migrating some of my pages, to my posts. you might see content you’ve read before. bear with me for a bit.
jaisalmer, december 2007
i do not remember her name but i remember her story.
at a village on the outskirts of jaisalmer, a woman sat washing utensils at a community tap. along with her were many other women, all washing utensils and clothes. with her thick kajal, long red tikka and heavy silver jewellery she had me paying attention. i was drawn in and stopped to talk. “where did you get that payal from?” and then the usual questions followed. was she married? how many kids?
three kids, all boys, she said. but she’d had two deliveries before that and they were both girls. she had ‘let them go’. i didn’t understand, and pushed for more. she went on… there is no life for girls, too much money to get them married, no use to have girls, so i ‘let them go’…
i looked around that village, i walked around for an hour. there were little boys everywhere. but no girls. and it slowly seeped in… i hadn’t understood the first time around. no little girls… ‘i let them go’… murder?
“whom will you get married to?,” i asked the oldest boy. “a girl from the other village, any girl in my village is my sister.” convenient, i thought to myself. there were almost no girls in his village.
i came back later and saw her still there. she called out to me, “take a picture of me with my sisters”. there were four of them. four of them – four daughters whom her mother hadn’t ‘let go’. four daughters whom her father had gotten ‘married’. photo clicked, they all peered into the camera screen, giggled and then she went back to her washing.