The Girl Child : A personal journey by Nimi Khanna

“STILL BORN”.My aunt announces loudly. But she had already kept the gunny bag ready. She hurriedly throws me into it. It’s dark inside. I am suffocating. The bag is tightened.
I struggle to breathe. I am thrown. Into a drain.
My tiny hands cannot move.
My little legs are numb.
The small world I momentarily knew becomes silent.
I am getting wet.I am cold.
I am tired and hungry.
I am now losing the energy to move…..

Suddenly I hear a loud voice. A strong voice. A determined voice saying,”..but I still want to see the face of my still born child.” The bag is lifted. Two gentle hands, soft hands,warm hands reach inside the bag.
The first touch–my Mother!
She screams, she cries…”my baby, my baby”.
I move, I begin to kick.I am alive!
SHE’S NEW BORN ,NOT STILL BORN.” She is a little girl”, my mother announces.
“Yes, a girl and she is a curse” shouts my aunt. My mother’s gentle arms tighten around me. I am safe.
I am Ganga .I am named after the kind river that flows from the melting snows of the Himalayas.
“It gives life to people, animals and plants”My mother says “Some bad people make it dirty but still it continues to flow. May my little girl. become like this river, the ever flowing nurturer” I love Amma. She is so clever and wise. She sings to me. She tells me many stories. From her I learn to knit ,embroider, crochet. She teaches me to cook. My big brother runs around teasing me.
“You are a girl ,so you have to learn these girlie things.”
I stick my tongue out at him and cry. Amma lifts me and puts me on the swing and pushes ir higher and higher. Amma’s happy voice rings in my ears”
“Ganga, go touch the skies ! There is nothing Bhaiya can do that girls cannot”.
Bhaiya later became a chartered accountant. I entered the man’s world too, and became an investment banker. But I continue to knit. One purl, one knit,one purl,one knit,on and on I go… Hey, this is like counting beads. There is nothing girlie about it. Bhaiya needs councillors to get answers for his bussiness problems. I pick up Amma’s needles and go…one knit, one purl,one knit.
Like meditation, it connects me to myself.
Actually,it has even connected me to my Bhaiya. He called the other day asking me to teach his two teenage girls how to knit.
I am Ganga a powerful force of joy and giving. Like that great river I have no prejudices about the past,
nor any fears of the future.
I flow joyously in the moment, only in the moment.
My gunny bag opened and I got a chance to live. Many other bags never get opened.

26 Responses to “The Girl Child : A personal journey by Nimi Khanna”

  1. bhawana says:

    Thanks for sharing this precious piece .
    This is perhaps what I was looking for

  2. Hello Ganga,
    Proud to read about you and meet you here.
    I wonder when, these gunny Bags story will ever come to an end..they call it the Man’s World but I wonder what all the Aunts were busy doing?
    OR Should I say Gynaecs with their Sonography monitors?
    Vinod Agarwal – Empower women to Empower Indian society. (Father of two growing up GANGA)

  3. jun says:

    Shekhar sir, thank you for your blog. šŸ™‚

  4. Isabel says:

    so much I could say about this …
    ah …
    my dream in 2 consecutive nights …
    a circle, a square …
    depending on how I focused …
    with 4 symbols as wings …
    details I cannot recall …
    as they seemed to have different facets…
    a dove…
    a rose …
    tears of blood…
    glimpses here and there…
    then the message…
    trust the black hole …
    do not resist …
    focus on transformation and healing …
    in action …
    that rises above…
    to watch an exquisite butterfly coming out …
    as if to remind me of the necessary struggle before new begginings…
    in unity…
    as above …
    so below..
    as within…
    so without…

  5. //One purl, one knit,one purl,one knit,on and on I go.//
    so inspiring for anyone.
    thanks you sir..another great post.
    take care

  6. ruchi says:

    i am still crying while writing, looks like story of my life. how society pressurise women to give up their girl child and how those strong mothers and in my case dads also stand firm like a rock.
    they gave me and my other sisiters equal opportunities that they gave our brothers, they are so proud of us.
    but some where inside me i always had this feeling i was unwanted, undesired and pressures of society compeled my mom to try something to get rid of me that she never imagined/ she is still living with guilt of that.
    i feel my life story has made me storng very strong and as a family we have learn to stand against people who say girls are burden.this has become purpose of my life at home or in society.
    there is so much to write but i will stop here.

