“When Are You Giving the Good News?” The Question Responsible for India’s Overpopulation

Social Commentary

“When Are You Giving the Good News?” The Question Responsible for India’s Overpopulation

Illustration: Ahmed Sikander

M

y house help took a sudden chutti yesterday, and when she returned today she told me the reason: She’d delivered a baby, not her own of course, that of her neighbour’s. She spoke about it as if it could happen to anyone – this delivery in the middle of the downpour, under a tin-shed roof with tarpaulin. It was the neighbour’s fourth, she told me, shrugging her shoulders. Her neighbour is also a maid, who makes about ₹12,000 a month like she does.

This is not the first time didi has nonchalantly announced the arrival of a human, but listening to stories of newborns as a bachelor was a completely different ballgame. As a recently married man, whose married friends are already having kids, this struck much closer home. As I recovered from a hangover in a bar where I had swiped for ₹5,000 in one night, I tried to wrap my head around how someone who earns ₹12,000 a month manages to feed four people. Of course I drew a blank as always.

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