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  • May You Be The Mother Of A Hundred Sons

    ApuBACK FROM THE DIWALI break, I was chatting with the elderly lady who comes to sweep our street everyday. Though she is employed by the municipal corporation, the wages are paltry so residents usually help her with small tips in cash or kind. As I handed over her Diwali tip and a small box of sweets, she blessed me saying, “May you have male children year after year!” Quite apart from the fact that overburdened India doesn’t need anybody producing children year after year, what is with this obsession with the male child, that simply refuses to go away? Continue reading

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    Childbirth and Choices

    WHILE THE FEMINIST movement may have focused more on the right to abortion than other reproductive rights, there is a growing acknowledgment in the US and elsewhere that women’s right to safe, natural childbirth is being severely threatened by the imposition of the medical model. In the medical system, pregnant women are treated as ‘sick’ and childbirth as a dangerous event deserving of any and all intervention designed to make the process as ‘safe’ as possible. A spate of blogs and books written by moms, midwives and other reproductive health advocates indicates that women aren’t taking this lying down. Continue reading

    The Shaming of Scarlett Keeling

    THAT VIOLENCE against women rarely grabs any attention except for in the presence of gruesomeness, sensationalism, drama and tragedy is already known. But more disturbing by far than the fact that the murder of a teenage tourist in Goa last month has been making headlines precisely due to its cocktail of all the above elements is the level of moral sanctimony that accompanies the media coverage, the ensuing debates, and even what are ostensibly the responses of those who knew Scarlett Keeling and her family. Continue reading

    Daring to Divorce

    A CLOSE PERSON has been toying with the idea of a divorce for over two years. She has left her husband several times. The most recent attempt seems the most likely to result in divorce—she talked to her husband seriously, met with a lawyer and got all the gory details of how the law stipulates that a one-year ‘reconciliation period’ is necessary before granting a divorce. The massive family disapproval, nay downright prohibition via obsessive calls, pleas and commands, does not seem to have dented her resolve. Continue reading

    The Presence of a Uterus

    By Sridala Swami

    Seven years ago, I attended a wedding reception that I will never forget. A few months previously, I had just had a baby and this wedding was one of the first occasions when I was going out with the new arrival. It was quite traumatic for me: all I wanted to do was meet friends and enjoy a few conversations; instead I had to worry about feeds, secluded rooms and diapers.

    There were three of us at a table – my (then) husband and I, and an old college friend who was independently a friend and colleague of the husband. U and G started to talk while I tried to calm a cranky child unused to so many people, or to loud music and noise. The conversation between them was animated and mostly about work. Continue reading