As soon as I came back from the hospital, I tried to call Sr. Margaret at the orphanage. If there was anyone who knows what to do with children like Meenakshi, it would be her. She did her master’s degree in child psychology and was trained in counselling. She wasn’t there when I called. With a heavy heart I went to attend the afternoon lectures.
2nd lecture that day was Forensic medicine and we were told earlier that a new lecturer has joined the college.
I hoped this new guy would be different from the rest of the forensic medicine staff. There was something wrong with our Forensic medicine lecturers, like the subject they are teaching, they too were morbid.
The way they acted, the way they picked on female students and the sexual overtones in topics that has nothing to do with sex were all too weird. I waited anxiously to see if the new guy would be different and as soon as I saw him walking in, I knew we were doomed.
His supposedly pristine white colour lab coat was almost brown in colour, he wore a green colour shirt and brown trousers. He didn’t even wear proper shoes. He wore bata sandals.
“Ente Ammo enna velicham ee murikkathu” (goodness this room is so very bright) I heard one of the malayalee boys speaking. Why did he say that? I looked at the lecturer again, only then I noticed, our friend was wearing a dark tinted glass.
There was a ruckus at the back of the gallery, because the comment was translated to tamil and Kannada and everyone was laughing.
Our gallery had two rows of seats separated by steps in the middle. I always sit on the first seat on the right side bench, so I can easily hear and be able to lip read the teacher. I watched the lecturer looking around the gallery and everyone stopped laughing. He walked towards me and asked
“What is your name?”
I got up quickly and answered
“Nina Thomas Sir”
“Ms. Thomas, Why are your friends laughing?”
“I don’t know Sir”
“Why you don’t know?”
I didn’t answer
“I say, why you don’t know?”
I kept quiet. My intuition said this isn’t going well. But how can I tell him why everyone was laughing?
“Get out of my class” He barked
“I say, get out of my class”
“But I didn’t do anything wrong sir”
“Get out, Get out” he was screaming like a mad man. He took my books and started to throw them towards the door.
Not my books. I worship my books, they are my friends. The rage I felt at that moment was beyond description. I didn’t do anything wrong and this new guy just walks in and try to show his power. I got off, picked up my books from the floor and walked off. He can go and fly kites for all I care! I stormed off, I didn’t even bother to close the door as I left, he can do that himself.
I checked the time on my watch. It was only 2.15pm. I could easily leave the campus without worrying about permission during day time. I walked to the main gate
Chief of security was standing near the guard station. As soon as he saw me, he looked at me from top to bottom. I had my lab coat on my shoulder and I took my id out
“Where to?” He looked at the id and asked
To buy a kilo of tomato and potato. I thought of telling him that. Why else would a medical student want to go to the hospital? You don’t have to be an Einstein to figure that out!
“To see a patient”
I knew if he asked me what patient, I would have said Orang Utan patient. I was still hopping mad with the new lecturer who threw me out of the class. I wouldn’t have minded if I was thrown out because I didn’t know the answer to a forensic medicine question. Throwing me out because I didn’t tell him why others were laughing was too dumb.
“Sign here” He pointed the ledger to me and I signed m name, took my Id from his hand and walked off.
Luck wasn’t on my side. Normally around this time, the place would be teeming with autos as most ‘out patients’ would leave the hospital after seeing the doctor around that time. Today not a single one. Where did all the autos disappear?
I bought a tender coconut from the vendor and sat on the bench near the bus stand. I wanted to go to the hospital and see Meenakshi. Her mother would have gone by now and I knew she would only be allowed back in the evening during the evening visitor’s time. This is the good time to see Meenakshi alone. I heard a very familiar bike sound. I didn’t even have to look and see who the rider would be. Being semi deaf also means I have the ability to identify the pitch of different sounds and each person rode the bike differently and I could easily identify beautiful eye’s bike. He looked at me as he turned to go inside the campus. My heart missed a beat. A part of me hoped, may be even begged that some miracle would happen and he would turn around and come back and talk to me. He didn’t and my heart ached with dejection and disappointment.
I might have waited another 10 minutes and I heard the bike sound again. This time the bike and the rider came towards me
“Where are you going?” He slowed the bike and looked at me. I waited for a moment like this. My heart started to beat fast.
“Hospital” I replied
“At this time?”
“Yeah” I replied. I wanted to tell him about the new forensic guy and Mennakshi. But the words didn’t come out of my mouth.
“You want a ride? I can drop you at the hospital”
I want a ride? Of course I want. If only he knew how long I have been waiting. Then I remembered the letter. Going out with the negro boy.
I wasn’t sure who was giving all the information to George and I didn’t want George to know about beautiful eyes.
“No, I will take an auto”
“Are you sure?”
I knew I blew my chance when I saw him starting his bike and leaving. Why am I so stupid? I cursed my own fate.
When I reached the Gynae ward there was a big commotion going on. I asked the nurse
“What is going on?”
