This story starts with the Chinese gender calendar. It is a special calendar with months marked in pink and blue so that those who are planning to have a baby can choose to have a girl or a boy by timing the conception accordingly. I came to know about it when I was toying with the idea of having a second child. Thrilled to have this supernatural power in my hand, I quickly weighed the pros and cons of choosing pink or blue.
The case for Blue appeared strong with points like the pleasure of raising both a son and a daughter and exploring the world of action toys. But if I considered that my prime reason for having a second baby was to have a play companion and confidant for my daughter, Pink had a strong case too. Plus it had practical implications, like reuse of the embarrassingly humongous pile of pink and purple Legos, kitchen toys, dolls, dollhouses, princess clothes, accessories and shoes which I had hoarded since the birth of my daughter. It also meant the reuse of my in-depth experience in buying all things girlie! My short-sighted materialistic eyes were really swayed by this immediate benefit. Confused, I finally decided to give both Pinks and Blues the same chance. Soon we were expecting our second one and the calendar said I had conceived in a Pink month!
As soon as the good news was out, I was gifted a picture of Lord Krishna to hang in my room (by let’s say P1). Seeing His face everyday would bring me a Baby Boy. Oh dude!! Could Krishna undo the power of the Chinese Calendar? I looked at the picture and thought – it’s Krishna vs the Chinese! The picture was hung, but in the Puja area, because I don’t like to put religious pictures in my bedroom. Krishna was by no means alone in his battle against the Chinese. Yet another person (P2) reinforced his powers by always speaking of the baby as a boy –much to my daughter’s annoyance, who in turn, much to P 1 and P2 ’s annoyance insisted that she wanted a sister.
Days passed and my baby was delivered. But the same doctor who had so joyously announced the birth of my first child with “it’s a girl!”, was silent. I had to ask her – girl or boy? It’s a girl, she said. Why didn’t she announce it joyously? Was everything not ok with the baby, or was she worried that I might break down in sobs if she told me that Lord Krishna had indeed lost to the Chinese? Come on, this is Bangalore. This is 2015. This is the most sophisticated and modern birthing center here with equally sophisticated and modern clientele. Do women here cry over such matters? These things happen in villages, right. I must be reading too much into this, I thought.
In the days that followed I was flooded with congratulatory messages and was just too happy to care about the P3, P4 and a few more, who said in very consoling voices – It’s Okay. If they thought being blessed with a healthy baby was just Okay, and not absolutely excellent, what could I possibly do to change their assessment? A very well meaning person said that I should consider adopting an heir. A third heir, you mean? I asked with a shocked laugh. However, by now I knew that I was really seeing the itsy-bitsy-tiny-tippy of a very huge and ugly iceberg.
So the next time I stood before Krishna I was forced to remind him that He cannot afford to take the “baby boy projects” so lightly. Not Yet. The boy mania is far from over. Probably millions of women out there cannot laugh off his failure to bring about a baby boy as a minor joke. I could see before my eyes a less fortunate mother being forced into an abortion and a less fortunate baby girl being killed. May Krishna be with all these women. May He protect them from murderers. May we all find a little bit of Krishna in us to cherish and protect the gift of life in all forms, boy or girl.