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Daughters here today, gone tomorrow

Daughters here today, gone tomorrow

Photo for representation. File photo



Wg Cdr DPS Bajwa (retd)

A few days after his daughter got married, my close friend called me up, thanking me for attending the wedding. I chided him: ‘What is there to thank me for? It was my moral obligation to be with you on this sacred occasion.’ There was a pause, and then he became emotional, saying that he and his wife were missing their daughter and could not reconcile themselves to the fact that she had gone to her new home for good. I guess he called me to express his feelings, and felt lighter after shedding a few tears. This made me emotional too, and memories of my daughter’s departure after her wedding were rekindled.

As the Punjabi adage goes, ‘Dheeyan paraya dhan hundiyan ne’ (daughters are someone else’s wealth), but when a daughter is born, parents can barely imagine that one day she will become part of another family.

I recalled how happy we were when our daughter came into our lives. I used to put her to sleep with the music on. From rides in a perambulator, she graduated to a walker, and then started running around the house. When she joined school, she loved it from the beginning and became a confident child.

Seeing a spark of music in her, I hired a tutor who not only taught her how to play the harmonium, but also trained her in classical vocal singing. As she grew up, she started reciting shabads. On the way to Hemkunt Sahib, she gave a recital at the base camp, the Gobind Ghat Gurdwara. I was perhaps even more tense and nervous than her as she performed in front of a big congregation. At the end of it, I felt like any father whose daughter makes him proud.

We barely realised when she grew from a teenager to an adult. And then the day came when she got married and left us to live in her new home with her life partner.

It was beyond reconciliation that we had to virtually sever a part of our body to let it flourish in a new family. Initially, the void in our lives was painful, but parents always pray that their daughter remains happy wherever she goes. The news that she was doing well in her new world kept us going. Some of her clothes, books and embroidered table covers/bed covers/cushion covers give us the impression that she is around. Thus, a daughter gets transplanted from her parental home to a new home, adapts to new relations and ultimately becomes an integral part of her husband’s family. The reality is that daughters, whom we always thought to be ours, actually belong somewhere else. However, the bonds connecting them with their parents do not weaken, even as they assume a different identity.


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