“Patient’s mother want to discharge her against medical advice”
“yesterday’s rape case”
I quickly walked to the nurses station. Two ladies were arguing with Dr.Nandita and the nurse
“Your daughter needs corrective surgery and medication.” Dr. Nandita was pleading.
“We are going back to our village, we will get our village doctor to take care of her”
“Ok, if that is how you want it, so be it. Nurse get me the DAMA (discharge against medical advice)form” Dr. Nadita ordered
“Amma, don’t do this. Meenakshi needs medical attention” I spoke in Tamil.
“I know doctor, but I have to go back to my village today. I promise I will take her to our village clinic” She smiled exposing her tobacco stained teeth. I felt sick seeing that smile.
“You are a Malayalee right?” Dr. Nandita asked
“Then how come you speak Tamil?”
“Oh I listen to everyone speaking and learned.” Only after I spoke,I realized I had long forgotten my Malaysian roots. The land of my birth was now far far away from my present world.
I watched Meenkshi’s mother placing her thumb print on the form. She and the other lady who was with her quickly walked to Meenakshi’s bed. grabbed her hands and started to walk out. Meenakshi looked at me as they left. But her stares were kind of vacant. I don’t think she recognized me. May be shutting out friends and foes would be the only way she would be able to survive.
“How can a mother do this to her daughter?” I heard one of the nurse muttering
“She is afraid that someone would file a police complaint against her brother and the police would arrest him. That is why she is in a hurry to discharge her daughter from the hospital” another one explained
“Doctor Nandita, your patient is about to deliver” One of the nurses ran out of the labour room to call Dr. Nandita.
“Do you want to assist?” Dr. Nandita asked me
“Sure” I was so thrilled. I never got a chance to assist in a delivery till now. Most of the time nurses won’t allow juniors to assist. Kind of superiority complex, medicos aren’t as good as the midwives!
I quickly followed Dr. Nandita. I could hear the patient screaming in pain. I wore the gloves quickly and went inside the labour room. I looked at the patient. She was young, very young. Probably 15 or 16 years old. She was so pretty and so thin!
I looked at Dr. Nandita
“This is a second trimester induced abortion” Dr. Nandita spoke
Patient was screaming, nurses were screaming and Dr. Nandita was screaming asking the patient to push.
“Come on Nina, come and help me” Dr. Nandita was screaming at me now.
I walked and stood next to Dr.Nandita. I had no idea what I was supposed to do.
“Increase the drip” She yelled
“Head is crowning. Come on, push” Dr. Nandita started to scream and I could see the patient arching her body and screaming in pain.
Within minutes the baby was out
“Give me your hand” Dr Nandita looked at me and yelled
She dumped the baby on my hand and proceeded to cut the cord”
I looked at the baby in my hand. It was a boy and it didn’t cry like all the other new born babies. But it sure was breathing. The whole body was covered in lanugo( fine hair on the foetus. normally disappear by the 9th month of gestation). The baby even had tiny finger nails.
“What are you doing? Why are you standing there like that and holding the baby?”
I looked at the baby in my hand and at Dr. Nandita
“Go put the baby in the sink” She showed her hands and pointed the sink to me
“What?” I asked
“Throw the baby away” Screamed Dr. Nandita
Throw the baby? This isn’t some kind of garbage is it? This baby is alive. I looked at the mother, who could do this to an innocent child.
She didn’t even bother to look at her baby.
This baby was nothing but a casualty of carnal pleasure.
One of the nurses came and took the baby from my hand. I watched her going to the sink and placing the naked child in the cold cement base of the sink.
“Dr. Nandita, May I please take the baby to paediatrics department. It is breathing, we can still save the baby, No?” I know I sounded dumb talking to a consultant like that. But I had to do it
“Are you nuts? When did Government of India legalize abortion?”
“1971” I replied
“This is 1990, how many babies do you think we have already killed?”
I didn’t know
“Is it dead yet?” I heard her asking to the nurse. I watched the nurse walking towards the sink and checking
“Yes” She said victoriously. Population of India was successfully reduced by one count.
“Nina do me a favour, Your Anatomy guy Dr. Rajesh wanted a 24 weeks foetus sample. Take it with you”
“No” I yelled
“What No? All the samples in your lab, where did it come from? You think it all grew on trees?”
As I sat in the auto, holding the cloth wrapped specimen, I asked God for forgiveness.
People like me with skills and knowledge are misusing our power in the name of female liberation, equal opportunities, female rights and murder.
All these years, I keep seeing that lanugo covered baby during moments of solitude. I can still see his chest moving trying to take a breath. I named him Kevin( after wonder years).
I am sure his body is still there in one of those precious jars in my alma mater.
Today someone send me a link and told me children like him are known as Murdered survivors. May be Kevin was not the ideal name for him. He need to be remembered as a murdered survivor. He tried..he really tried against all odds to live.
Truth about abortion This and this
If you can read Malayalam this would interest you