Her knees were wide open, legs splayed and she had lain like this for nearly 4 hours. This morning she woke up with a slight discomfort that had gradually grown into a steady pain. She told her mother about it who then called an autorickshaw* (‘free for delivery trips to the hospital’ it said at the back) and took her to the hospital. There, a nurse shaved her pubic hair, stripped her bare and gave her something that covered only her front. She was then led into a room where there were several other women dressed like her. All of them were screaming. The nurse pointed out a hard bed for her to lie on and scream.
The pain was now coming fast and frequent, starting from the back and spreading all the way down her legs. It seized her body leaving her paralysed for several seconds.
‘Mmmmaaa…’, she moaned.
‘Shhh…don’t scream. Put your energy into pushing’, said the nurse in an unsympathetic voice.
She grunted and tried to push like the nurse had said.
‘Look at her shitting herself. I said push, not shit’, admonished the nurse cleaning up the bed.
Another spasm was coming, she could feel it. It felt like being poked in her most private parts with a red hot iron.
‘Aaaaahh, Muruga**…can’t bear it, sister….it's so painful’, she cried.
‘Well, you should’ve thought about it when you slept with him’, came the reply. Everyone giggled.
After an hour that lasted a decade, she was engulfed in a wave of pain that crushed her very bones. It was the worst yet and she felt something sliding out of her. Like a fleshy mango being squeezed out of its skin. And in an instant, it was all over.
‘Look, it’s a girl’, said the nurse cleaning the bloody, wet bundle.
This time she wept out loud.
*three-wheeled motorised rickshaw