Everytime a girl is born in an Indian family, the doctor says, “Laxmi aayi hai”. Laxmi means goddess of money and prosperity. Yet, the country ranks forth as the most dangerous nation for women safety with the biggest problem being female foeticide. Do we not want money and prosperity? Since the day a girl is born the parents start counting days of her marriage and the amount of dowry they will have to pay. A girl for her parents means a lot of expenditure since the day she is born. The girl’s parents keep discussing on how to save for her and two girls means a burden they might crush under. Many couples keep trying to have a boy because who will take forward the family name and yeah, a boy means a positive investments which will bring returns throughout their lives (they too seek dowry). Parents are on a constant vigil and keep harking about how to stay pure and away from strangers. Everyday after her first period the girl is scrutinized for any miss-deed. She is fed day in and day out, though not directly, that she must stay away from men and that one wrong step will throw her out of the house. She is fed with the feeling of fear that the family reputation is on her shoulders and if even somebody lies about her character they all will die in shame. On the other hand, a guy is free to do whatever he likes. Some parents will have some restrictions for him too but a guy can never bring shame to their family name. Late nights, rape, sex, assault and every thing else brings shame only to the girl and never the guy. I once asked a guy why the society behaves in such an unfair fashion and his reply shocked me. He said, “Society is doing the right thing because—A key which opens many locks is called a master key but a lock which can be opened by any key is useless—.” Disgusting? Yes. This is our lovely country and its youth. Seema*, a middle class girl I know, used to save money when she was in college and one day bought a few things with that money. She was late from college by one hour. Her parents asked her a million questions as to where she bought all the stuff from and why was she late. You know what they might be thinking. Another girl Srishti* received a message from a random number reading ‘I love you’. The parents tortured the girl to reveal who sent this message and when she denied any familiarity with the number, she was thrashed till the parents could not continue beating her. Yet another girl was barred from studying anywhere beyond 5 kilometers radius from her house, all her life because somebody tried to assault her. Women live in dilemma all their lives. There are restrictions you can’t deny because your family keeps staring at you with puppy dog eyes saying that any step you take can be wrong. You cannot choose anything you please until it has been verified. A career means engineering or teaching or maybe a doctor or accountant because anything else is too vulnerable. A woman must be married off before her 28th birthday because after that she’s past a marriageable age and no young single guy would marry her. Problems from the day born to the day they die, struggling day in and day out to survive and yet not offend anybody else’s existence. ———— About the Author: This article is contributed by our intern, Utpala. Utpala finished her English Honours and is doing her Masters in English from Delhi University. She writes because she believes that written words never die and pen is mightier than sword. She has joined hands with Respect Women to speak out the thoughts she has during the vacuum hours of her days.