Of the myriad roles that a woman plays in her life, a daughter’s part is the most cherished of all. A beautiful little being who mollycoddles in the cocoon of warmth, mischief and tender love. Her girlish charm enchants from the moment she first holds the comb to her hair in dainty innocence. And her adorable antics and theatrics enliven the quietest walls. She is her mother’s pride and her father’s delight.
I never felt extraordinary about being a daughter myself. But becoming a mother of a daughter, it gives me a very different sentiment. The most sensitive part of a daughter’s life is leaving behind her home of carefree joy, a place she thinks she owns and where she spins from trivial to lofty dreams. But one auspicious morning she is out of there, making a new one for her. How ironic it is that in the passing of a few hours, “my home” becomes “my parents’ home”, “Saboo” became “Mimani” and “Jamnagar 361008” got replaced by “Chennai 600010”. She is now on the way to accepting a strange new place as her very own. And it’s amazing that mostly she succeeds.
But despite her brilliant success, there is a subtle yet strong bond that stays in her heart forever. No matter how many years she might be married and how old she might turn, the joy of visiting her parents’ home is undiminished and unchangeable. No adventure, no luxury and no exotic destination in the world can replace that simple classic joy of being under the shade of that home. Years after leaving that home, every departure from its threshold is solemnly marked by a stream of tears trickling down my eyes and my family’s. The heart still feels heavy and anxious on the last day of every visit.
I have a little daughter, whom the entire family adores. Her naughty gurgling laughter is infectious and she knows it too well, using it to her best advantage. She is such a happy (may I also add hyper) soul that her twinkling eyes, dancing feet and bouncing hair all just invite you to cuddle her tight. In these moments of brimming affection, I hug her so close that she can’t escape. On the few occasions that we leave our kids behind at home, the first thing I want to do after returning is see them. Oh I love to be out without them, but home is somehow always about them.
Lately, I had a thought which is terribly pre-mature to bother me since my daughter is only one and half years old. I shared it with my husband nevertheless. I asked him how do you think will we hand over our most precious possession to somebody else one fine day? Would we be able to see her go, entrust her in somebody else’s care and not fret about her comfort and happiness? How would it be that while my home will lament in her silence, she would be cajoling someplace else?
It’s never easy for any parent ever to be away from their children be it a son or a daughter. However, there is a marked difference between the two being away. Though a son is miles away from you and your heart just overflows with emotions every time he visits and leaves you, deep down you still know that he belongs to you and his home is the same as yours. But when a daughter is married and gone, a precious part of you is taken away forever. For now, she doesn’t belong to you, she belongs to her partner, and her family is not you but another one. Her joys are with them and so are her responsibilities. She is not so much your beloved child as somebody’s wife and daughter-in-law.
I wonder how all the parents give away their daughters so ceremoniously and in splendour to another man. What gives them the courage to part from that little girl whose every wish was theirs to fulfil? Well, it could be only one; they know that their little girl is now grown up whose dreams include a prince and her own palace. And it’s time to rejoice in seeing them fulfilled and bless her with every happiness known. May all the daughters in this world live a beautiful and dignified life for they are the treasured gifts of God bestowed upon lucky parents.