What is it about being a married woman in India, that you are immediately expected to produce babies? I have been hearing well-meaning questions, advice, suggestions, predictions since right after my wedding – not only from older relatives, but also, to my surprise, from friends, classmates, colleagues – people of my age who seem to think that I was only waiting to get married before starting off on a protracted orgy of unprotected sex.
I had sex for the first time with a man I had only met twice before, whom I had got married to earlier that evening. I got a new home where I often still feel like a guest and a new family I hardly know. The only thing that hasn’t changed in my life is my very satisfying job. I’m doing better than ever: I love the excitement, the challenges, the travelling that takes me away from my new home. When I am at work, I can forget I am Mrs Ahuja: I am only Nandini, the same ambitious, gregarious girl I was over a year ago.
Now that a year has passed, relatives offer concern and advice. Today at dinner, my mother-in-law suggested that my husband take me to a doctor. I tell her that I have a gynaecologist friend who has a clinic near my office: I will go there after work tomorrow.
She urges her son to go with me. He refuses: he has a late meeting. I sigh silently in relief, my mind on the abortion I had three months ago.