Kanuben Sanghod does not want any more kids. After giving birth to 18 in 18 years of marriage, her protest seems justified. But her husband Ramsingh doesn’t want the ‘production line’ to stop until she gives him one more son. Of the 15 surviving kids, only one is a boy and Ramsingh is hoping that once he has another boy, both his sons will shoulder the financial burden of looking after this XXXL family.
While reading the family’s story on page 16, I was initially amazed, horrified and completely disgusted by Ramsingh’s archaic and chauvinistic attitude. However, I later decided to keep aside my urban sensibilities that, quite often, rob us of not only objectivity but compassion too. It is then that I realised that poverty and illiteracy make for a toxic cocktail. It not only has a corrosive effect on the dreams and aspirations of those who are caught up in a vortex of abysmal futures, but creates a circumstance of perennial marginalisation. Ramsingh is a product of that toxicity and crucifying him for his beliefs is like killing the messenger, not curing the condition.
Having said that, I pity Ramsingh’s unborn 19th. If it’s a girl, she, just like her older sisters, will be faced with a lifetime of disappointment from her father. And heaven forbid it’s a boy. He will have to bear the burden of oversized expectations on his young shoulders from the day he opens his eyes. Expectations that could easily cripple his own desires and hopes from the future.
I only hope all of Ramsingh’s children have the courage to dream for themselves, and the persistence to realise those dreams, for that alone can save them from getting sucked into the black hole of decrepitude.
Let me know what you think. Until next week,
POVERTY and ILLITERACY make for a TOXIC cocktail. It has a corrosive effect on the dreams and ASPIRATIONS of those who are caught up in a VORTEX of ABYSMAL futures