Wednesday, July 16, 2014

The last ritual

"If anyone is going to light his pyre, it would be me. It has to be no one but me. How could they stop me from performing the post-death rituals of my father when I am the eldest child he has? I have rights, too.  No. I won't let Mukesh light the pyre since he is 7 years younger to me." She murmured as she was talking to her image in the mirror.
She was all alone in her room, latched from inside. In her family, she has her younger brother, Mukesh and youngest sister, Neha, apart from their parents. She always wanted to prove her worth as her mother used to tell her it-would-be-lot-better-if-you-were-a-boy, almost all her childhood and her adolescent. She was the most obedient child anyone could have ever noticed in her colony. She was the ideal kid by all mean any parent could ever dream off. Ever. Except that she was not a kid. Although, it never mattered to her father but her grandmother always hated her for not being a male. She'd always used to curse her mother for not producing a baby boy, and one day; she died ranting without seeing the baby boy, Mukesh taking birth. Her biggest wish realizes after her death.
"But why didn't Aditi light the pyre?" She asked her mother when she came to know that her neighbor had died in a road mishap and his 3 year old child has to perform the rituals, with the help of family, of course.
"Because Aditi is only 6 years old. She is in your class. Doesn't she" her mother told her.
"But Rohit is even younger, and then how come he did that?" She argued.
"Because she is a girl. She can't. She couldn't." Her mother concluded the conversation.
"So does that mean I won't be allowed to light the pyre of father too?" She asked skeptically as she approached her mother behind her in kitchen.
"What made you think such stupid stuffs? You are only 6. Go study." Her mother irked.
"No. I want to know. Now."
"Well, you can't. Now stop irritating me. I have chores to do."
She clearly remembers all the conversations she ever had after the time when she gained the conscious. She also remembers how her father once told her that she would perform the last rite of his. Although she knew he didn't mean it, but she always wished.
"He always calls me BETA. So that implies that I am his son." A voice raised in her head.
"But you are still a girl. And girls are not allowed to perform any such rites." Another voice in her head countered.
"No. I can and I will. No one would stop me." She decided.
"But the society won't let you. You know that very well."
"Damn the society. I wish I could. It'd be my birthday wish. I want it." She said to herself.
A knock on the door has broken her chain of self-conversation. She looked into the clock. It was 12 in the midnight. She stood and opens the door.
"Happy birthday BETA. Many-many happy returns of the day. Ask me whatever you want, my son. What is that you wish for this birthday?" her father asked her as he hugged her and kissed her on her forehead.  She realized that all the crazy things she was thinking when her father is still alive. She couldn't speak.
Regret, maybe.

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Bhopal. Delhi. Mumbai. Thrissur, India
A grammatically challenged blogger. Typos are integral part of blogging