I’m very grateful to TLS, who is keeping my in-box full with relevant news stories, particularly about India. From the BBC website, he shared this sad story about the perceived “curse” of giving birth to a baby girl; the reference to hospitals not offering gender identification at scans reminded me that this also happens in UK hospitals which are located in areas (such as my own bit of London) which have a high Asian population. When I visited the gynae department a few years ago, the walls were plastered with posters in Punjabi, Hindi and Urdu stating in no uncertain terms that no gender scans were available, under any circumstances.
And a few days ago on the beach, a woman, trailing three little girls and holding a baby in her arms, approached me, held the baby out and asked if I wanted to buy her. I laughed (nervously) and declined, but she sat down and said, in very good English, that she was serious and that, for 5000 rupees (about £65) I could have the baby and her birth certificate; she would use this money to make sure that her next baby “was a boy” as she’d already had four girls and her family was cross with her.
I think this is the saddest conversation (of many) that I’ve had since I’ve been here.