A pregnant lady visits a Government Hospital and asks, “How much do you charge to determine the sex of the fetus?” The man at the reception gives her an awry look, sulks and admonishes like a martinet, “My heart bleeds to have come across a woman who not only seems to be a part of an opulent family but also looks quite educated and yet unaware of the fact that sex determination of the foetus is illegal”. The lady fishes out a stack of notes from her purse, raises her brows and asks with a gruff curtness,” Legal now?” .While she says this, her nut-brown eyes had become glossy chestnut eyes. The receptionist gets dazzled by the bright jewels adorning her slender neck. He cannot help but notice her affluence. Her flawless skin perfectly balanced the loud make-up that she wore. The man now gives his head a 360 degree exercise, stares at the money, like a hungry dog looks imploringly at food with its tongue sagging out, then snatches and sniffs the stack. He then lowers down both his spectacles and his voice, “Ma’am I can make it possible for you and only you but only if you could vacate more space in your purse”. The lady hands over another stack. A moment of eerie silence follows. The man says to himself,” What a foolish lady!Had she bargained I would have given some relaxation” The lady is then taken into a room and left alone there for some time.  It is a small stuffy room with damp embellishing the walls. Two small machines are clumsily placed on a wobbly table. A bed stood steadily against the wall. The brand colour of the hospital, blue, was there on every article placed in the room. The woman suddenly starts feeling squeamish. The light dims even further.01_Ge_03_04_RG She feels tremors underneath her feet and then a blackout. The man scampers through the hospital lobby and reaches the room only to find the lady lay unconscious. He sprinkles water on her face and brings her back to consciousness. After a while the man says, “Madam if you don’t mind, just to satisfy my curiosity I would like to know why you want to determine the sex of the baby. Is it that you already have a daughter and you want a son?” The lady nods negatively.” You are very wealthy; the dowry should not be a problem for you”. She approves with her eyes. ”Then why do you want to kill the fetus if it is a female child?” To this, she starts laughing uncontrollably. She says, “Bhaiya are you a Fore-teller???If so then your prediction is wrong”. The man, stunned by her uncanny behavior, gives her a blank look. She continues, “You were right, I am educated. I am rich too. Dowry is definitely not a problem for me but in any case I am against the dowry system so doesn’t matter. This is the first time that I have conceived in a marriage of fifteen years. My family does not have sex preference for the child. But do you realize that I stay in India. Damn it I stay in Delhi. I am not going for an abortion if it’s a girl child. No matter how much pain I am in, during and after the delivery, I won’t let anyone take the girl out of my sight. God forbids but what if someone rapes her in the nursery.” The man’s heart sinks in. He sits on the floor with a heavy thud. His eyes now look bleary and crimson. He exclaims “Shame” and lacerates copiously.

To some of you readers, it may sound like just another story from our daily lives. And I am sure there are readers who are aghast on reading this. Their eye-balls, for once, would have popped out. And maybe their hearts too reacted by skipping a beat or two. My soul shrieked on imagining the above mentioned episode (so I firmly belong to the second category of readers). I am really not worried about the latter set of readers but the former category increases my concern. Also to the second category of readers, I would like to ask if their conscience awakened just few moments back when you read it. If yes, you too need diagnosis. If not diagnosed, your conscience would sleep as soon as you switch from this window. A chill should have run down your spine while you browsed through the news channels and the newspapers in the past one year or so. Well, the above mentioned episode is just a figment of my imagination. adam-eve-snake_299141551_std One aspect of mythology says God created Eve so as to provide a company to Adam and they together had the privilege of supervising over other living beings on the Earth. It was after eating the forbidden fruit (apple as far as I was told during schooldays) that they became aware of their nudity. Another aspect says they were made to create more human beings for this world. Whatever the story maybe, but they were definitely not supposed to be against each other. Sex, in many write-ups, has been referred to as an art of making love. There was a divinity attached to it. Our epics talked about it. Our sculptures portray it. However, in this era, it has lost its meaning, neither it needs to be an art nor it needs to be born out of love. The new dimension to sex is the brutality. A reporter molested by thousands of men (oops beasts) in Tahrir square. A girl, in Guwahati, made the sex object by a score of lusty animals. An iron rod penetrated into a girl’s genitals. A five-year old girl, in a hospital, found to have a bottle and a candle inside her. And many more. All these heinous crimes very well establish that sex has nothing to do with age or the appearance of the victim. A woman cannot feel secure in the company of one man; she cannot feel secure even if there is more than one man with her. Her man may not be able to protect her when she becomes the bait for these sex-charged hounds. We blame the Government, the judiciary and whoever else possible. Somebody blames the victim for coming out late in night. Somebody holds her guilty for wearing skimpy clothes. Some Guru says she should have pleaded for freedom by calling the molester, Bhaiya. For a moment, if we assume all the allegations to be correct then why the five-year old girl who had not even reached puberty? I won’t claim to have answers to these questions. Different people give different angles to it. Protests definitely expedite the judicial process but do they really uproot the problem. The problem lies in the formation of our social values. Molestation was rampant even in the ancient days as portrayed by The DraupadiCheerharan scene but what makes a difference today is that very few men are willing to play the role of Lord Krishna.A social catharsis is impossible but what we need is a structured approach. On one hand, the parents struggle to decide, when and if at all, they should talk to their kids (teenagers) about birds and bees and on the other hand, we see early teenagers getting cosy or buying DVDs surreptitiously. In stating this, my point is that the parents should make it an imperative to inform their children about the male and the female anatomy and impress upon them the difference between the right and the wrong. This would not only deter the children from doing any wrong but would also encourage them to prevent any wrongdoing in the society. It is always better to inform your children instead of allowing someone else to misinform them. The parents who leave their children in a day-care or with the governess: please make a background check of the person concerned. It is advisable to keep track of the children every moment; instead of relying on the person, talk directly to the kids. Interaction with kids plays an essential role in developing the mutual understanding with the parents. Spending quality time is necessary as it emboldens kids to open up with the parents. Sex Education, not only in educational institutions but also at other forums, can help people to understand the problem better. Free Self-Defence lessons for all can prove to be a productive step in handling the issue. The iconic faces should step forward to endorse the cause. Meditation and Yoga can be of great help in controlling the libido. Similarly, physical activities curb the sexual drive. Reading or watching sexually explicit content should not be encouraged. Spiritual learning may also help. Attaching a particular echelon of the society with the crime fuels the issue and demeans that stratum. It is important to understand that awarding death punishment to the accused can cause serious repercussions in the society. No such judicial provision can be enacted which has the potential of being misused. The most important diagnosis is the diagnosis of the mind-set. Girls, it’s time to defy the term, “the weaker sex”. Don’t give up. When the attacker perceives your unyielding determination, he would definitely get a little discouraged. Enough of what “should” be done. It’s time to act. Let us do our bits and make this society a better place. Be alert, be safe and be socially active. What happened to others can happen to any of us.

(Please share your experiences related to this cause in the comments section. Any suggestion will be welcome. Share how you have contributed to the society)

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Jyoti Nathany
Jyoti Nathany is currently a student of The Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore. She is also a Chartered Accountant and Company Secretary. Writing on social issues is her main area of interest which she carries on as a hobby. The primary motive is to reach as many people as possible through her write-ups and evoke sensitivity towards the society.
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