The oft asked innocuous questions to a newly wedded couple , ' so when is the stork going to visit?' Or ," when will we hear the pittër-patter of tiny feet?" sends shivers down my spine, bringing uncomfortable memories to the fore-front. These questions posed may be used to break the ice or tease the lady , but the underlying overtones are never pleasant and are an invasion to the privacy of an individual.
Being married for ten long years and with no addition to the family worried many people. Colleagues at work place subtly hinted at seeking medical aid.
Neighbours would 'flaunt' their babies taking pride at how fast they were at re-production.
Even my old maid pointed out to a nest chirping with fledglings , prayed God for my house to be çomplete'.
I had learnt to ignore the concerns and had built a wall of indifference around myself to ward off the barbs. I was asked by one lady in the building not to attend the 'naamkaran' (naming) ceremonies of infants. Nazar lag jayegee. I loved and still love babies and failed to understand how my presence at the ceremony would harm the innocent ones?
My neighbour's mother-in-law asked me to chant hymns and perform pujas to appease the celestial beings to become pregnant.
One old lady concluded that I had sinned as I used to partake non-vegetarian food which is forbidden in my caste.
I felt I was the cynosure of the whole world . People would discuss , debate and analyse the reasons for my barrenness. Their fertile imagination made it embarrassing for me and my husband to attend weddings and parties where the topic of the bedroom gravitated to the drawing room. I could have written a thesis on this subject and earned a doctorate degree.
A friend who was facing financial difficulties was seeking the help of a renowned astrologer to tackle her balance-sheet, casually asked me to meet him to find a solution to my problem. I felt I faced no problem and was on the brink of asking her to visit a financial planner instead of an astrologer.
Now my child is fifteen years old and as I look back with a degree of anger, I count my blessings as my in-laws never asked me uncomfortable questions . My parents were anxious and their concern is unquestionably natural.
My anger and irritability has scaled down with the passage of time but I have vowed never to ask personal questions to others. A woman's body is not meant just for reproduction purpose should be firmly drilled into every female's head. My heart and mind are more important than my womb.
Children are a pleasure and parenting is a mixed bag of emotions . Leave it to an individual to exercise his/her choice of continuing their lineage or not. Procreation is not universal.
Inhale, breathe deeply and allow others to breathe. Do not breathe down other people's neck.
Live and allow others to live too.
Readers have you ever been at the receiving end?
This post is written for Project 365 - A post a day .