Welcome to the world! I saw you bundled up in a little blanket this afternoon. Your tiny pink fingers and toes distracting me from realising what a momentous occasion this is.
The first of the next generation. And just like that, at 5:06am, so many of us in the family were promoted to the next phase of our lives – aunts, grandmothers, great grandmothers.
Here I am, at 24 years old, wondering what the world will be like for you – as a woman, and an Indian, as a child of 2 religions and nationalities. How society will mould you, and how many of those moulds you will go on to break.
Lara Rajendran. Born on 9 April 2019, 5:06am. 2.5kgs.
How refreshing it is, that your age and weight are spoken of so matter-of-factly, without any trace of the burden these numbers usually carry. You’ve only been born a couple of hours, and you’re already setting an example.
I must confess I’m not always proud of the world we’ve built for you. But you were born into a family of women who have been path-breakers in their own way.
Some victories bigger than others, but battles that have been won for you nonetheless.
Your great grandmother was the first woman in her family to wear a swimsuit. To marry after the age of 20. Your grandmother was the first woman in the family to start her own company. To pursue her Masters abroad. To have a baby after 30. Your aunts are the first women in the family whose dark skin doesn’t bother them.
Every generation, conquering a little more ground so you can have a larger playground. So that the world we aspired for, is your norm.
And while I want us to become great friends, a part of me will always hope we have a large generation gap. A gap so wide, you simply will not relate to barriers we had. That you will brush off my insecurities and biases as fiction.
That you will grow up to have nothing but pride in your skin, in your heritage, your gender. That you will be kind, sensitive, firm and confident in who you are. And that you will grow up in a society that expects nothing less.
But for now, I present you with this world. A sum of our many triumphs and failures. The stereotypes we smashed. And the ones we don’t dare to.
Built by generations of women who have pushed boundaries, and hope to have done you proud.
I look forward to watching you grow, listening to your secrets, stories and perspectives. To being your favourite aunt. To spoiling you silly. To giving you advice, and teaching you a thing or two about life.
But for now, I’ll settle for watching you sleep softly, and let your tiny pink fingers and toes distract me from noticing what a momentous occasion this is.