reclaiming a lost childhood

Kala is four year old. She lives in a small rented accommodation. Her father is a daily wage worker and her mom does household work for. Three months back another baby was born to this little family. It was a baby girl. The father was livid; he had hoped, prayed and wished for a boy. His daily drinking went for bad to worse and he began holding the mother responsible for the baby being a girl. Every night he beats his wife mercilessly. Kala watches in silence hurling abuses at her.

When the little baby was but a few weeks old,the father decided that it was time to send the mom back to work as money was needed to pay the ever increasing hooch bills. A simple solution was found: little Kala would tend to the baby while her mom worked. So every morning a little four year old was left to care for her baby sister.

Luckily for kala, the landlord was a kind a wise man.He saw the plight of the little child and decided to act. He brought the little girls to the pwhy creche to get her admitted and simply told the father that if he would not send the child then he would have to vacate the room. In a city like Delhi it is difficult to find accommodation so the father grudgingly agreed. His feeble attempt to thwart the issue by saying he did not have money to send the child was pooh poohed by the landlord who simply said he would pay all that was needed for little Kala's school. So for the past week or so little Kala comes to the pwhy creche and reclaims her lost childhood. It is pure joy to see her play with toys, laugh and dance and be with children age. She is happy as a lark and perhaps dreams of these moments when she returns home and faces the reality she lives in.

Many thoughts comes to mind as one watches little Kala play. The first is undoubtedly the simple fact that it only takes one kind human being to save the life of a child and makes us wonder why more people do not reach out in this way. If we as concerned citizens did keep our eyes open and accepted to walk a tiny extra inch, perhaps many more girls would be able to reclaim their hijacked childhood. But there is another disturbing thought that emerges each time I come across a woman being blamed for the sex of her child. Why has there never been a wide reaching campaign explaining that the sex of a child is determined by the father. The mother cannot be held responsible for a child not being a boy. She simply accepts a seed and gives it space to grow.

Such a campaign could free many a woman from life long abuse and hurt in a country like ours where even the educated are not spared. So much money is spent on family planning and save the girl child blitzes. Simply explaining that a woman is not able to determine the sex of a child would go along way in clearing misconceptions and perhaps help the girl child in more ways than one.

It is time we shed our so called puritan ways and misplaced sense of outrage and addressed such issues in a direct and honest way and allow all little Kalas their rightful place.