  7. AJ says:

    Very touching …
    Why it had been the story of most Girls !!!
    Girl and boy are equal …
    In every society Girls (have heart) care more, better, we need to learn from this.
    Haven’t we learnt from Great Indira Gandhiji, Mother Teresa and many more who touched, inspired, reached millions …
    Can anyone imagine the world without females, will be utter chaos …
    We need to educate for a better world, more human
    Keep up the great work Dear Shekhar …

  8. Babita Dubay says:

    Its scary to think that things are still going on today like that in India maybe people on here can set up something together to deal with that particular issue if it still exists and like the ill treatment of brides too like ones who are taken just for dowry and then abused and sati burnings and stuff. I like to call it Arts In Action! After I did this little thing for a lady living with HIV in my homeland who has one kid with it and one without and needed a home…I say little thing cause I was just a drop in the bucket of the whole project. But reading that story made me remember bout the need for not just Arts but for Arts to sometime get to the point of Action. My house help thing is on here
    but if anyone is interested in setting up a new global group to look at what I am saying or know of current groups that look at that specifically that I and others can raise awareness of and contribute to please let me know! I know its embarrassing to talk about in the global context cause then you get the racial/culture/religious stereotyping of indians hindus etc…but I think it would be a worthwhile end if it can be maanged properly.

  9. amrita says:

    I am taken aback by the writing sir. Reminds me f many women -oriented documentaries and movie and the very recent one i have seen-Matrubhumi.

  10. D says:


  11. Indrani says:


  12. Amarjeet Nayak says:

    A great piece…keep on writing.
    Congrats and all the very best.

  13. austere says:

    So beautiful.
    I must learn to knit, what a soul-connect.

  14. inawe says:

    thats so inspiring….
    it shows how there is hope…..

  15. shubh says:

    i am writing from my desk in lucknow, surrounded by my two lovely daughters. But i am ashamed to say that my city has been witness to 10 newborn girls found either thrown on garbage heaps or railway tracks or worse, naked on road on a chilly january morning. and this figure is just for this year. Somewhere in my heart i start wishing that ban on sonography be removed, atleast better to kill an embryo than to put it amidst waste where it is discovered half eaten by dogs

  16. Nina Kochhar says:

    Nimmi – so well written and extremely touching. I’m so proud to have such a talented friend.

  17. sangeetha says:

    Sir, I thank you for sharing your personal thoughts/stories through this blog. It is also in some ways a globetrotting!! experience for me.
    Just one request; few years ago, in an interview, I had heard Dev Anand Saab singing/humming one of his films song. I think he has got a great voice and he sang with feeling, like he is understanding/enjoying each line of the song. That one aspect of Dev Anand Saab’s art is unexplored, I think. Can you please explore the idea of doing a docu/film about it…

  18. nimikhanna says:

    Dev Saab is a legend–a legend born with unfathomable depths..a lover immersed deeply in love,in romance, in passion,in ishq,in Mohabbet, call it any name but the legend romances LIFE and so heavily drunk on this he ceaselessly, tirelessly,creatively seduces.. genertions of us Indians. his nasha still remains unexplored…SINGING HIS SONG…

  19. Minakshi Karan says:

    Dear Sir,

    So beautifully expressed.

    Thanks and regards,

    Minakshi Karan

  20. I always regret for not have daughters. Your narration about the feelings of the baby, then the adult daughter is beautiful, Shekhar.

    Felt sad reading Shubh’s comment above. We are experiencing difficulty in finding girls for my sons. The ratio of male/female is going down. Feel scared.

  21. Pritee says:

    The more I read your blogs, tweets the more I come to admire you. Thank you

  22. HK says:

    Wow got goosebumps reading this…Cant believe there are ppl who would kill a girl child…i find them too precious

  23. Paras says:

    Really genious of you shekharji,
    My daughter has written a superb article on the girl child..please go through it and encourage will really make a huge difference in her life..

  24. Girish chitale says:

    Dear Shekhar Sir,
    A great confident self explanatory thing. Explore it without any gender bias from reader & there comes the truth of self, introspection…..

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