Home  -  Back Issues  -  The Team  -  Contact Us
     Volume 4 Issue 40 | April 1, 2005 |

   Cover Story
   News Notes
   Straight Talk
   Food For Thought
   Time Out
   Slice of Life
   Human Rights
   Dhaka Diary
   Book Review
   New Flicks
   Write To Mita

   SWM Home



Part 2


I saw my friend lying on a bed that looked like it had been thrown out of a proper hospital. The cabin had two beds, (one of them was empty), a filthy fan that probably hadn't been cleaned in years, the bed cover of the extra bed had blood stains all over it and I felt horrified to sit on it. My friend looked up at me with all her strength, smiled, and just said "thank you". The saline attached to her hand was bugging her a lot. I removed her hair from beneath her neck and just ran my hands through it. She started tossing and turning in such pain, that I couldn't bear to see her like that. As I looked closely, I realised her skirt was soaked with blood. I mean blood in amounts that I have never seen in my life--if it was paint, it would be enough to dye a shirt over and over again. An oil-cloth (the ones babies sleep on) was placed beneath her. She just grabbed her stomach and cried in pain. Just then she said like a little kid, "pipi korbo". Her boyfriend lifted her up, and to my utter disgust a small bucket was pulled out, maybe five inches in radius and 10 inches high. The bucket was a part time garbage can where injections and medicine covers were thrown and a bed pan too!

As time passed, an 'apa' showed up and ordered a bua to take her to the bathroom. The bathroom was probably one of the dirtiest bathrooms I had ever seen. A 25 WATT light bulb, the smallest possible water basin, red mosaic and a 'bangla komod'. It was probably 20 years old. My dosto went in there bare feet, for a moment she was about to fall into the toilet, but the bua caught her just in time. She was taken to the OT. A Bua was taking a tray of medical instruments into the OT. I inquired if they were sterilised or not. She just looked at me blankly. I told her that I wasn't going to let them use these instruments unless she put them in boiling water, in front of my own eyes. So we went to the kitchen and she just poured them into some boiling water that was already on the stove. It was in and out of the 'dekchi' and in a few minutes and back on the tray. The boyfriend and I were about to get into the OT, when a lady screamed at us: "beshi cinama dekhe, koto boro shahosh OT te chole ashe!".

So we came back to our gloomy cabin with nothing to do but wait. We heard her scream and became petrified. The boyfriend started talking to me. "I'm partly responsible! I should have insisted on protection, she felt that she wasn't mature enough and so will not conceive." This statement caught me by surprise, how little can she possibly know? He continued: " and when she didn't have her period for months, she didn't even know that there might be a possibility that she was pregnant." For the first time in my life I didn't feel all that weird talking about this topic but I was still horrified to find out that an eighteen year old A level student didn't even know the basics about female health. I found myself thinking that O Level Biology should be made compulsory for every single girl! The awareness level was so incredibly low!

Fifteen minutes literally seemed like hours. I called up another one of our friends to let her know what was going on. She was at home worrying so much that she came up with a fever. All she said was "OT, risky, dirty…" I just asked her to stop rubbing it in. But she said that her chances of becoming pregnant later in life will be close to zero. I don't know about the authenticity of this statement but it got me thinking. I suddenly became angry at the government for imposing such pathetic unreasonable laws. If the law wasn't in place we would be at a proper hospital with actual doctors. I started hating society for making everything so black and white. I started questioning God for placing me in such a tight spot.

After fifteen minutes in the OT, we were called. We went into a room, where the smell was so horrible that I felt like vomiting. On a huge tin plate was a small five-month foetus. It was maybe a bit bigger than my hands in length and had its own little hands with tiny fingers. It was pinkish-black in colour. 'It' was a boy. A small cute head the size of an egg. Little feet and toes. The wannabe doctor probably made a slight miscalculation while cutting him out, because one of his hands was ripped off from the elbow and placed separate from him on the plate, on top of his head. At that moment I felt like an accessory to murder. She was looking away, but her boyfriend and I simultaneously burst out crying. We stormed out of the room. A bunch of conflicting emotions swept through me. I wasn't exactly 'anti-abortion' but I couldn't help but feel that eighteen years down the line the baby would have been in school, like us, enjoying life if we didn't 'kill' him or take him away from this world so prematurely. We didn't even give him a chance to live! He just said "that was my boy". I asked what would happen to the foetus, and I was told that they are 'destroyed' because it is illegal. I don't exactly know what the word 'destroy' meant but my imagination was along the lines of, burnt in fire or cut in pieces. Both of which made me feel sick. I still feel sad that I hadn't made an effort to bury it. We went into the OT to keep her company. She was given no anesthesia when the procedure was carried out and she could feel everything. The table of the 'OT' was made of wood, cheap wood I might add, and it had a small crescent shaped hole where the legs were. She was dozing in and out of sleep because of some major 'painkiller' she was given. Thirty minutes after he was so gruesomely 'pulled' out, she had to walk back to her cabin where she lay for some time.

Exactly one hour after the 'operation' we woke her up, it was time to go home, if she was late, uncle and aunty will suspect something. She could barely stand up, but she went to the bathroom, washed her face and feet and came back to the cabin. I helped her get dressed and brushed her hair. She asked, "So, how do I look?" I said "horrible". She smiled. We packed up everything. She didn't bring any extra clothes, but had a bag filled with books. We were on a yellow cab, taking her home. I wondered how any of us, especially her, would get past this traumatic experience without any psychological counseling. All we had was each other and we were all pretty worn out. We couldn't deal with our own pain let alone someone else's!

We were finally there, I helped her open the gate. The electricity was out, so we couldn't take the elevator. I wish I could have carried her up the stairs but I couldn't, so we walked all the way to the third floor. I wondered if this incident made me weaker or stronger-maybe a bit of both. Her parents didn't know that their daughter had been in a life-threatening situation, and probably still is. As we entered the apartment, uncle looked up at us, removed his glasses and asked in an excited tone "So girls how was your slumber party?"


Copyright (R) thedailystar.net 2005