On the vast lawn of the Boat House in Ooty, some newly married couples were sitting. Maybe they were waiting for their turn. At that time the lake was full of boats and none was available at the “stand”. But, the couples were not in a hurry because they were engaged in a heated debate. I could hear one of the girls telling her companions in a loud voice, “There is gender discrimination even now. I can give you a hundred instances right now”. The men were equally vociferous. They, except a quiet-looking gentleman, shouted in a chorus, “No, No… You girls won’t admit this because you are all suffering from self-pity.”
Instead of calling it a debate, I must have termed it “Yes or No shouts”. “Shit”, I said and was about to leave the place when the quiet -looking man said in a loud voice, “Yes, there is gender discrimination”. The girls were surprised. I too was a bit surprised and waited for his explanation, “I am telling from my own bitter experience. If you are a girl, you get a royal treatment right from your childhood days. You get plenty of ornaments and what more, every time you get an ornament there is a mini festival at home and when it is your marriage you get a bagful of gold ornaments worth lakhs, no matter how poor or rich you are. If you are a boy, your dad will stare at you if you ask for a rubber ball or some such thing. All the expensive clothes are meant for girls and we get some less expensive school uniforms once in a year… By the time he finished his speech, their turn had come. Two or three boats were available at the stand. As for me, I moved towards the nearby coffee stall!