Really? How long? I asked jokingly.
I am serious, she said in a grumbling tone.
judge anyone, people learn from their own mistakes and others
learn from theirs'. So, there I was scared and surprised but
willing to help a friend I have known for the last four years.
As days passed, I called many people, finding out as much
as I could about abortions. Many of them didn't buy the whole
'my friend' part of my queries, and thought that I invented
this character to cover up the fact that I was the sinner.
I never worried about peoples' opinions about me, so why bother
now? The results of the ultra-sonogram showed that she was
actually about 18 weeks pregnant. Only four of us knew, including
her, and none of us were over the age of 18. We had absolutely
no knowledge about pregnancy, let alone abortions or complications.
Every good hospital they visited refused to abort an over
18- weeks-old foetus claiming it was against the law. It was
around this time that I came up with my brilliant slogan:
I want to help, but I don't know how. I took a hasty retreat
from our serious predicament, honestly, not knowing what to
do. Her boyfriend ran all around Dhaka city trying to find
a place and after all government clinics, mother and baby
hospitals, an old lady in a public clinic suggested a place
in Azimpur beside some slum. It was the only option available.
few days before 'the day' she called me up and said 'maybe
we should get married'. I told her that one mistake was enough,
and that marriage will be something stupid for both of them.
Exactly how much can two 18 olds make per month? Certainly
not enough to pay for diapers! She just said 'but I can feel
it.' She begged me to stay with her at the clinic. Maybe I
was selfish, but I didn't want to cook up a whole story for
my parents, so that I could stay there a night. This was large
scale lying, and I just didn't want to do it. Besides, I was
also scared that this whole operation was illegal, and if
anything went wrong, I would be held responsible, and I couldn't
deal with that.
day' came, and around noon I got five missed calls, (I didn't
receive any of them because I was in a math class.) and then
at 12:59pm I received a message from another of my friends.
'She alredy tuk da thing. It was an injection…damn,
she doesn't evn kno wethr da needl was new or not. Emniteu
okhane jeye labh nai, don't wory, shes drowsy, thx 4 evrythin.'
A feeling of guilt, in the form of an emotion that I never
knew I had swept through me. I rushed out of class, and I
finally found out what the phrase 'get a breath of fresh air'
meant. God knows why, I just called my mother, said hello,
talked about nothing and hung up.
was continuously posted on her situation in the form of SMS
s, 'feeling drowsy', 'mite b goin 2 hel 2nite', 'plz pray'
were the messages that kept coming in. While I was jumping
up and down with Junoon, Artcell and Strings, my friend was
somewhere bleeding profusely, and scared half to death. I
came home lighthearted only to receive a phone call from the
other friend of mine saying: 'listen, you weren't home, I
dropped off a math copy at your place, it has 3000 taka in
it. The bf is coming to pick it up in the morn, they need
more money'. I knew that initially, the amount of money required
was 5000, but somehow it jumped to 12,000. I was back in the
world of reality and stress. Something happened, and they
both turned off their cell phones. None of us could get through
to them, and we panicked. We tried giving each other strength
on the phone but we were already imagining that the worst
had happened. Finally, at five in the morning, the bf called
and said that she was in a horrible state, and I could hear
her sobs in the background. It was supposed to come out by
now, but it didn't. For the first time in my life I took sleeping
pills: I have to stop thinking about this!
pink panther tune on my cell phone woke me up. The boyfriend
was coming to take the money. I added 2000 to the amount our
friend had already given and handed it to him. I inquired
about her condition and he told me that the baby didn't come
out the night before, as planned, and so they were going to
take her to the OT. He begged me to find some place by 2 o'
clock because that place was filthy and he didn't know how
clean their operating material would be. As he turned to leave
I found myself saying: "Should I come with you?"
He smiled and replied, "Please do." Without thinking
twice, I grabbed my cell phone and left with him.
found myself going through one of those ultra narrow alleys
in the old part of town. Finally, we arrived at our destination,
a 'nursing home'. The entrance to the dilapidated building
wasn't all that bad, but inside, as soon as I opened my shoes
and looked up it was extremely dirty and literally freaked
me out -- oily sofas which had lost their colour a long time
ago, and were tattered and torn in places. The walls had also
changed their colour, thanks to all the dust that had accumulated
on it. The floor had a plastic-like covering on it, but it
was missing in some places and the mosaic could be seen. This
was kind of a hospital, even though it was illegal, and one
would expect it to be clean at minimum standards! I could
literally feel the dust particles under my feet!
(R) thedailystar.net 2005