Better Off


Photo (c) J Hardy Carroll

Better Off

Words 100

“Radha’s absent again&^%@!”

“Relax Dhruv,” Smita spoke wearily, “Radha has domestic issues.”

“I wish you wouldn’t gossip with these low class…”

“Aren’t you late for office?”

“Yes. But you rest.” Dhruv ordered. “Don’t bother about housework or office work.”

Smita sniffled.

“Don’t cry darling.” He hugged her. “Next time.” He promised.

What if next time also…?


“Sorry Madamji.” Radha attacked the dishes. “My husband bribed the sonography doctor… “

“You’re expecting a girl.” Smita predicted dully. “He forced you to undergo an abortion.”

“Yes. But I thrashed him and kicked him out.”

Next time

Why wait?

She dialed 100.


A/N Somehow I really struggled with this story and still not sure if I managed to convey what I set out to. Perhaps the note below will clarify matters. Do let me know if you needed the help of the note or not. Thank you for reading.

Written for the Friday Fictoneers – a story in 100 words or less. Thanks to Rochelle for hosting the challenge and J Hardy Carroll for the photo prompt. To read the other stories inspired by this prompt click here.

 As per Indian census data, female feticide is higher among those with the better socioeconomic status and literacy. Incomprehensible, inexplicable, reprehensible but there it is.









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42 thoughts on “Better Off”

  1. Dear Dahlia
    That’s a really brave attempt, and enough came across for me to not need the note (although thank you for providing it). One point that threw me was dialling 100. Having googled ‘dial 100 India’ I find that it’s a police hotline, but I didn’t know that before.
    Contrasting the two women, each with the same predicament, is an excellent way of highlighting the social evil of selective feticide. Poor Smita – so much unhappiness, to which her husband – who seems to care for her at least superficially – appears completely oblivious.
    You’ve worked really hard to make your characters believable, and they have depth at a level which a 100 word story doesn’t usually achieve..
    Well written!
    With very best wishes

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thanks so much Penny for always taking time to share your perspective and impressions, it is very encouraging and educative. It is a difficult topic to write on mostly because it is a disturbing topic and so many perspectives to it. The husband thinks he did the right thing and assumes that she is in agreement with him. The pressure for a boy is so strong and all pervasive that she probably didn’t even think to protest. But the loss of her child the realization of the enormity of her act struck her only later and she couldn’t digest with the fact that a ‘lesser’ person protested but she didn’t. I did consider writing ‘called the police’ but somehow it didnt have the same kind of impact so just took a chance that it would sort of fall in place – but thank god for Google 🙂 Once again I appreciate your feedback and hope that your eye trouble is a thing of the past.

      Liked by 4 people

  2. Just like pennygadd51 I too googled dial 100 India. Is Smita reporting her husband for forcing her to kill her baby girl before birth? Radha was much stronger and stood up to her husband. Her survival instinct made her stronger. ( God what am I writing?) I despair that female foeticide is still rife in India, saying that it happens in the UK too among Indians. Very upsetting.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Yes Smita is reporting her husband to the police – at least in fiction I can make her do so. It is very upsetting and specially so because twice a year for 9 days, these very people keep a fast in honor of the Devi.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, it is upsetting to see a girlchild is being abused and mistreated and often it is the matriarch of the who initiates and allows it to happen.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. On the face, it often looks as if the matriarch is the perpetrator of the abuse and ill treatment. But of late I cannot help but wonder if there is a bigger hand and force behind her egging her provoking and prodding her. Just as the husband is manipulated by the mother, so is she by her husband. He would pass a decree, a censure, comment and she would implement it in an amplified manner. That is my suspicion.

        Liked by 1 person

      1. Long age i read a column by Sudha Murthy, it was similar to your story just that it was based on physical abuse in different classes and the way women in these classes respond.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Dear Dahlia,

    Dialing 100 came across for me without Google. I assumed it’s akin to dialing 911 in the US. It’s sad when there’s so much pressure to have either one sex or the other. My father wanted a granddaughter so badly he hardly had anything to do with my third son. 😦
    Brave story.



    Liked by 1 person

  4. Great attempt but it took me a while to realize that Smita had been forced to undergo an abortion too. It’s such a sick, twisted reality. And the fact that this is still happening even though they are educated and knowledgeable is sick beyond measure! Great job. You have managed to weave a gripping story in 100 words. Well done!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. This is such an important, serious issue and you tackled it so well. I like how in fiction you can give anyone a voice. I can just imagine how hard the situation is in in India, and the pressure for couples to have one sex over the other. Maybe one day things will change – and us women have to stand up for ourselves too.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes it is a huge pressure overt or covert, it is always there. And what you say is right, we have to take a stand for ourselves, nobody else will and indeed why should they? Thanks Mabel for visiting – always a pleasure to interact with you 🙂 Recently we had our biggest festival and during it I had fish and chips (almost as good as burger 😉 and I remembered you a lot. I meant to leave you a note (did I?) but it was so hectic that I am all hazy 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  6. A HEART RENDERING, TOUCHING, AND A DISTURBING BUT VERY WELL WRITTEN PIECE, YOUR WRITINGS HAVE REACHED A PLACE where I will now have to rise above them to be able to take the complete essence of your story, very sad yet an epic ending…loved the strength you gave to the character.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. As you said it’s really incomprehensible as to how people who are more educated tend to follow such heinous practices…I remember an episode of Satyameva Jayatey on the same and was really in for a shocker
    And no doubt , your story did convey clearly what it was supposed to tell

    Liked by 1 person

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