Yesterday I took a friend to meet Dr.R. Dr. R is a gynaec & Obs specialist. Pragmatic, Practical, non – judgemental and a non pill pusher, she has a great sense of humour and a instant ability to make people feel comfortable. She works out of Versova. We were generally chatting about our different kinds of work. She made some very interesting observations.The number of births, atleast middle class & upper middle class have decreased. Most opt for one child. The increasing trend seems to be no children. At the same time the number of MTP’s (medical termination of pregnancy) are on the rise. And this is mostly single girls (15 – 17) – and many of them come back multiple times. A lot of newly working girls also end up in the same situation, but theirs is not a repeat pattern. The girls, though not unaware of the concept of safe sex, didn’t see any reason why it needs to apply to them.
I had a similar conversation with a friend a couple of weeks ago. Her gynaec told her that the bulk of the terminations that come to her are the 15 to 18 or 19 age group – and it tends to be maximum 3 months after the end of navratri. Very often the girls turn up with their mothers in tow. When quizzed about why they don’t teach their daughters about safe sex — the mothers responded ‘that is not a part of our culture’. My friend and her gynaec are both based out of Mulund. And the trend, according to both, is not from any particular population niche, but from all strata and sections of society. Both Versova (and linked areas) and Mulund – where the two gynaecs operate out of – are multi community, multi cultural, cosmopolitan and contain various professional and trade groups. they are also old ‘localities’ – as opposed to the new developments at thakur complex or lokhandwalla or hiranandani powai. People and their attitudes never cease to amaze me. I try not to be judgemental about it – but there is something fundamentally wrong when a 15 year old goes for a MTP not because she had sex, but because she did not know about safe sex. There is something singularly deranged about the view that while sex in all its forms is an intrinsic part of one’s culture – 1.2 billion people didn’t spontaneously will themselves into existence – sex education or education on safe sex is not.