they were skipping household chores, or always getting dibs on the biggest buttered naan. But the truest cause of my realization, was the things that occurred outside of the home. Like the time that we attended a party at a banquet hall, to honour the birth of a baby boy.
Hmm…thousands of dollars on a banquet hall, and all because of a little boy?
Yup. It was a style of party that happened then, and a party that continues to happen today.
I’m pretty sure I know how it started too:
(a village in India, on an ordinary day in “yesteryear”…)
“Err…we haven’t had a feast in a while.”
“Yeah I know, and the next arranged marriage isn’t for another six weeks.”
“Wait…Rajeev just had a son, maybe we can get him to hold a feast!”
“Okay…but is that a good enough reason?”
“Of course it is dummy. We’re honouring Rajeev’s sperm cell for having a y-chromosome.”
“Sounds good…let’s do it.”
And that’s how the custom started…
Okay, okay… so maybe I’m poking fun at a cultural tradition…maybe. To tell you the truth, these feasts are in honour of the January Lohri fest. In the truest sense, this festival is meant to celebrate a couple of things: the harvest, and fertility. Well Canada doesn’t have a January harvest, so all that leaves is a fertility-feast. And hey guess what? Around these parts, the baby boys are the center of attention (I’ve never even seen a baby girl being honoured in a feast…that’s probably because she’s stuck at home, mopping up the floor with her diapered-butt…).
But wait a minute…aren’t baby girls an act of fertility too?
They sure as heck are, so what gives?!?!
If it has to do with boys being better than girls, I will plug my ears right now.
This can only mean that there isn’t a reason, so let’s stop the hate today!
Well…I’m pretty sure that’s not going to happen (ever), but maybe I shouldn’t worry. The fact remains that women are cool in a lot of ways (including us Indo-Canadian ones), so even when a girl grows up in the shadow of a boy, she will find a way to win (like in 1991, when I stepped on my brother’s naked foot with an ice skate. Don’t worry, he still has both his feet, and it only took one towel to soak up the blood (and a flurry of threats to convince him not to tell my parents…))
I followed Nigel’s link over here, from This Goes to 11. His description of you as an ‘Indian Spice Girl’ was a bit off-putting, but I was captivated with tales of the flannel pajamas (see my comments over there…:-D) Should you need a new ‘target audience’ for such, you have my FULL attention !!
Hope to be wading through the Year of the Chick for awhile, perhaps it will give me insight into just What I’m Missing…heh.
You’re looking good so far…double-entendre intended.:-D
i like your blog.
Well, I like the XY gender better…for what it is worth!
Meh. Boys smell.
The only time I really got wind of stuff like you mention was visiting family in Tanzania (My family is Greek) At 15 they tried to arrange a marriage with me to an older uncle-in-law who was the prized son. (Years later he died, of HIV, due to his promiscuity – Tanzania has one of highest HIV rates in Africa) but the family told everyone it was ‘cancer’ – didn’t mention the AIDS-related part.
My male cousin was always favoured. He got to go to Cambridge. The sisters went to beauty school and hospitality college. Sigh.
I’m all about the XX’s.
I agree with GYL – boys smell.
Besides, you’ve got your deadly ice skates to help you reinforce how much more awesome girls are 😀
I think boys were doted on a bit more on one side of my family, but that’s because my grandmother had three boys and preferred the boy grandchildren because that’s what she knew. I don’t know that it’s part of some cultural preference.
If anything, my dominant culture (American South) was still somewhat one that idealized the lady on the pedestal, yet somehow still defined her as “less than” the male…which I still don’t understand for the life of me.
Girls ARE coool .. waaay cool. Way cooler than boys.
Do they perform a circumcision at this party, as well? 🙂
I don’t know I personally happen to think us Boys kick arse. That may be because I grew up in a family of all boys. I also got a lot of attention, because I was the middle child. I didn’t have to worry about my grades, because my older brother was supposed to get the good grades. And I didn’t have to worry about my little brother soaking up all the attention, because he’s always been a whiny loser, so he was pretty annoying.
Congrats on the new blog! I have a little girl, and I really think she is the best.
All I know is you sure can’t BE a male AND give birth to a male (and even that so-called male who gave birth in the tabloids of late was really technically a female so there). So yeah, I’d say the female is pretty dang important too. If people started treating them like they were more valuable then maybe females would fare a bit better in this world.
Gosh, I’m sorry. For what it’s worth here, my kids are two girls, 15 and 21. I raised them on my own after the ex and I divorced. I’m glad I had girls. Really glad.
