Friday, December 05, 2008

... on the concept of conception

Hi. I am a zygote just a few hours old. Oh! Don't be surprised that I can speak (and blog as well!)... in fact, I could always speak but till now, no one wanted to hear me till I completed term and came out kicking and screaming in this world of yours. But from the day, my mother, in who's womb I'm speaking from, has started seeing this advertisement on the television on morning-after pill which has the punchline - '...after all, prevention is better than abortion, isn't it...?', I've started getting the shivers. Well, you may wonder why, since motherhood, in your Indian society, is considered a blessing and if it happens to be a boy (psssst, I know it is illegal to reveal the gender of the foetus, but, between you and me, I am a boy), it should call for jubilation... well, hold on to your thoughts and queries, my friend, since, if you really want to know the reason, you have to listen to my entire story.

Allow me to put in words the procedure of my existence - hey, you naughty minds, not from the biological perspective but the humane one. Imagine the tiniest speck of dust, one that is barely visible to the naked eye - then imagine the tiniest speck of dust under the microscope - I am smaller than that! That's how the beginning of my life is, in its frailest, tiniest, most delicate form, in my mother's womb. You may wonder, how can something THAT small, even exist, much less blog, but hey, you can't see God but you believe in Him, don't you?. And as time passes, I will become an embryo and grow limbs, lungs, a tiny heart, ears, nose, lips - all so perfect, so serene, so eternally beautiful. Have you ever floated in a swimming pool lazily, without a care in the world? Well, that's how I will soon exist in my own tiny world. Think about it - if you are the foetus, all you need to do is float about in a warm, cozy place for 9 months - your food, shelter and even your breathing is done by someone else. Envious life isn't it?

Well, apparently not so, if you are an illegitimate foetus (or zygote in my case). And there are multitude of ways in which I am labeled illegitimate. An indicative but definitely not an exhaustive list of reasons could range from rape to pre-marital sex to prostitution. It can happen in the heat of the moment or in cold, calculative ways. The man or woman or both could be at fault. And the result is talking to you. Just a few hours old; I haven't even grasped my surroundings well, haven't even started feeling the joy of taking birth when I have been threatened with death and that too not in the heat of the moment but in cold blood. In all of this, I just have a simple question... what fault am I guilty of? If your society does not accept babies outside of marriage, then is death the only way out and that too the murder of the innocent party who cannot even defend itself?

Have you ever wondered what my dreams are? About what I think so deeply for 9 months, before I enter your world? About what I sense and feel when I hear the sounds and noises of the world I have not seen? When people talk of a red apple, I try and visualize what the colour red looks like, what an apple smells like, its shape, texture and the experience of touching it, eating it. Things that you take for granted – the sights, smells, touch, sounds and taste - are so enchanting, so alien, so mysterious to me. I am alive but just because you cannot see me, feel me, touch me, hear me, you think you can kill me without feeling even a shred of guilt?

Oh no... I can hear the sloshing of water and that advertisement again... I think she has taken the pill... my hours are numbered but I am glad I could write what I think, before I cease to exist and melt away in her bloodstream - but will it really matter to you? I guess, the death of what you can't see, hear, touch; what is smaller than the smallest speck of dust will be a non-issue for you humans. In a way, I am glad I am not going to enter your world... I would not want to become as heartless and cold as you all are... **

** I am a woman and I understand the blessing that emergency contraceptive pills are, particularly if there are high chances of an unplanned pregnancy. I always was under the impression that ECPs prevent fertilization and hence formation of the zygote. But while reading up on this, I came across various articles where ECPs were known to work even post-fertilization, technically when the life has formed. This made me ponder whether ECPs are a form of abortion as well. How do ECPs work - Depending on the time during the menstrual cycle that they are taken, this drug may inhibit or delay ovulation, inhibit tubal transport of the ovum or sperm cell, interfere with fertilization, or, in cases where it fails to prevent fertilization, prevent implantation. There are issues for pro-life activists of whether fertilization or implantation constitute the start of pregnancy, and while U.S. & UK law considers the pregnancy to begin with implantation (ca. 1 week after fertilization), the pro-life viewpoint claims fertilization should be regarded as the beginning of life, and that ECPs cause a chemical abortion, particularly if taken after the 72 hour period.


  1. That served as a good eye-opener... Even I belive that an unborn child's rights must be given equal importance. But I dont yet fully understand what is your standpoint on the issue of abortion.

  2. Profound to say the least. Sorta reminds me of the essays we used to write in school... "atmakathas"...but on a more serious note.

  3. Very thoughtful and by far one of your best writings in terms of sensitivity and style !!