That you’re only twenty-weeks –old fetus, a girl in the making, doesn’t stop me from telling you about a hard and heart-wrenching truth. It’s about Female Foeticide… a brutal practice brazenly followed by men/women out here in India for the reasons best known to them. My dear child, it looks like a sin to be born a girl in this holy land of ours. God forbid.
Your three sisters are no longer in their teens; they have now grown up, and are waiting to be married off. But to marry them off will be like bending the sky. For their marriages, demand helluva money as wedding dowries or groom prices. I’m scared because we would never make out such money during our life time, as the minimal wages we’re getting from paddy fields as labors take care of only our hand to mouth life.
Our financial strains apart, your father and his ilk now came to know about my conception. I conceived fourth time after several years. Surprisingly, they were happy because they thought that they would at least get a son this time… a son who’d add to the family workforce; work with them in the fields and tap more income for the financially distressed family; and take the oars of the family from your father and feed us in our old days. This way the people around me glorifies a son and condemns a daughter as an albatross on the neck of a family. And your father is no exception to this misconception.
Ultrasonic or simply saying the ultra scanning was the villain. The moment your family came to know that I wasn’t carrying a boy but a girl, they became wild. While your grandma started shouting at me and calling me names, your father beat me blue as if I was the only reason for your creation.
‘What we feared all along now comes true’, your grandma bellowed at me, wailing and beating her wizened chest with her hands. They all felt thunder-struck and even planned to abort my pregnancy. But, I stood my ground, resisted their move with all the strength at my command, and cried my head off pleading with them not to kill you now, but donate you to a Child Care center after your are born.
My child, though they seemed pacified with my words, you are not still out of woods. Foeticide is in the offing, waiting for you with an axe. For, your grandma, a hag, won’t let you free. Engaged by the family, an ayah from a local hospital is waiting with a bottle of ‘kalli pall’ [potion; milk extracted from a poisonous plant like colotropis], she would either spoon feed you with a dose of such potion to kill you instantly, or insert paddy seeds into your nostrils to stop your breathing for good. Either way they’d kill you, my dear, kill you to lessen the financial burdens they will have to bear if you’re allowed to survive.
Until now, I’ve done what I could to the best of my power. I’m now helpless, baby, and utterly helpless to save you from the baby-killers… the fetus eaters.
You have no options. All doors are shut on you.
So pray to Lord Shiva, the Destroyer. Pray to Him to take away what Lord Brahma had created. Do you know about Thavam [penance]? Hmm … it’s like this. Close your eyes; stop breathing; and pray to Shiva to make you melt down in my womb.
You would die honestly in my womb if Shiva grants what you want. Honey, it’s better to die in your mother’s womb than to be killed ignominiously by your heartless relatives. My sweetheart, I swear on your head that Lord Shiva would listen to your prayer and stop you coming alive into this cruel, patriarchal world.