There is no veritable veracity than the umbilical cord. It is the perfect manifestation of elaborate trust and pure truth.
“Tumahre to pehle se hi ek ladki hai Kaka (You already have a girl Kaka)?” enquired one of the visitors. Is baar ladka hoga (this time it will be a boy), he continued, while Bahauddin and I were heading towards the medical shop to buy some routine medicine before delivery. Bahauddin responded to the visitor with utmost maturity and to my delight, “kya farq padta hai ladka ho ya ladki (what difference does it whether it is a boy or a girl). The known visitor sarcastically smiled and said “farq to padta hai kaka (it does make a difference Kaka)”. I wondered why does this middle-aged family-man was put to unnecessary pressure by the society without any of his faults, who is not leaving a single stone unturned to get his family going.
Bahauddin, a 45-year-old man, calls himself to be a Mewati but never claims to be a proud Mewati. As, he often tells me, “Bhai I do not attach myself too much to these Mewatis” since they are very austere in their day to day life.
While we waited outside the labour room, the observer in me was awakened by a discussion with one of my friends who is a gynaecologist abut women’s rights a few days back. He told me “if you really want to feel the dastardly, despicable and double standards of society just spend half an hour outside any labour room of any hospital”. “You will get to know the true diabolical picture of the society” he added.
The worried face of the father to be was nerve-racking. There was giggling and the occasional laughter of the nurses, the hurried and random movement of the doctors and the hustle bustle of patients. But the old ladies who were sitting outside were eating Aloo Poori with absolute calm and composure as if the hospital is a picnic spot. Their body language was full of pride that ‘we have seen it all and done it all’.
All of a sudden, a nurse, heavily built, surely a veteran, shouted with discordant voice “Tabassum ke saath kaun hai (Is there anyone with Tabassum)”? She shouted thrice, and when nobody responded, she got irritated. “ladki hotey hi saanp soong jata hain logo ko (when girl takes birth, they behave as if they have been sniffed by a snake)”. She went back to the labour room- annoyed and disgusted.
I was astonishing to see the father of a child not claiming her to be his child. This is possibly the most gruesome tragedy of this society- The hypocrisy. It was clearly visible outside the labour room that the birth of the son is euphoria and the birth of a girl is not a happy moment in most of the cases.
After around fifteen minutes Bahauddin came back to me. I enquired, what happened? He, impassively with straight face, said “bhai phir se ladki hui hai (brother, again a girl). Nonetheless I congratulated him and offered him sweets.
On my way back from the hospital, I wondered kyun farq padta hai (Why does it make a difference)? Understanding my visible restlessness my four-year-old daughter enquired why you are so upset dad. I held her in arms and said, “I really do not know honey.”
About the Author: Naved Ahmad is an Aligarh based writer and an Alumnus of Aligarh Muslim University.