I am going to talk about something that is kind of a taboo in our society. I am terrified because I don’t want anyone from my family reading this. But I think that it’s important that we talk about this. Having a conversation about a difficult topic is the first step in changing the perspective about that said thing.
I got engaged five years ago. And married a year later. Ever since the day my engagement was finalized, this jinn appeared out of a bottle.
I was on my ‘Shaadi Ka shopping trip’ to Pakistan when my Khala repeatedly told me to conceive immediately after getting married. Because apparently your uterus just doesn’t work after the first six months. I was a super confused 18-year-old, trying to enjoy all the shopping when everyone would shove their opinions down my throat. They meant well. Or they thought that they meant well. From my mom’s friends to my Nani’s neighbour, I was told not to use any contraception or to eat this herbal concoction.
Then there were the subtle hints from my mother and A’s mother. They would talk about how they would be fighting over the grandchild, who would get to name the baby that I would be producing. I had to sit through it all, smiling coyly, trying not to gag. Somehow our future was decided for us even before we were married.
On the actual Rukhsati day, one of A’s aunties said to me, ‘beta kal tu hamaye khushkhabri mil jayegi na ?’ I wish I had replied something, anything rather than sitting quietly through it.
The four years that have followed have included millions of such incidents, opinions shoved down our throats without asking us what we want. No. But what are you talking about ? Why would we ask the person who has to produce a child and give birth or the guy who has to bear all the tantrums of a pregnant person ? The two people on whom thus huge responsibility lies, unsay kon pochta hai ?
Time and again I have wished that there should be space for us to talk about it. To have it in the open. I don’t care about the rest of the world. I never have. But what about our parents ? What do we do about them ? I am very close to my parents and have a good relationship with them. I see the relationships around me and am thankful how good I have it with my parents. But somehow this thing hasn’t changed. Their conversations start and end with, haye tumhara baby nahi hua abhi tak. Or have you tried this thing?
Once I was over at my parents’s place, studying for an exam. As usual, my mother wouldn’t leave this alone. She was telling me about this herbal tea that someone had brought for me and was pestering me to eat it. I literally burst into tears and told her that I would stop coming to her place if she continued these shenanigans.
You would think that guys would be spared in this tragedy. But nope. Once there was this coffee with the CEO thing at A’s office and the CEO asks A, so how long have you been married?
He said, ‘Two years’.
CEO: ‘And kids?’
A: ‘No kids.’
CEO: ‘But why no kids? Have kids. Life is incomplete without them.’
Matlab CEO sahab, aap tu apnay kaam say kaam rakhaye. Reproduction kay tips tu na daina.
My point over here is why can’t we have a normal conversation about why having a baby is a big deal. And whether the couple wants to have kids or not. Or they want kids years down the lane. Or maybe they are trying but don’t want to share the pain that comes with it. Somehow there is this weird notion that you are old enough to be married but not to make your own decisions. Kya bakwas hai.
There is huge generation gap between us and our parents. And that is okay. The problem is that not a single person has ever asked IF we want kids. Or what do we both want? Somehow it has been assumed for us that without kids, life is incomplete. That frustrates me. Because why can’t we talk about it ?