Friday, June 10, 2011

For the love of a boy!

The 'missed calls' were from an unknown number. I rarely respond to unknown callers, but the sheer number of calls made me curious and I called back. It was K, a small time house painter by profession who had worked for me a couple of years ago. After the usual namastes he said, 'Bhabhiji Char ladkiyon ke baad ek ladka hone wala hai. Bibi admit hai. Dus hazaar rupye chahiye. Aap kahen toh mein agle mahine lauta doonga". A desparately needy man wants me to loan him ten thousand rupees. Not a princely sum  and a definitely worthy cause of making a pregnant woman's labour safe.  Yet, the words, chaar ladkiyon ke baad drowned out almost everything else he said. A hand to mouth existence is all he can afford for his current brood and now another one in the quest for the one who'll light  the final pyre, the one who'll grant mukti. "kisne kaha tumhe ki ladka hoga?" were the first words that I blurted out. "Dactor ne kaha hai bhabhiji" he said.

 I handed the phone to my husband because I did not know what I'd say next. I would give him the money  and even he knew that or else why would he call me out of the blue after two years. But I am a vociferous advocate of gender equality and cannot understand or agree with the concept of wanting a male child to carry on the line. All the heated arguments  I've been part of on the need to deal harshly with those who prefer a male heir, flashed before me.  I cannot imagine helping anyone who holds this dear and yet the money  might mean the difference between a safe and healthy mother and child and an unsafe labour. I have always maintained that women should have full control over their bodies and felt that there must be some way women who are willing to go through multiple pregnancies can put a stop to that cycle. This however, was not the time to test the mettle of this woman.

I mouthed that he could collect the money and he'll be here shortly to collect it .. but this time I do not feel too good about helping a person in need. Maybe some calls are better unanswered... I wonder what he'll do if this one turns out to be a girl as well?


  1. Probably he has managed to do the sex determination test. But if the child is a girl then I wonder what will happen to his wife and the child.

    Instances like this create a turmoil in the mind. I agree with you completely.


  2. Yes, he did manage to get a sex determination test and according to him it's all his wife's doing. She wanted a son and was adamant about it. He claims this was going to be his last attempt!

  3. So has she delivered?

  4. Yes, she has delivered a BOY.
    He had come to take the money and according to him it's she who wants the boy.

  5. Smithakka,

    Have you considered developing this into a short story ? A short story..


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