I was walking inside a park, when I ran into an old acquaintance.
She was walking her baby in a pram. They live in Montreal, and were in Kota to attend a family function.
We exchanged pleasantries and made casual small talk. The baby, hardly a year old, screamed for attention.
“ We’re just moving, Zo!”, she consoled the child.
“Zo is a very pretty kid. Having taken after the mother”, I suggested.
“It is! Thank you so much, but prettiness is overrated. Doesn’t matter, you know. Calling my child pretty means suggesting that some other kid might not be. Just not on as I see it.”
I fumbled before such vehemence. Words deserted me. ‘It’ had escaped my attention.
“Boy or girl?”, I mumbled.
“How dare you,” she screamed.
“Whaddfuck”, I replied.
“This kid is beyond any gender. A transcendental, if you may. The parents are no one to impose. In this time and age, ah!”
“Surely, they have organs, and must be classified to begin with!”
“That is very presumptuous of you.”
“I get the choice part, but is it not a requirement? Like one got to classify a kid as per their gender to get school admissions and avail of schemes like Sukanya Samriddhi Yojana. I mean, mine was just a harmless query!”
“Till it grows up and identifies itself as a he or a she, or a trans, meta, alpha, Q or whatever, I won’t give it a label. That is the idea. But what is this Kanya Scheme you are referring to?”
“Oh, just some Government of India savings scheme targeting parents of girl children. It encourages parents through tax benefits to build a future education fund for their female child.”
“I should avail it then!”
“But it is for girl child only”.
“First of all, the scheme should not have discriminated between genders.
Secondly, do not bloody judge me if I want to save up for my child.
Thirdly, when shall the governments and people of India wake up. In the meantime please mind your pronouns.”
“But we are waking up already. NCERT recently issued a training manual for sensitization of teachers regarding aspects of gender diversity keeping gender-nonconforming and transgender children at centre stage. In fact they have blamed toilets for brainwashing children into believing in binary genders. Children, who face gender dysphoria, feel conflict/dilemma while choosing the toilet that they feel comfortable. This is mainly because their self-concept and social expectations of their body do not coincide with each other. Therefore, presence of binaries in infrastructure also creates conflicts for gender nonconforming children who find it difficult to make a choice; at such a young age, it is an emotionally charged decision that additionally burdens them”, I countered.
“WOWOw, that is a revelation. India is finally waking up from its slumber”, she approved.
“But reactionaries still hold sway. After huge twitter outcry, the manual was withdrawn by NCERT. That said, a beginning has been made. Once sleep begins deserting you, no power on earth can keep you from waking up. It is like Covid. Once it begins, it cannot be nipped. By the way, IT has fallen asleep. I hope it wakes up in a more sensitive world. Change must be strived for in every single hour. See you in a more just world.”
As I took leave, my naïve curiosity still embarrassed me. Walking away, I began checking my messages. A friend had become a parent. His message on the WhatsApp group read-
“Blessed to have become a father to a healthy child. Mother and the kid are doing fine, all thanks to the Almighty”.
I scrolled down and found many congratulatory messages. My natural instinct to inquire about the gender was piqued again. There were a couple of messages asking the inevitable question- “Boy or girl?”. What is passed off as an innocuous question, might actually be the urge to categorize the kid in social order.
I wanted to become a pilot when I grew up. My sister wanted to go further- a cosmonaut. A couple of bloody ‘asleep’ morons would not let the new child just be, and decide for himself when it grows up. They demand full declaration, here and now. Till the gender is known, they might not bring themselves to properly congratulate the jubilant parents.
My urge was of a different kind. I just had to know a bit more than what was being revealed. I typed, “Has IT been named yet?”, chuckled to myself, and switched off the phone.
To hell with WhatsApp and Vokism!
#woke #wokism #vokism #Whatsapp #conversation #boyorgirl #genderquery #sex #gender #toilets #binary
#genderbinary #sukanyasamriddhiyojana #GOI #taxbenefits #femaleeducation #anecdote #wokeworld