My little baby doll
The huge grandfather clock before me keeps ticking away. It is quarter after five; we’ve been waiting for almost half an hour. When will Dr Hussain, my gynaecologist, call us in? I absolutely hate waiting in clinics. Ever since I was a child, I’ve never liked clinics; there is always a peculiar smell…the stench of disease. Even the gynaecologist’s clinic isn’t any better.
The dull coloured walls with cracks running through them, the unsmiling stern looking nurse who reminds me of the Hulk, the plastic flowers on the centre table, the old issues of Cosmo, Home and Garden, Motherhood and an odd out of place, gigantic photo of a white baby which is supposed to indicate that this is a gynaecologist’s office.
Oh! I think the baby just kicked again.
“Oh my little darling, you’ve been in ammi’s tummy for six months now, only three more to go and you’ll be out in this big, beautiful and yet frightening world, I’m sure you’ll love it.” I whispered to myself.
For the last couple of years Aamir and I had been trying so hard for a baby. Finally Allah (SWT) heard and answered our prayers.
Oh my! It’s 5:30; we’ve been here for 45 minutes! Looks like I’ll miss the new episode of Sex and the City tonight. Oh God! I could just kill for a smoke right now.
Baby darling, hurry up and come out. Ammi stopped smoking six months ago just for you; can’t wait till you come out and I can have my first cigarette in months!
I don’t even know what we’re doing here. I had an ultrasound a few months ago, Dr Hussain said everything was normal and there was nothing to worry about. But Aamir and Amma (Aamir’s mother) insisted that I have a sonogram done so that we could determine the sex of the baby.
I personally couldn’t be bothered. I would’ve preferred it to be a surprise; I can be a bit old fashioned that way.
Aamir and Amma were really keen on knowing. Amma wanted to know whether she was supposed to knit blue sweaters or pink. And Aamir wasn’t sure if he was supposed to paint the walls pink or blue in the baby’s room. Amma also said that if we know the baby’s sex then we can plan ahead and decide upon a good name. Well the sex really doesn’t matter to me.
Considering how hard we’ve been trying for this baby, I just hope he or she is healthy and able-bodied.
However, deep down I feel it would be nice if I had a little girl. Girls are their mother’s best friends, always there for their parents in old age. They are so loving and affectionate.
Now I know Aamir and his family are really keen on a boy…especially in his family it is a tradition that the first child is always a son. Even Aamir was the first born and later followed by two sisters. But times have changed. Pakistan is not what it used to be.
After all we are living in the 21st century. There is no way that age old patriarchal notions and dictates can be followed in today’s modern world. And I know my Aamir, he is a modern man, educated at some of the best international schools in Pakistan and abroad. He went to Harvard and Columbia for his Bachelors and Masters.
He is a liberal man, he has no qualms with me being highly educated, or working in the entertainment industry. He lets me dress how ever I want; I have no compulsion to wear a veil or anything like that. He is a good and kind husband. And although I know he is keen on a first born son, he will be equally happy if we have a girl. He too wants his little princess.
Now his Amma on the other hand is a different matter – a very traditional and conservative woman. Unlike my family – who has for generations lived in the cities, been educated in the West and worked as professionals – Aamir’s family comes from a feudal background. They have lots of money but very little exposure outside their villages.
That is why I don’t blame Amma; the poor woman has never lived outside of her cocoon. But I’m sure as long as I have Aamir by my side, Amma will eventually come to terms with a granddaughter as opposed to a grandson.
Quarter to six! It has been an hour long wait? My God! Oh, looks like I spoke too soon, the nurse is calling us into the doctor’s office.
“So, Mrs Aamir, I’ve got your sonogram here and it appears…”
I will call my little princess Fatima, which was also the name of Prophet Mohammed (pbuh’s) daughter. She’ll wear pink taffeta dresses and have her hair tied with pink silk ribbon bows. We’ll have Disney princess themed birthday parties. And for her high school prom she’ll wear a beautiful silk chiffon sari.
We’ll need to apply for admission to the Convent of Jesus and Mary, where her Ammi and Nani went. And I want her to read political science at my alma mater, Smith College.
Oh little Fatti! I just can’t wait for you to come into this world!
15 minutes later.
“The survival of a family’s name depends upon sons. Aliya will obviously get the pregnancy terminated. Next time, it will be a son.”
Aamir’s voice rung in my ears louder than thunder.
I looked at him, at a complete loss for words,
“Oh…Aamir…how could you? Especially to our little baby doll!”
But it was too late ….
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