Tuesday, 3 January 2017

The girl child

The girl child.

It was girl. The ultrasound scan clearly showed it. I was really disappointed.
Not because I hated the girl child but because I had to somehow manage to hide it from the parents of the child.
There was no way they would let it come out to the world alive.
Actually any other hospital, it wouldn’t have been a problem keeping in mind the PCPNDT act. The act was strictly implemented by the Government in 1994 for prevention of sex determination during pregnancy mainly to control the epidemic of aborting the girl child which was happening both in rural and urban India. The act was modified many times later, making it safer for girl child by implementing restrictions on doctors and harsh punishments on the medical personnel if they revealed.
A doctor could be sentenced to a year even if he/she reveals the sex of the baby by mistake or due to some error. The act was getting stricter but the mindset of people still didn’t change.
And now I was the victim of it.
I had just been shifted to the Government hospital in this small village and sex determination was a common practice here.
The previous doctors had given up on the ethics and reveled the sex of the child, if it was a boy there was no problem but if it was girl then the abortion was also done. They mad e a little extra cash on that.
It was unethical, unprofessional and a crime but it was happening.
It was the mindset of the people that has to change.
Now I was in that situation.
I was dealing with most powerful family of the village. They were powerful, influential and dangerous.
The father was like King, he had five sons all of them in politics and big time goons.
There was no one who would even dare question me. The eldest son’s wife was dealing with her third pregnancy.
The first were aborted for the same reason. This was the first child and they wanted a boy at any cost.
The wife was six months into her pregnancy and it was a girl. I felt so bad for her.
She was just twenty years old and already suffered a lot of pain, I knew it personally considering I had a still birth once. I didn’t have any kids after that and I got divorced. I felt it was better if I lived alone and saved lives. I was adjusted to this life.  
But for the girl, this was her third one in three years. She wasn’t strong enough to carry her child but the family wanted a boy and they wouldn’t stop till they got one, if not from her then some other girl.
They didn’t care about the girl, all they wanted was a boy.
In the scan room only the two of us.
I wasn’t supposed to tell and I had refused many times before.
But they had threatened to kill me the previous day. They wanted the scan to be done immediately.
There was no way out. I knew I couldn’t fight them.
The men were waiting outside.
I went to the girl “It is a girl” I whispered.
She was heartbroken, she hit her head to the bed as she was lying down and tears rolled down her face. She tightly shut her eyes and mouth, making no noise. She didn’t want her family to know it.
“Its ok……” maybe it was the first time someone actually cared about her.
She hugged me tightly and cried on my shoulders. I understood her pain.
I let her cry.
“Now listen……. don’t tell this to them ok. This is between us.”
She looked at me, her eyes and cheeks red looking at me like I was an angel who was going to save her from the pits of hell.
“I will tell them it is a boy and that the ultrasound report shows it. I will make a fake report”
She wiped her tears.
“But they won’t let my girl live one day as soon as they find out.” She started weeping again.
“Yeah, we will do something before that. I will do something. Just make sure they don’t find out”
Just then a boy entered the room, he was a teenager.
“They want to know if it is over” he asked.
He was their maid.
“No……. we need some time” I said covering the girl.
But he had understood already.
“It’s a girl isn’t it” he found out.
“No….it is a boy. No please go out. I need some time to finish my examination.”
“Don’t worry……. I won’t tell them. I know they’ll kill it.”
He came closer to us.
“She has been like a sister to me. No matter what she was suffering, no matter how much they beat her she never scolded me once. She has treated me like her brother. I know her suffering. She doesn’t deserve to be treated like this. She is a strong woman and I want her to give birth to the girl child and I will do anything possible to make it happen”
Suddenly the door broke open and the brother came in.
“What is happening here.” The youngest and the most muscular one looked at the young boy.
“I asked to inform us and you idiot….” He slapped the boy hard across his face. The slap was so hard that the boy fell to the ground.
He slowly recovered with his hand on his right ear, I noticed blood oozing from the ear.
I could imagine how much they punished the young girl.
“What is it” he asked.
“It is a boy” I said nervously.
“Are you sure” the elder one confirmed.
“Yes, I have the scan with me and the report will be ready in ten minutes”
They all looked at me suspiciously and then the younger brother smiled.
He bought it.
“Finally” he laughed and hugged his brothers.
There were immediate celebrations. Sweets were got there and all were happy. Not one of them thanked the girl who was carrying the child.
“Now take care of yourself. Make sure she eats healthy. That boy is the future of our family” the eldest commanded.
The celebration would continue.
I prepared the reports. They were all fake. I would be arrested and stripped of my medical license if I was caught.
The brothers left eventually.
“Listen just take care of yourself. Don’t let them find out. We will find a solution to this together. I am there for you. Ok” I had made this my life mission to deliver the girl child to this world make sure she grows up to become a strong woman like her mother.
She wiped her face and nodded.
She was temporarily safe.
“We will figure something out. I will do something. We still three months with us to come up with something.”
I wiped her face and hugged her again.
“Just do what they tell you. You will do just fine. Everything will be ok.”
She left to her house.

That night lying in bed, all I could think was how to save the mother and the child from her family.
Maybe the best method would be to escape outside the village. That was the only effective way out of this.
A week later, while reading the newspaper.
I saw a front page photo of a familiar face in handcuffs, arrested taken away by the police officials. The photo wasn’t clear because the photographer was shoved away by the huge crowd which had gathered.
The headline read “A young house worker poisons the most powerful family of the village except a girl”
It was the young boy who worked in their house. He had poisoned the whole family. He was now considered a criminal and by the law he was. He had committed a crime.
He would be sentenced for life or at least many years behind bars.
I could provide some help by saying that they physically and mentally harassed him along with the girl. I had the reports of previous abortions also but it there were a lot of loopholes.
The case would be tough.
But the boy, he sacrificed his life for a girl, in a place where people never considered women at all, their existence considered as a weakness, a burden. This young boy stood against it. He did the wrong thing for the right reason.
The girl was safe now but it didn’t have to be this way. The whole struggle, the suffering everyone had to go through for one girl child to come out to the world, it had to change and that was what I wanted to do in the future.
It was all in the mindset and that needed to change.

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