I can see gender inequality really upsets Ryan. Actually social injustices upset him. He was horrified to hear stories about caste system when we started reading Mahabharat. Sahana recently worked on a project on female feticide in India. During her research for her assignment she shared a lot of unpleasant yet true information about injustice done to a girl child. Ryan was a silent listener. But her words and facts made an impact on his young mind. And I see his brain whirring to find a ‘why’!
Since a very early age, he has been a champion for women/girls. Derogatory comments about girls by his male peers were deflected with ‘Girls are great!’ And my favorite, the irrefutable logic – ‘Your mom is a girl. She is not dumb, she is wonderful!’
I believe he has such respect for girls because he is growing up with his sister – a strong willed, intelligent, funny girl who puts him in his place, pins him down in wrestling matches, shouts at him when she is mad, helps him with his homework, stands up for him in playgrounds, cooks him food in his parents’ absence and laughs hysterically with him while watching funny Youtube videos. He looks up to her for her smarts, her knowledge about authors, movies, current bands, completely inane and unnecessary yet very fun facts. I have heard him say to friends, ‘My sister told me this. She is very smart. She is in high school.’
Hence, he does not understand why women would be considered inferior or unwanted. Whether he admits it or not, his sister is his hero! I think the gender inequality makes him angry because in some oblique way, it is a statement against his hero – his sister!
While doing math homework, he put his pencil down and looked me in the eye.
‘I just thought of something. I know why only women can have babies and not men!’
I wondered if we are sliding into uncharted territories.
“God had foreseen that men would eventually tell women they are inferior, not equal and be cruel to them. So God gave a superpower to women. He gave only them the power to have babies. So when men say ‘you don’t have power’, the women can say ‘oh yeah? Well, you go and have babies then!’ ”
I have said before his religiosity is very innocent and beautiful. He wants a world where everyone would acknowledge everyone else’s idea of God and live peacefully forever.
In God’s world there should be no inequality. God is the ultimate parent who thought of everything before sending the living beings to earth.
His logic may not be foolproof but his thoughts are so sweet that I do not go into deep theological discourses. He will, one day, think things through. I simply write down these bits and pieces of conversations, which are of no value to anybody, but me. I have learnt one thing from all the meaningful conversations I have had with both my children – simple, honest truth is just that, simple and honest.