Mr. Allah Reham was first to call the subject and break the monotony of silence. “Let me narrate my story.”
“It was before the induction of mobile-phones into our communication lines, lives and society. There used to be few telephone connections in any locality of Bombay suburbs. One of my close friends had died in a Traffic accident at Dammam-Riyadh Highway, Saudi Arabia. A large speeding transport truck crushed the sedan of my friend while overtaking and gas-cutters were used to extricate the body from his car.
Fortunately, we had a telephone line at our home and I was assigned the job to break the news to his already half-paralyzed father. It was an errand, the toughest so far in my life to undertake. To my bigger surprise I had performed it with due diligence and aplomb. The poor bereaved father absorbed the shock with grace and resignation in fate. ”
Even before he could finish his story, Mrs. Sharda, who was a gynecologist by profession at Lucknow, entered the discussion with a knowledgeable assurance.
“No, I can tell you another tough job which I’d to perform.” She was bearing a curly crown of salt-n-pepper hair and a furrowed face. She adjusted her glasses and began her story with an unusual candor.
“I’m a Gynics by profession but I’m a psychiatric also. Once I’d to persuade an adamant surrogate mother who was refusing to give up the baby to the legal parent. She was normal till the moment she delivered. However, after looking at the cute and bright complexioned baby she changed her mind. She won’t part with the baby. She said she was the mother and baby won’t go.
“Come what may, I shall return all money I’d received but I won’t give the baby.” She was determined like a soldier. The legal parents were in a fix. They were wise and considerate and didn’t show any urgency or impatience. They decided to wait till she cools down and the emotional spell of the surrogate mother comes to low ebb.
To prepare the mother for the eventuality of parting, as a council I spend many days and I’d to apply the best of my cajoling instincts and persuasion powers. My Lucknawi Urdu came handy as I told her, “Tumhen to Allah ne aoulad dee hai. Kisi ke aangan men tumhari wajhah se roshni hogi to kitna sawab hoga. Who log kab se aasra lagaye baithe hain………..”. (God has already gifted you other kids. How blessed you would be to bring joy in the lives of others. They have been expecting it for so long)
At last she smiled and gave the baby. Before the Dr. Sharda could finish I fired my inquiry.
“From where and how they arrange the surrogate mothers? How much they pay?”
“Very good question!” Dr Sharda remarked.
“It is really difficult to believe but sometimes truth is stranger than fiction. The town of ‘Anand’ in Gujarat is the best for a surrogate mother.”
“The town of glittering Gujarat, the supposedly best administered and richest state; a site of Milk Revolution; a country of dairy forms; a fiefdom of Namo!” I exhaled my surprise in one breath.
“Yes Sir ! I shall tell you the rest of the story.” A surreptitious smile suffused upon her face.
“After milk, the most popular product of Anand is ‘surrogate mother.’ In fact, it is the capital of surrogate mothers. There is an exclusive mansion in Anand known as “Surrogate House.” Surrogate mothers are taken care in that complex. A surrogate mother spends minimum six months at the premise and the would-be-parents pay around three thousand Rupees for general and medical care. The gestation period is necessary for the assurance of sound health of the prospective child.
The name of the would-be-father is added with the name of surrogate mother in official documents for the identification purpose of to-be-born baby. The institution was founded in 2004. So far the institution has more than 500 deliveries on record.”
“Excellent service, great achievement……….”. One of the traveler commented.
“And how much the mother is paid for renting her womb?”
“It is an amount undisclosed.”
It racked my brain. I didn’t meet any father in life who would like her daughter to deliver a surrogate baby or a husband who would like to rent the womb of his beloved wife. Will any brother appreciate if his sister transfigured into a biological machine?
“NO, actually, surrogate mothers bring happiness in lives of several unfortunate childless couples. Those who work as surrogate mothers are the receiver of monetary benefits which helps them to give a pep to their despairing economic situation. No one forces them. It is all voluntary.”
“To give birth and part on her own volition! Isn’t a tough and sad job ?”
“Of course it is !” Dr Sharda replied.
“Should we not accept the dictate of Nature?”
It is a moot point.
"Then from her closing eyes thy form shall part,
And the last pang shall tear thee from her heart,
Life's idle business at one gasp be o'er,
The Muse forgot, and thou belov'd no more!”- Poet Unknown