Friday, April 13, 2018

The price of womanhood

The stories are piling up and there's so little time to tell them!! The composition of a good blog post is an art form, but art takes time, unfortunately! So do bear with the brevity and the lack of analyses. The stories are so stark that it sometimes seems abrupt and jolting to leave them without comment. But then, maybe commenting and rationalising will make them more understandable, more acceptable. And that cannot be allowed. In this great country of India, where dwell some of the richest people in the world, where advanced medical care draws people from all over the world to access it, where our scientists are making giant strides at the cutting edge of research and our people are accessing lifestyles that are at par with any developed country in the world, there are still places where the realities of life are far removed from choosing which mall to go to or which movie to see or which joint to dine in. Every day, I am shocked and moved by the stories. Stories that I could not have even imagined possible just a few short months ago.

Today I tell the story of Guddi Devi (name changed). I never knew her. I never even met her. But the poignancy of her story breaks my heart. Her only crime - being a woman in a society where womanhood is a curse. A society where spending money on a woman's health is an unnaceeptable economic burden. I never met Guddi Devi since she never made it to the hospital. But her baby did. He was brought by her relatives, hale and hearty and completely unaware of the deadly drama playing out around him. His mother had been bitten by a snake - an uncomfortably common occurrence in these parts. (The other day we had a krait in our house, but that's a story for another day). The family had taken her to the local witch doctor, who commenced his mantras and spells (or as they are locally called - jaddi putti or jhar poke). While he was doing the necessary charms to remover the poison magically from her body, her baby started crying and she fed him, as any good mother would. And soon after, even before the magician had finished his spell, the dreaded symptoms began. As her eyes began to close and her breathing became more laboured and as the witch doctors incantations increased in volume and fervour, her relatives did the first thing which occurred to them - they rushed the baby to the hospital. After all, this precious boy had suckled at the breast of poor poisoned Guddi and God forbid anything should happen to him if some of the poison had somehow managed to enter him through her milk. As for Guddi, she died quietly, not even a footnote in history, while her little boy played happily in the arms of the relatives whose deep concern for the boy was so terribly countered by their absolute apathy for her fate.

For what it is worth, I honour Guddi Devi and the millions of women like her, who live and die quietly, destined to be second class citizens solely because of the absence of the all-important Y-chromosome. May God have mercy on their souls......

7 comments:

  1. And v claim, v r in 21st century

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  2. Let's share the story with our fellow citizens

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  3. I am reminded of the reason for founding many of the mission hospitals decades or even century ago. Why do I need a blog like this to rekindle my conscience? I see myself & my fellow curative technicians among these relatives. After all I need my comfort. Yes I am silently allowing this evil to continue. Should I quit being a doctor?

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  4. Can I blame? If so I am the first one that will be judged for my act of ‘turning the other way’

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  5. We brag about closed mission hospitals, MMR, IMR, etc in glass houses... another Guddy Devi dies...

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  6. It's good that women's issues are being raised as something to be considered and discussed in India right now. For far too long, this topic has been brushed under the carpet as being unimportant because women have their specific place in Indian society and it was theirs not to make reply, theirs not to reason why, theirs but to do and die.

    Let's hope this doesn't die a natural death and that it turns out to be India's Suffragette movement.

    On a side note, welcome back Mathewz. With your return, all hail the return of the Black Mamba...........

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  7. Very nice blog, thanks for this post and I have some special things for you. If you are finding something to relax, Cool fighting games; cool shooting game will be my best recommendation for you. Let’s play and get more deep relaxation!
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    ReplyDelete