Shweta was waiting outside the office of her gynaecologist. She was in her 5th month of pregnancy and had an appointment with the doctor. She was expecting a baby after a long wait of 10 years of marriage. Her gaze shifted to all other ladies waiting outside who were in different stages of pregnancy. They all projected different kinds of emotions. Some were happy and smiling whereas some were anxious and some even jittered. She looked at the girl who was sitting next to her. She seemed to be in her mid twenties and was in the second trimester of pregnancy. She was calm and serene and her face was an unreadable mask.
"How long have you been married?" Shweta asked her.
It was her usual question to all those pregnant ladies whom she befriends during her visits to the gynaecologist. She herself didn't knew why she was posing only this particular question. Maybe she was in search of someone who shared a similar plight as hers. But she was not at all prepared for the answer that came her way that day.
"I am not married." The girl said with a pretty smile.
"What!" Shweta was baffled, "then how...!" She swallowed her words as she had no idea how to satisfy her curiosity in a polite way.
"I am a surrogate." The girl said calmly, "I am carrying someone else's baby. I don't even know whom this baby belongs to. My case is absolutely different from yours. You may be eagerly waiting for your baby to arrive. But I won't be allowed to see the baby even for once. Though I really feel attached to the baby and wish to hold him in my hands especially when I feel the baby twist and turn inside me. But I know I should not because all my love will just go in vain. All I will have in my hands in the end will a little money for my mother's cancer treatment."
"Priya, it's your turn." The nurse called out and the girl went inside the doctor's cabin.
After she was gone, Shweta thought about her own baby. She couldn't conceive even after years of her marriage and had to face a foul mouthed mother in law and a sarcastic battalion of relatives who bathed her in vitriol for not being able to give her family an heir. Then she met an infertility specialist who pointed out that her reproductive system was defective and her chances of conceiving are very slim. He also suggested the use of a donor egg. Both she and her husband Akash pondered for a long. If her mother in law finds out that it was Shweta's fault, she will definitely throw Shweta out of the house and get Akash remarried. Akash loved her and in order to save their marriage he convinced Shweta to go for a donor. Shweta was left with no other but to agree to it. Now she was carrying a child who was not hers. But that made everyone else happy. Her mother in law was on cloud nine and showered her with immense love and care. All other relatives adored her as an ideal daughter in law who was about to fulfil the duty of giving an heir to the family. But deep within she was also feeling what Priya felt.
"In a way, I am also a surrogate." She thought, "the only difference is that I can keep the baby whom I give birth to."