952 ways to kill your daughter

by | Jun 11, 2024 | Fiction, Issue Thirty-Nine

IF your first born is a daughter then,

everyone says, first child ok-ok. Your mother is annoyed and says it is your wife’s fault. She  chooses to blame your wife, forgetting her own first born is a daughter, and she was once blamed too.

IF your second child is also a daughter then,

if she hasn’t been aborted yet, after that illegal sex-determination test you took your wife to, to that seedy lab in the gully with the flex board: Prenatal disclosure of sex of foetus is prohibited under the law, you can choke the new born with wheat grains pushed down her throat. You should/must cry at her funeral. Everyone will know how she died and they will protect you from getting caught.

If she survives and becomes a piece of your heart, you are resigned to having two daughters. Of course, you have to have another child, and keep trying till you get a son.

Try. Kill. Try again. Try, kill….

IF your third child is also a daughter,

and your fifty ways to kill your daughter fails, then name her Nakusa, meaning unwanted. It is important to call her that; to implore your God – Hey, you  gave me three unwanteds, you better give me a son next. In Satara, classrooms abound with sullen little Nakusas, little girls wishing they had no names.

You start saving for their dowries. You wonder why daughter and dowry (or dahej in your language) are not fused into one word like daughterdowry.  These are my three daughterdahejes, you say. Everyone will laugh at your cleverness.

It will help at this point to kill your wife. You can tell everyone that the cooking gas cylinder burst and her nylon saree caught fire. You can cry copious tears at her funeral.

And, get married again. And, repeat the cycle.

Later…

Remember your first born? She is a doctor now.  She runs away and marries the chauffeur. Remember your second daughter, the one who survived 951 ways to kill her?  She is a pilot and has a boyfriend from a lower caste.

You need to track both the couples down, even, if it takes a couple of years, and, even, if they are happy, and kill them. They disgraced your family. The police will say ‘honour killing’ and nod their heads sagely and you will get away with it. Your family will be proud of you for saving the family honour.

And, remember little sullen Nakusa? She marries the boy you chose – engineer, same caste, same social status…. She had a big fat wedding and you gave her a big fat dowry. She is being beaten to death now. They want more dowry. She will die soon, probably by the gas-cylinder-explosion method that everyone has mastered. Till then, you will keep telling her to adjust and think of the family honour.

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