It was around 7pm and was getting dark.The young woman sat on a culvert looking at the small bundle in her hands.She was crying as she smothered gentle kisses on the new born in her hand. The tiny baby girl was just three days old with plenty of hair on her little head.It looked very charming though dusky in complexion.The young woman looked apprehensively hither and thither before she approached silently the gate of the big church.She believed that no one was watching her as she laid the babe in a garbage bin kept there .Little did she know that a pair of eyes of the security has been watching from behind a bush her suureptitious movement.The moment she laid the baby in the garbage bin and started moving away, he ran behind her forcing her to take the babe in her hands and walk to the pastor’s home in the compouund.
As she stood trembling with the baby in hand, the pastor, a kindly old man, told her “Don’t be afraid my child.You seem to be in distress.Don’t you know it is a sin and an act against God to discard a new born baby like this.Tell me why you chose to do this cruel act.I will try to help you”
“Ayya (Sir) please forgive me.I had no other option left befor me to save the child from being killed”she said
“What are you telling? Is leaving a vulnerable young baby in the open garbage bin amounts to saving its life? Don’t you know the dogs hovering there or the crows flying around would harm the defenceless young thing? Lucky our watchman saw.Tell me the truth’he goaded her
“We are very poor labourers.My mother-in-law does not want a baby girl.She has been insisting that I feed the child with poison made from herbs or feed a unhulled rice that would kill the baby.I have been refusing.My husband is a timid man unable to stand up against his mother though he would not like the girl to die.
Last night when I was asleep my mother inlaw came to take the baby away from my side.Luckily the baby cried when she lifted it and I woke up to grab the baby back from her hands.But I am afraid she is bent upon killing the girl child.This is common practice going on in our village and is not condemned by others.I thought instead of makng my daughter die in her hands let me atleast save her life by leaving it at the church gate.I am told the church takes care of such abandoned babies.Ayya, please help me in saving the baby’s life.Please do not ask me to take it back to my home,I love the girl so much that I want her to prosper somewhere”she said amidst sobs
“The pastor said”Do not worry..I am aware of this horrendous practice.You seem to be a compassionate woman.Leave the baby at the gate and go away.Do not tell others that you left it here.Your motherinlaw will be consider it a good riddance..I will have it admitted in the orphanage attached to our institution.What is your name? Have you given any name for the baby?
“I am Roja.I wish to call the baby Selvi” she said with a faint smile
“OK, I will have her nams entered as Selvi Roja.I will find out whether any ayah’s (attendant) position is available.Do meet me in two day’s time.You can work there without revealing your relationship to the baby.You can even nurse the baby without other’s knowledge..” he said
Roja overcome with emotion fell at his feet and profusely thanked him
(Female infanticide is still rampant and a bane on our society.We have much to do to get rid of this social evi through counseling to mothers in rural areas, monetary incentives, and healthcare and education facilities.This is a stupendous task that government and society should address on war footing)