Aditya and Abhay have been good friends since childhood. They work as attendants in a government office in Northern India. Their low income restricts them from having three meals a day. A year ago, Aditya recently married Kavitha who has been carrying a child for six months now. On a breezy and dark evening, Aditya calls and asks Abhay to come over to his place immediately. Abhay picks up his bicycle and leaves as soon as he cuts the call. Upon his arrival, Abhay—very tense—sits next to Aditya on the steps outside the house and questions Aditya, asking if everything is fine. Aditya, hopeless and low on morale, has a 250 ml whiskey bottle in front him with plastic cups and a bottle of water. He pours two cups and hands the drink to Abhay who sips his cup twice. There is a brief moment of silence. The only sound is the doors behind them, rigidly opening and closing from the breeze. Aditya, in a small toned voice, says,, “It is a girl.” Abhay looks up at Aditya and then looks down at the ground, helpless in this situation. Abhay shyly asks, “Are you sure?” Aditya confirms, “Yes.” Aditya only gets paid 10000 Rupee a month, and a majority of it goes toward his rent, groceries, and medicines for his wife. After saving some money for the past two months, he finally gets his wife a mid-pregnancy ultrasound. The results came in a few days ago. Because ultrasounds are illegal, Aditya had secretly paid the doctor to find out the sex of the baby. Both Aditya and Abhay look at each other, and Aditya says, “I am not how to go about it.” Abhay reacts immediately and responds, “I think Kavitha should get an abortion.” Meanwhile inside the house, Kavitha lays on the floor next to the front doors—an old chair, a pot of water, and clothes a foot away from her and each other. Outside, Aditya still looks all around for options, but he stops at his friend’s opinion to get his wife an abortion because he believes he does not have the power and capability to raise a girl child due to the dowry system. He looks into Abhay’s eyes and nods his head rather forcefully. Abhay lays his hand on Aditya’s and nods. He gets up and leaves. Aditya sits there in silence, drinking his whiskey. After a while, he goes into the house and closes the doors. He lays down beside Kavitha and places a hand on her shoulder. Tears still roll down Kavitha’s eyes. Aditya goes to sleep. Later that night, an old lady walks into Aditya’s home and taps on his shoulder. Aditya does not respond. She taps again, and Aditya wakes up. He’s shocked to see his mother. “Mother, what are you doing here at this hour of the night?” The mother places her hand on Aditya’s head and brushes his hair slowly, uttering silently, “Please don’t kill me.” Aditya looks is disbelief. Aditya suddenly wakes up, and is breathing heavily. He realizes this was a dream because his mother died many years ago. He gets some water and sits in silence until the sun rises in the east. In the morning, he doesn’t utter a word to Kavitha and leaves for work without her knowledge. He is in front of a tea stall, smoking a cigarette while having a cup of chai. Abhay rides his bicycle up to him, parks it on the side, buys a cigarette and a cup of chai from the stall, and joins Aditya. Abhay asks Aditya, “Did you think about it?” Aditya responds, “Let us not talk about it anymore, because it is about my mother we are talking about.” Aditya leaves the tea stall place while Abhay watches him leave.
You cannot stand ground without your mother giving birth to you.