Being raised in a society where girls get married at the age of 18, I knew I wanted things different for me and my sister. My father too wanted things different for us, so we moved to the city. His never ending transfers kept his away from us for months. As a six year old, I would always hear Aunties asking my mother, “don’t you have a son?”, and it bugged me more than it should have. I remember telling my mother once, “Mumma I’m strong. I’ll be the son you never had” and she just smiled at me.
As years passed by, I knew I was privileged to be allowed to study in an English medium school unlike my other female cousins, but I was still a kid and my mind would wonder off often. One day, I saw my mother crying, when I asked for reason, she said, “I always wanted to be independent, to be able to earn and spend on my own, but I can’t. I don’t want the same for both of you, but I can’t fight for you if you don’t get good marks”. The ten year old me understood her situation. I just replied, “Mumma I’m strong. I’ll be the son you never had”.
When it was time for me to move out for graduation, I was given a set of criteria by my father: - 1) I’m not allowed to drop after 12th to prepare. 2) I won’t be allowed to go out of state to study. 3) I need to get Government College with good ranking as they can’t afford private college fee. Fortunately I managed to fill all those criteria. It wasn’t just father, my mother was concerned too. She sat next to me and told me what our relatives are saying, “No girl have ever studied after 12th and you going in another city to study. Can’t you take a college in city? Your mami was saying that how will a girl survive alone in a new city, what if something happened to her?... and I was worried to about your safety, what if…” I cut her in between and said, “Mumma I’m strong. I’ll be the son you never had”.
I started perusing my dream course of b.tech in computer science. I was never happier, as I learned new technologies, I felt stronger. I made games, I made websites and got an internship. For the first time I felt, I’ll be able to help my father financially in near future, I’ll be able to pay for my sister’s education and I’ll be able to be everything they expected a son to be. When I received my first stipend from internship, I called my mother and said, “Mumma I’ll be the son you never had and she replied for the first time, “I never wanted a son, I wanted my daughter to be strong”.