14 March 2006

So you want to be a girl?

I grew up in house full of men. My mom was the only women there. She would lament "I wish I had had a girl! So that I wouldn't feel so lonely.Someone who would share my burden" It was true, no one lifted a finger, she would have to do everything at home.
"Mom, where's my shirt? Mom where's my breakfast? Mom where's the chai?"
She would say she would have liked to be like a Hindu goddess with a thousand arms. So tht she could do all the thousand things at the same time. I would have liked to help my mom but I would not be allowed.
"Go away from the kitchen, you're a boy"
But so many times, I wanted to tell her, "Mom, I want to help you, please let me" But either I did not have the guts or the understanding as to why I felt like this.
And then one day, when everybody was away and I was alone at home. I dressed up in my mom's silk saree, put kajal in my eyes, put on a bindi, wore her glass bangles, her silver payals. I sat down on the bed and put on the TV, watched the TV serials that I would die to watch, the cookery programs, make-up help, fashion. I read her Woman's era and Femina. I felt like a woman, like somone I would have liked to be. This great day would become my routine for a few years. I would wait for days when the whole family went out and I would feign some imaginery fatigue or stomach ache. Now I was dressing three or four times a week. I became an expert on draping the saree. The gestures that I had studied watching my mother and other women became second nature. My hands automatically pulled the saree edge over my fake breasts, I would use the pullu to cover my shoulders, I would hold up my pleats when I went into the bathroom. I would tuck the pullu around me whn I made tea.
Then one day the inevitable happened. I fell asleep dressed in my finery and woke up to loud laughter. I opened my eyes and before me stood the whole family.
I frooze!
My brothers were laughing but were visibly embrassed, angry, disgusted. My father walked away mumuring something. My mother stood there, a smile on her face. She said " My god! You really know how to wear a saree. "
They all left me there on the bed. I did not know what I should do. Should I run to the bathroom and change or should I be brave.
My mom came back again into the room. She studid me and then sat down next to me.
"Why are you wearing my sarees?"
I thought for a while and then looked up at her and said " I want to be a girl!"
She got up. She said you think being a girl is dressing up in a saree?. I didn't say anything.
"So, you want to be a girl?"
She got up and opened the cupboard and took out a cotten sari and threw it next to me. "You can't wear a silk saree and do housework, my dear". She left the room. I sat there my heart racing, what do I do?
She came back a few minutes later "What are you doing? Change your saree and come into the kitchen, there is work to do".
I took the cue, I quickly took off the expensive silk saree and put on the 'house saree', an orange cotten one. I meekly walked into the kitchen.
My mom looked at me and laughed. Lets see if you can be a girl she said.

She handed me a tray with a teapot and cups. "Take this and serve them their tea!"

This was my mother's idea of womanhood.

I took the tray with shivering hands and went out into the sitting room. They sat there watching TV. They looked up at me, their mouths agape.
"Don't be shocked! 'She' wants to be a girl so she is going to be one, lets see how long 'her' desire lasts."
There was a howling round of laughter and sarcastic jokes.
But my mother was soon to be surprised by my resolve to be a girl.

Paintings by: Shuchi Krishnan

Godhuli & Spring


  1. Really nice to read it dear...need to know wat happened after that...pls continue..

  2. Really nice to read it dear...need to know wat happened after that...pls continue.. -silkybabe

  3. Oh dear ! ! !
    you know what ? i admire your mother...i like her ! ! !

  4. hai dear malika i am alos like same you . i alaways whan i am in room i wear my mum saree . ilike to saree amd ledies make up i have bloue everthing but nobody know i am like this like you . i scarae some body know i do't want falsh so thata plz my email add samlingi_2004@yahoo.com bye

  5. So you want to be a girl?

    My heart is beating fast as I read this story.

    I wonder how many more are there like the author of this story,those who have already submitted comments to this story and me.

    My heart fills with love for all of us brothers and sisters out there. I do not know what it is. Perhaps a strong bond between us based on common issues.

    feel free to write to me at sunilkumar_quest@vsnl.net
    alternate e-mail: sunilkumar_quest@yahoo.com

  6. Pls pls pls pls continue

  7. please continue this story
    i am very anxious to know the whole story

  8. This very sweet story since this is leaving a very sweet feeling in my mind. How many mothers are so generous to share their attire with us such "daughters".
    I request for the continuation of this story. Really this is an inspiring one. Thanks for publishing this.

  9. This story is very close to the tocuhy feelings of all of us. Thank you very much for such a beautiful narration. This inspires greatly.


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