“For the first time I thought it was love. For the first time I thought, I belonged to someone else. I was twenty four, young and full of life. Studying law, and then I met him.”
“Yeah! the baby is in great condition Mrs. Grewal. Your reports are perfect and I can see the baby making movements,” said the doctor with a perfect smile on her face. She looked satisfied after monitoring the ultrasound screen.
A smile appeared on my lips as I rubbed my stomach. I was always worried about my appearance and I religiously did my workout and made sure never to put any extra pound of flesh. And here I was, for the first time, feeling euphoric for gaining weight. I loved my huge baby bump.
“I cannot see your husband Mrs. Grewal. Since you are in the sixth month of your pregnancy, I expect your husband to accompany you.”
No sooner did she say that than my eyes welled up. My hormones rushed in and from feeling happy, there was a drift in my emotions. Words won’t be enough to express my feelings.
And there I was, sitting in the cafeteria, with coffee and my laptop in Punjab. I was working rigorously on my assignment when someone interrupted my attention. And that interruption had a long way to go.
“Hey ! Can I sit here?” A tall and dark skinned guy, with a sharp nose and strongly built, said to me. And yeah, I still remember what he was wearing. I can clearly remember that even today. A semi formal cream colored pants paired with a black shirt with mandarin collar. And camel colored loafers. And yeah, his wrist looked even more remarkable with that leopard print watch.
I felt something in my stomach. This was an unusual feeling. Maybe what they call love is? Or maybe just attraction? Or what? This was the first time anything like that happened to me.
“So what are you doing?” he asked me. “Ahh! Actually, I’m working on my assignment.”
His voice did something to my ears. I don’t know what was happening to me. I couldn’t take my eyes off him. I felt an ache in my heart. I just wanted to freeze that moment with him sitting in front of me and talking. Yeah, he was just a stranger, whom I had met a few minutes ago.
“Mrs. Grewal, you didn’t answer me. Where is your husband?”
And the most wonderful journey of my life began from that cafeteria to the court. From complete strangers, we became each other’s everything. And we were happily married. Without him, I couldn’t imagine my life. I fell for him. I was in deep love with him. And he was in love with me. He is the best thing that happened to me.
I clearly remember the day he proposed me for marriage, he had invited me to a dinner in Punjab. A state in northern India. And the beauty of the place is marvelous. It was not a restaurant, or a bar. It was an open agricultural field full of grasslands and greenery. He had arranged for a table with two chairs in the open. There we were, both of us, beneath the stars, surrounded by the nature.
And yeah, the taste of butter chicken and Indian bread still sits on my tongue until today. Yeah that was my first time. And we had kheer, a famous punjabi dessert.
And then, he held my hand and said,”Will you become Mrs. Samarpratap Grewal?” And tears rolled down all the way through my face. Those tears were out of happiness. I couldn’t stop staring at his face. And as soon as I said yes, he pulled out a ring out of his pocket and placed it on my ring finger, and kissed my hand. And I hugged him. That day, I thought that I was the happiest person alive. I thought that how could I be so lucky.
I always believed that love stories were just stories. And that people fell in love only in fairy tales and not in reality. But that day, I was proved to be wrong. It happened to me. It happened to him. And our moment was nothing less than Cinderella and her Prince.
“Mrs. Grewal! I think you’re not okay. Make sure you don’t take any stress because it’s not good for the baby,” said the doctor.
And I walked out of the room thinking about Samar, my husband. Somewhere deep in my heart, I still love him. How could I not? He was the only weakness of a strong independent woman like me.
As soon as I was out of the hospital, I drove to a sikh temple, a gurudwara. That is what we call it. A special temple where it all started. I went in and folded my hands and closed my eyes. As per in sikh religion, every time we go in, we bow down and kneel before our holy book to seek blessings. But, I didn’t kneel down due to my pregnancy. After seeking the blessings, I sat on one of the chairs which was placed for pregnant and old people. I sat there in solitude. And I could picture everything that happened here five years ago. Same place where I was dressed as a bride and Samar as a groom. Everyone was elated and everything was perfect. Me and the love of my life got married here.
As I closed my eyes, Samar came in my mind again. I missed him so badly. I wanted him to be here with me. I wanted us to raise our baby together and obviously, I wanted to spend my whole life with him.
It was the January of 2019, right six months from now, when Samar and I visited our gynecologist, and she confirmed that I was pregnant. That feeling was even better than when Samar had proposed me for marriage. One thing that I always wanted was to raise was to raise my own kids. Samar was happy too. He congratulated me and drove back home.
