Kalayani was lying on her side, beside her five-year old daughter Amrita. She was looking at the child's features very carefully — closed eyes covered with thick eyelids, soft face, pink lips and the music of her breath. She was cuddled up under the blanket peacefully to wake up tomorrow with full commitment to life. “She is also like Amrita,” her inner voice told her as she placed her palm on her womb. “I can't do it to you,” her voice told the baby inside her even as she gently moved Amrita's hair away from her face. Tears started rolling down Kalyani's eyes. Her breath started getting heavy, as she was not able to cry loudly.

Her sobbing woke up Nirantar, who was lying next to Amrita. “Come on Kalyani, don't get so emotional, things will be all right. Be strong…after all, you have also decided on this. Sleep, we have to go to clinic early morning.” Nirantar consoled, patting her, and went to sleep.

But Kalyani was wide awake. The dim blue light reflected in her eyes. “How come this be my decision? How can I kill my daughter, my being, my existence? What am I without her? I can't live without my soul.” Her inner voice was firm as she was holding the cold iron fencing on the terrace. In peak winter, she left her cozy room for the terrace as anger was boiling inside her.

She confronted her mind. The decision to abort her foetus was not hers. This single thought suddenly freed her from the mess and chaos. She felt that she was standing on one side of the warfield arrayed against an army — determined not to submit herself to the decision of family members.

The army started attacking her with the so-called weapons, “Another daughter?,” “Why only daughters?,” “Why didn't you go for it when the doctor was ready to do so?,” “At least think about the expenses you will incur, the huge dowry,” “Girls are after all other's property,” “Who will take care of you in old age?” Kalyani managed to protect her “self” from all those weapons. She was standing tall on the battlefield.

“So what if the child is a girl? The important thing is, she is my child. I will help her live a fulfilling life. I will support her to follow her passion. I will work to make her secure in all ways. I don't expect anything from my child. She will grow every moment and will go into the world,” Kalyani told herself and a great peace descended on her.

Kalyani could save her daughter, but not all mothers of our land. Millions of girls are denied the right to be born in our land by this heartless social evil called female foeticide.

This urge to kill girls is spreading in all parts of the country, rural or urban. And before this devastating urge makes our humanity so weak to protect itself we have to wake up to douse its flames and eliminate its source.

(rujutadeshmukh @gmail.com)

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