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It's a known adage: a son is a son till he gets a wife, a daughter is a daughter all her life.
And how true is that? Being a sister to two brothers, a mother to a son and daughter, a daughter in law in a family with a daughter, I cannot say the above with conviction.
Times have changed. How wonderfully so! Gone are the days of helpless daughters that were sidelined by their own families after marriage. Husband and his family taking precedence over her own and her sad resignation to that system are things of past. I recently witnessed this silent revolution in a marriage.
My youngest cousin got hitched to her long time buddy and was it an affair to remember! The wedding took place in the picturesque locale of Una, now her marital home. The groom's family went out of their way to ensure that the bride's family especially her widowed mother (my aunt) did not feel hassled about anything. So magnanimous was their effort that they even sent young men from their own lot to help the bride's family to arrange everything. The idea of the baraat was scrapped and they requested my aunt to come with her wedding contingent to Una just so they could take over the pain and ardous preparations for a big fat Indian wedding.
Do I hear silent questions about the extravagant arrangements they had forced upon the bride? Well yes! They did; only the comfort and assistance not the expenses. They spent lavishly though not wastefully. The expenditure, however, was not heaped upon us (remember, silent revolution). All that was lavish was their enthusiastic welcome to the bride and the necessary expenses were borne by my aunt and noteworthily her elder son-in-law(this is a blessed family)!
Times have changed indeed and our generation has grown up valuing love and respect. Two daughters in her family, no father, no brothers but two sons in law the elder one of whom has often been the man of the house and who in his gentlemanly demeanour has repeatedly albeit silently scorned the saali aadhi gharwali psych. He has been a pillar that never patronised the strong women he met after marriage. His Saali was the little baby sister he never had, whose vidai drove him to tears yet he stoically stood by and told her as only a father would have, "Milu! Be good, be strong and do the right thing, always."
And why these men are a part of these women's lives is not fate. The daughters that know their place in the world and their families will hold up the banners of their folks even after marriage. We need such daughters and we need to make them so.
Next time you think of bringing up a strong girl child, think pride not vanity, think deep, all encompassing love not self-serving goals and most importantly, think a kind compassionate human being not a daughter or a son!