All the way, while he was driving home, he had decided everything. From the name of our son to which school he will go and what clothes we would buy for him. He was so excited to become a father.
“But what if the baby is female Samar, we need to think of a different name then,” I said.
And he didn’t answer me. Maybe he didn’t hear me or he was busy with his own thoughts day dreaming about the kid. But, he didn’t give any answer.
Samar took great care of me. He wouldn’t let me do anything but yoga. As yoga would help in making a healthy baby. He would get up early every morning and would serve me a healthy breakfast and motivated to me to go for a walk.
It was the sixteenth week of pregnancy when one evening, he called me up and told me to get ready. I asked him where we were heading out, he said nothing but told me to wear easy clothes. I got a bit excited thinking that maybe it was a surprise date. I put on some makeup and a red colored traditional outfit.
“Where are we going Samar?” “You’ll know soon.”
And we drove out of the city. He played on my favorite music and again told me how much he loved me. I was enjoying the ride. The lush green fields of Punjab brings this place to life. It attracts you closer to the nature. And on that Tuesday evening, the cold winds were blowing, those winds drew me even closer to the nature.
It was all perfect. My husband was perfect. Our playlist was perfect. Car was perfect. Place was perfect. And the weather was utterly romantic. The winds purified my soul. All I could see was green all around me whilst we past those grasslands.
After around an hour’s ride, Samar stopped the car. And all I could see was a white van parked on the side. The place was abandoned, far away from the city. All I could see was fields around me and a white van. No other person. No other vehicle. Anyway, it was beautiful.
“You need to go into the van Mrs. Grewal,” said Samar. “Oh! I see, you still have the habit of giving me surprises.” I smiled and thought that the van would be decorated with balloons and maybe there will be dinner table set inside for us. Samar always had different type of choices. Instead of enjoying in a busy night club or some extravagant restaurant, he preferred nature, and always arranged for different kind of dates for us.
I adjusted my dupatta and walked into the van. As soon as I went in, I felt a little uneasy. I was confused. It was nothing like I had expected.
“Welcome Mrs. Grewal, please sit on this bed,” said the lady wearing a white coat and her mouth covered with a mask. She had stethoscope hanged around her neck. She was a doctor. As soon as I sat on the bed, one of the nurses pulled out a blood pressure machine and started monitoring my blood pressure.
And the other one stood there and looked at me. The van looked like a perfect mini operation theater. I was so confused about what was happening with me.
“What is this about doctor?” I finally asked.
“After taking your readings, we will determine the gender of the baby,” said the doctor with a smile while she pointed towards the ultrasound scan machine.
Hardly had she said that when I flew into rage. My cheeks became red with anger. I threw away nurse’s arm from the blood pressure machine and quickly got up from the bed.
The three ladies looked shocked. I picked up my dupatta and walked out of the van.
“Samar, what the fuck is going on?”
“Didn’t they tell you, we are here for a sex determination test of the baby.”
“And why is that important?”
“I’m sure we will have a son, but what if one percent , the child is female?”
The moment he said that, I had goosebumps on my skin and for a moment I was numb. Everything seemed disgusting to the moment. I couldn’t believe my Samar could say a thing like that. This was the man I married and I couldn’t believe that he put me into this situation.
“Yeah, so what if the child is female Samar?”
“So, we’ll have to go for an abortion, right?”
As soon as he said that, I couldn’t control myself. I burst out into tears. I started crying. I loved my husband so much but I could no longer live with such a person. The reason I started practicing law was to fight for justice. And here I was amidst this situation with my husband suggesting me a sex determination test.
That day I found courage and discovered that my morals were greater than my love for him. And I left Samar. I left him. And I cried a lot. Samar was the best thing that happened to me.
And here I am, sitting in the sixth month of pregnancy in this Sikh temple alone, where Samar and I got married. Where our beautiful love story started. I still love him and will always love for the rest of my life. But, for me justness is greater than my love for him. I know this journey of raising a kid alone will be difficult. Very tough. But, I’m tougher than this. I’ll raise my kid alone irrespective of the gender of my kid.
Yeah! this is my story. Story of Mrs. Grewal.
[Note: This story is inspired by true events. When I came across this event, I was deeply touched and felt the urge to bring this into light. Female foeticide is still prevalent in a lot of parts of the world.]