I am happy to share an abbreviated excerpt from The Forbidden Daughter. A full excerpt is available on my website: www.shobhanbantwal.com
Today was the day! Today Isha would most likely have an answer to that single question sheâ€™d been obsessing about for weeksâ€”ever since sheâ€™d found out she was pregnant: Was it a boy, or . . . God forbid . . . a girl?
Nonetheless, she wasnâ€™t sure if she wanted to know. Even if she did, would her doctor be willing to reveal the fact, since it was illegal to discuss the sex of an unborn child with its parents? For Isha it was a case of mixed emotions and desires. There was a popular Americanism that described her feelings perfectlyâ€”damned if you do and damned if you donâ€™t.
Nervous anticipation made her stumble a little as she stepped out of the car to walk toward her obstetricianâ€™s comfortable and well-appointed medical office.
Nikhil, her husband, quickly grabbed her arm to steady her. â€œAre you all right, Ish?â€ he asked with a slight frown.
â€œIâ€™m feeling fine,â€ she assured him. No point in scaring him by saying she had huge butterflies, the size of bats, flitting around in her tummy. She was jittery enough for both of them.
He kept a protective hand curled around her arm. â€œGood. Letâ€™s keep it that way.â€
The black and white sign outside the single-story brick building was both prominent and impressive. Karnik Maternity Clinicâ€”a proud testimonial to the doctorâ€™s professional success.
Isha was at the clinic to get an ultrasound test doneâ€”one of the most brilliant inventions in the medical field since the discovery of antibiotics. It could reveal whether the baby was healthy or not, and the most interesting thing was that one could see the fetus as a three-dimensional image on a computer screen. How fantastic was that!
Twenty minutes later, it bubbled up like a fountain, warm and effervescentâ€”the emotion that could be experienced only by a mother-to-be. Her baby! With damp palms and a racing heart, Isha observed the fuzzy movements on the monitor. The word amazing hardly described it. It was like watching a fantasy show on television.
But the elation quickly dampened when other thoughts began to crowd her brain. Oh no! What if . . .? She said a quick, silent prayer. God, please let it be a boy. Please! If I donâ€™t have a son this time, Iâ€™m finished.
Dr. Karnik allowed both Nikhil and Isha to gaze at the image on the screen for several more seconds. Isha looked for the small but significant part of the babyâ€™s anatomy that would establish its gender. So far there was no indication of it on the screen. Was it something that didnâ€™t appear until the fetus grew a little bigger?
The doctor looked at her and Nikhil by turns. â€œSo, do you want to know the childâ€™s sex?â€
Isha closed her eyes for an instant. Did she really want to know?
But then she heard Nikhil say, â€œUm . . . yes.â€ He sounded hesitant.
â€œAre you sure?â€ The doctor gave him a pointed look.
They exchanged brief glances. It was an unspoken agreement that the three of them would keep this confidential.
Deep down, she already knew the answer. The tiny image on the screen was plain enough.
â€œItâ€™s a girl.â€
Silence fell over the examination room as Isha and Nikhil tried to digest the doctorâ€™s casual announcement. Nikhil stood motionless, his gaze fixed on some unknown spot on the wall.
Assuming their silence indicated disappointment, Dr. Karnik said, â€œIt is not the end of the world, you know. We can fix that.â€
â€œExcuse me!â€ Isha stared at the doctor. â€œWhat does that mean?â€
â€œWe can easily perform a clinical abortion,â€ the doctor replied. â€œYouâ€™re only in the beginning of your second trimester, and it is a fairly simple procedure.â€
â€œFairly simple!â€ Isha felt like sheâ€™d been punched in the stomach.
â€œSimple, safe, and fast, with todayâ€™s techniques,â€ assured the doctor.
Â Â Â Â Â â€œNo!â€ Glancing at the screen again, she saw the fetus move.Â â€œThatâ€™s not an option.â€
- About the Author
- Posts in the Past
I am an award-winning Indian-American author from Arizona. I write women’s fiction with romantic elements and most of my stories are woven around Indian characters. I have six published novels released by Kensington Books. I am also a freelance writer with articles published in a variety of publications, including THE WRITER magazine and ROMANTIC TIMES. Readers can reach me at email@example.com