Thursday, November 8, 2012

...they are boys

So i found place near the door of the train, plugged in my headphone, put a song on loop and tried to forget the various aches i am going through. This old lady sitting besides me gets up, and in a few minutes starts talking.

It starts with its that a phone that works by touching. I did not hear her the first time. So i pulled out one ear piece and tried to listen again. Yes, it is a touch phone. I smile. She goes on about how her daughter-in-law also had one but it did not last for long and it was quite expensive and she had got a new one. I smile and nod.

Another few minutes, my ear piece is back on and another ache is creeping in. She asks me if i work, i nod. Am i married. I shake my head. Am i a single kid. I shake my head and tell her i have 2 younger sisters. Oh she says. No brother? I have plastered the smile on and shake head, no. We are only sisters. So you have to work, she asks. No, i wanted to.
You are like a son to your parents, you are doing a sons job, she adds. (And i try to recollect how many times have i had this same conversation. About not having brothers, parents not having a son, me being my parents son. Do people not realise how annoying it is?)

I keep smiling and shrug.

She tells me how these days daughters are the one who actually take care of their parents. How sons don't care anymore. She has 2 sons herself. She is a widow. None of the sons ask her how she is. If she would want something. Not that she wants anything, she says. But it would feel nice to think someone cares. Cannot argue that now. I smile and nod.

She tells me how she was 6yrs old when she lost her mother. Then was sent off to a boarding school, when she came back to Hyderabad, her father married her off to a drunkard. The husband would beat her. Yell at her. Then she was pregnant with her first son. She came back to her father's place. But then she went back to her husband. She always wanted a daughter. But she had a son again. She got angry at god, told him no more kids. Give to others who are childless. To those women who get called barren.

She tells me don't marry unless you want to. Do not compromise on that. How she had met so many girls who are pressurized by their parents to marry, how they are left with nothing else in their lives. Don't marry if you think you don't ever want to. Make a life for yourself.

[I have gotten my ears pierced again. It is so much easier to be distracted when you are nursing physical pain. The headache from all the anger gets shadowed.]

I did not get to say bye to that old lady. Maybe next time i'll catch the same train and meet her again.

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