Naina was the life of her family. For her parents she was a bundle of joy...her mom's best friend and her dad's favorite child. Naina was younger to her brother, who doted on her like a parent would do.
Naina was a hard-core feminists. Her views and her decisions always said..."Down with Male Chauvinism"; "Down with parents' preference for male child"; and most importantly "Down with female foeticide". She would excel in every debate. Friends looked up to her as a representative of female rights. Guys were careful with her. They knew, Naina would not spare any sexist comment. Naina had a fire inside that enlightened her views and actions. The love and support she got from her family nurtured the fire inside ..everything was flowing happily until her brother got married.
Her brother wife never got along with Naina. Whenever there was any argument in the family, Naina's parents would tell her to stay quiet...as she ultimately had to go to her own home. And Naina would wonder, "wasn't this my home till now?". As time passed by, Naina lost the support of her brother...And she silently observed how her parents always supported her brother. She was heart broken. She faced gender discrimination in her own home. But still everything was flowing fine.
Naina dreamt of a soul mate and a happy life. Naina's parents started looking for a match for her. For few years they kept looking, but one thing or the other would spoil the matter. Naina observed the male chauvinism in the Indian society. Gradually Naina observed that her parents lowered their preferences. They were ready to make compromises about her life. "Why the desperation to get rid of me?", she would wonder. Then the proposal from Shekhar's family came. Naina was reluctant, but her parents convinced her of shekhar's virtues. Tired of tensions with brother and his wife, Naina said yes. The fire in her mellowed down. That day Naina wondered again " Why am I being convinced of the proposal when I don't want to?" She knew within deep of her hearts that Shekhar was not the right match for her. But looking at the way her parents got relaxed after the alliance, she did not protest. Silently, Naina compromised her life and future.
Naina found Shekhar's family much below her expectations. Even though she had a government job, and handed them the whole salary, they tortured her physically and mentally. Amidst the chaos, Naina's parents could do nothing except repenting the fact that they misjudged Shekhar's family. One day Naina packed her bags to leave Shekhar. But when she reached her parents home, they told her that she needed to adjust with her husband, and that she was not welcome there. She saw a look of triumph in her brother's eyes. Well her supposedly own people were happy over her misery. "So for my brother," she thought.
Naina got pregnant. The news brought a new wave of happiness for her. She dreamt of a beautiful little doll like baby girl. In her third month, weird discussions started in her home. Her mother-in-law started pressurizing for the pre-natal test. Her husband strongly supported his parents. It was a baby girl. They pressurized her for an abortion. But Naina was adamant. That evening, there were heated arguments in the family. Shekhar and his parents on one side, and Naina on the other. In the heat of the argument, Shekhar hit Naina. She fell down and got drowsy. In her drowsiness, she saw her little girl far away...the little one was crying and saying, ""Ohhh mom!! Why do you want me? I don't want to be a woman!! I don't want to go through the life you are going through!! Kill me before you see me going through the same sufferings? Mom!! I don't want to live such a life!!" In her dream Naina ran towards her child and hugged her. She told her child, " But you are all what I have." The little girl said, " No maa!! you will never have me. My life will be ruled by a father who never wanted me, and later by my husband. Do you want to give birth to another slave like you?". In her dream, Naina kissed her child, and her child disappeared. When Naina woke up from her dreams, she was crying like a mourning mother.
Fifteen Years Later
A little girl of 5 years was playing in a park with her friends. At some distance Naina was sitting reading her book. The moment she would win, she would look at Naina whether she is watching or not. Naina was finding it hard to concentrate on her book. That little girl caught her constant attention. Naina felt that the girl looked like little girl of her dreams. Naina's eyes filled with tears and she let out a small sigh. Suddenly a young girl came a hugged Naina from behind. She was wearing tennis dress, and a tennis racket hung casually on her shoulder. She said excitedly, "Mom!! I won!!" Naina kissed her forehead and they both walked towards the park exit. Watching them starting to leave, the little girl ran towards her and hugged Naina from behind. She said, "Miss, will you come tomorrow. I will wait for you." Naina nodded silently. On her way back Naina said to her daughter, "Aru, I am thinking of adopting this little girl." Arunima gave a surprised look to Naina. Oblivion of Arunima's expression Naina continued," Fifteen years back I almost lost you becoz your dad didnot want you. This girl was found abandoned. She was thrown away becoz her parents didnot want her. I will give her what she didn't have till now. Mother's love." Naina's thought went back to the same time when she woke up from dream.
When Naina woke up from that dream, she realized why a mother says yes to female foeticide - not because she would love her daughter any less than her son; because probably she wants to save her child from the hardships and pain that she has suffered in her life. Being a woman she understands what a woman has to go through. She almost went through the trauma of losing her child. She realized she could not afford to lose her child. Her child's views sparked the fire within her. She decided she will not let her child go. She will give a better life to her child...set an example for women like her. She will give a better future to her daughter, so that she does not repent being born as a woman.
Naina decided to part ways from her husband. This time, she did not go to her parents home. She went to a working women hostel. During her pregnancy she got in touch with an NGO, where she started going on weekends. She used to work as a volunteer there. The people at NGO became her family, they loved her for what and how she was. Naina gave birth to a lovely little girl, whom she named Arunima the glow of dawn.
All these years life had been a struggle at every step. People still donot take single mothers very well. At times, loneliness and lack of life partner would engulf her and depress her. But with Arunima her side, she got strength at every step. Naina brought up Arunima like a friend - giving her space, and respecting Arunima's decisions. Today they led a comfortable life. She came to know that her ex-hubby married again, but never had a child from second marriage. He tried to contact Naina so that he can meet Arunima, his only child. But Arunima declined. He had rejected her few years back; and now she rejected him. And then Naina met Milli, a small girl in the orphanage ran by the NGO Naina was associated with. Milli tugged Naina's heart every time she met her. And now Naina had made up her mind. Next day Naina went to the orphanage with Arunima and put her papers to adopt Milli.