• Pooja Jain

Not Man Enough

Don't man up, it will only let you (and others) down!

The just-risen sun peaked softly through the window. "Rohan, wake up! The school bus will be here soon"

Rohan, a twelve-year-old boy, couldn't sleep the whole night. He was up, tossing and turning in his bed, just wondering about the speech his teacher assigned him the previous day

What do you want to be when you grow up?


He woke up early, and just like every other day, his Papa had already left. Like clockwork, every day, the same set of events occurred in the morning. His Mumma would give him a glass of milk, and after that, he would get ready for school. In the meantime, the school bus would arrive, and his mom would drop him at the bus stop, always kissing him goodbye.


That day, the bus was filled with chatter about the speech.

"Rohan! What have you prepared for the speech?" his friend asked him, enthusiastically.

"I am speaking about being a doctor: I love to help people!" he continued.

"Arre, I am going to be an astronaut! I know it is difficult, but I can't wait to be the first person to step on Mars!" said another.

The conversation picked up, and soon everyone was talking about their dream profession. Rohan said nothing the whole way, and he sat thinking about his father, his Papa who never stayed at home long enough to bid him goodbye.



Soon after, in school, the teacher was calling the students up, one by one. Rohan sat waiting for his turn, a little confused. "Rohan, come up and speak, please," called his teacher. He went to the stage, took a deep breath, and spoke:


"When I grow up,

I want to become a mother

I want to dance and sing

Just as gracefully as she does.

I don't want to be a father,

He is tough and hard!

He cries at night,

And still smiles all-day

When at parties,

He only talks about work

He seems happy outside,

But he is so unhappy within.


When I grow up,

I want to be beautiful, and

Sing and dance around

Just like my Mumma

When I cry, I want people

To listen and lend me their shoulders...

I don't want to be shamed

For crying like Papa is.


When I grow up

I don't want to be a man"


"Man up", what a clever way to say 'shut up'. "Shut up or fight back, or you deserved what you got!

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