Growing Up In India By: pAIGE SCHMIDT

Holi in India.

Imagine instead of being born in America, you were born in India. Imagine growing up in India and living your life there. Imagine seeing all the amazing wonders. Think of all the experiences you would have, like Holi. Would it be like it is here in America, or would it be different? Would it be better or worse? What would MY life as a GIRL be like? Let look at this like a story, and let us start from the beginning.

A baby girl in India.

On the day I was born 2,000 other baby girls were killed. Tomorrow another 2,000 girls will be killed and so on. On the day I was born my brother, how was celebrated when he was born, became a big brother. If I ever become a big sister it will probably be to a little brother because my parents, like so many others before them, will get an abortion for any other child they have that is a girl. Why? Because I, as a girl, am considered a curse or burden to my family. This may be for religious reasons or for financial reasons. When I was born, I was born with many expectations and the burden that my family will have to pay a dowry for me. As a girl in India, I am already degraded and considered a burden. As I grow up it will only get worse.

A boy in school, in India.

As I get older and near the age to go to school my parents start talking about it. My mom wants me to get and education like my father did. My father is part of the 76% of men that are educated. My mom on the other hand is not part of the 54% of women that are educated. When my mom was growing up she was told she needed to "household educated", meaning she should only know how to do things around the house. This is the kind of education my father wants me to get because of two main reasons. The first reason is because we live in a country that is in a poor economic state. The second reason is because my school would be fare away and I would be going to school with boy's. My father wants me to stay "clean" for when I get older.

A mother and daughter doing chorse.

As I grew up my family did not put me though school, but I am still obligated to work. This may be at my home or at a job. If by chance I am lucky enough to get a job I will be getting payed about 30% less then what a man would be payed. That not just for any position, I could get the same job as a man and he would still get payed more then me. It is for this reason that I will stay home and work. Even though I am working from home, this is not considered work. I may even put in more hours of work then a man but it will not be considered work because it is considered "unskilled" work.

An Indian women and man painted hands. Often done when two are getting married.

I am not that old when my father and mother start to consider marriage for me. After I get married off it will take know time for me to become a mother considering that is my number one job. Though first I must be married first, and often not to my choise. My marriage will probably be arranged. In order to do this I must have certain requirements. Requirements such as my religion, after all I can not get marred to someone from another religion. I must be in the same caste as him, meaning same working class. My mother and fathers cultural heritage also comes into play. We must look at my horoscope. My family would like a husband of professional stature. Then I must also comply to physical appearance. Meaning I must have fare, clean skin. My height, weight, and physical appearance must be perfect in order for me to be considered. Then of course my father must find what my doury will be.

The entry of a traditional Indian home.

After a long search for the perfect husband, I got married at a young age. To most people in America, this would be strange but in India this is normal. Now like tradition seas, I moved in with my new husband and his family. Here, in this new stage of my life is no better then any other stage. I am still put in a "Secondary States" compared to my husband. I still don't have a job, so I work around the house. If you remember, most girls don't get the opportunity to work, other then around the house. Now that I am a wife, house work is almost all I do. To put this in perspective, my husband will spend on average 7 to 8 house in the field during the farming season. When it comes to me, I will work about 15 hours in the same day, during the same season. These long days are often filled will cleaning, helping in the field, taking care of animals, and other traditional tasks that are expected of me.

A mother and her child.

Yes, I was wedded young. Way to young. In fact, I am married and am going to have my first child all before I am out of my teenage years. Here in India, us girls have children at a young age. This is often frond apone in most countries, such as America. Though for me this is common. Another situation that I find normal is passing away when I have my children. India, my home country, has one of the highest mortality rates in the world. That is all because of how we as women are over worked, and under nerished, as well as our young age. We as mothers to be are also suppose to give our husbands sons, not daughters. There is a strong possibility that if I have a daughter I will have to get an abortion. Not by my choosing, but by my husband and his family.

An elderly women in India.

To people in other countries, my country of India may be majestic, but for me, it is a place were I mean almost nothing from the day that I am born to the day I pass on. From the day that I am born I have to be lucky that my parents decided not to kill me like the other 2,000 baby girls. Growing up I have to accept the fact that I can't get an education because it is to fare from home, and that I am a girl in an economically unstable country. I have to face the fact that I may not get marred to a man that I love and that I will have children before I am out of my teen years. Then if I do end up having a child or children, I may have to not only fight for my life, but for my child's life if I am have a daughter.

There is almost nothing special about being a girl in India. You will almost never see a man go through these problems. Go through all the work a women has to do to gain respect. Even through all this hard work, girls are still consider seconded class. Men on the other hand, just being born male makes them better then a women. Better chance at life. Better education. Better life all around. Women in India don't have that liberty. Women in India are nothing compared to men in India.

The Taj Mahal in India.



Created with images by Unsplash - "taj mahal india building" • Janssem Cardoso - "Holi" • VinothChandar - "A baby full of mischief!" • akshayapatra - "boy school laughing" • dMz - "indian woman woman child" • rajeshkoiri007 - "ceremony wedding marriage" • thejasp - "pathmanabhapuram palace" • Aries Tottle - "Mother and child, India" • Sukanto Debnath - "Traditional and Stylish! U saw her before in B&W" • LoggaWiggler - "taj mahal mausoleum agra"

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