We all know that some cultural traditions are silly and outdated. Sometimes you just hear something that is off the hook. I believe that this actually helped you become who you are today. The males in your family were praised for mediochrity while you succedeed as a personal goal. We all see your skill as a writer. You can eleganly paint us a scenery or cause us to laugh so hard that a bit of pee comes out…all with words. Keep it up! =)
Would it have anything at all with carrying on the family name? Just a guess here. Chicks get married and even if they don’t take their husband’s name, her children will (or some weird hyphenization of it).
So to men, having a male means having a shot at the family name and heritage getting through another couple of generations.
BTW, thanks for the title of this post. Now I got that darn No Doubt song in my head…
It’s curious to me, men being as jealous as we are, that we don’t go around plotting ways to get rid of baby boys rather than celebrating their births. I mean, when/if Armageddon ever comes, you think there won’t be some guys out there stuffing their harems and knocking off the competition?
That’s bull. We all know I should get the biggest buttered naan.
Congrats on the new blog m’dear.
(And in my family, females are on the bottom of the totem pole too)
Sounds like your ice skate on the brother’s foot was a great way to get the ball rollin’, or the ice skate smashin’ on a new leaf towards equality 😉
Girls smell too, but I like them better. I think that the world is about to enter a matriarchal phase in the near future. Womankind will be back on top.
I like your little culture links, very educational Romi, thanks! 🙂
Mmmm, that Indian bread looked tasty. Well, being an Italian I certainly know nothing about your culture, other than my Bend It Like Beckham movie and my Hindi Bindi Club book. I find the clothes beautiful and the spices yummy. But as an ethnic girl myself, I know how the elders love the son, especially the first born. What can you say other than this: “Girls Rule, and Boys Drual.”
Awesome that your new blog’s proverbial wheels are in motion.
B Smith: Hope your wading through “Year of the Chick” went well, haha, and thanks for the kind words, and to Nigel for linking me! 🙂
Otto mann: short and sweet and thank you! 🙂
morethananelectrician: it’s NOT worth anything, boys suck! Hahaha, only kidding, I love boys (like remember my last blog? ;-))
GYL: oh dear, that sounds like some serious drama on the Tanzanian-hubby front (yikes), sorry you were subjected to that…but look at you now! 😉
Pure Evyl: I knew I could count on you to be on the right side 😉
ramblecious: do you know I keep a pair of deadly ice skates with me at all times? You know, just in case I need to use some muscle (since I don’t have real muscles, haha… 😉 )
Taoist Biker: I don’t understand that either: pedestals are meant to make one person better or more admired than another, not less, I love those thingys! 😉
Red: hahaha…I probably would have remembered if there were circumcisions at these parties, and no there were not! 🙂
Kerplar: that’s so crazy; you GOT attention and you were a middle child?? I didn’t get any and I was a middle child, but maybe that boy/girl difference played a part, haha… 😉
Andy D: thank you, and I bet your little girl is very lucky! 🙂
teeni: really, so that wasn’t a pregnant man afterall? Hmm…so I guess science is still a little ways off from making that Arnold Shwarzenneger movie come true (I SO spelt his last name wrong, haha… 😉 )
Greg: so you sure know a lot about girls, and I’m sure you’re raising some fine upstanding women, good job! 🙂
Justin: oh ya, there’s tons of traditions that are silly, it’s just odd that they prospered in my lifetime (or continue to), and that’s probably why I need this free blog-therapy, haha… 😉
PS: knowing that people might pee a little from what I write, is probably the most motivating thing I’ve heard in ages, thank you!!! 🙂
Nigel: the name-thing, plays some part, but there’s so much more of an everyday superiority that hangs there…it’s so much more than just a last name.
PS: sorry that song is in your head now, I did it to myself as well, haha… 🙂
dobeman: you are SO…effin’…enlightened…Like where were you when I was growing up with two brothers? Haha… 😉
lonelycanadiangirl: umm…maybe you and I can split the biggest buttered naan 😉 …and thanks! 🙂
duffboy: and believe me it didn’t end with the ice skate, but legally, I’m not able to talk about the rest of it… 😉
David: I’m glad you got a little education out of this; sometimes that’s better than the times that I just disturb people with my words… 😉
thegirlfromtheghetto: hahaha…I love that saying, first time I heard it, and yes, that movie and that book are great eh? (and I found out about the book because of you, thanks! 🙂 )
mike0488: thanks, and I hope those wheels stay greasy and squeak-free for a while 😉
I’m so glad I found your new digs (okay, you didn’t make it too challenging with the whole link thing), and I’m so glad that you must share an interest in Smurfs too.
I think girls get the shaft in many cultures (e.g., female circumcision, orphanages due to child quota, etc.). Maybe you could go on an interenational mission with your ice skates.