Bury me before I’m born…

Had I known my end would all turn out like this, from childhood to old age, I would have wished not to be born as a girl child in this bad, brutal world

Syeda Afshana
Srinagar, Publish Date: Jan 20 2018 11:38PM | Updated Date: Jan 20 2018 11:38PM
Bury me before I’m born…Representational Pic

I am Zainab. I am your little daughter. I was on my way to Quran recital class when you lost me. I was vulnerable. My innocence pulled me on. I never returned. I looked for you. Frantically. Screamed and shouted. Wept and wailed. Bitterly. All the angels in the skies got scared. But you couldn’t hear me; you couldn’t rescue me. Every cry went in void. Every tear trickled in stillness. For so long I felt it is just a nightmare. I held my failing breath, listened to my sinking pulse, believing I will open my eyes in the lap of my mother who had promised to compose my childhood with charming symphonies. I hoped and hoped until the tentacles of death devoured me. I was hushed up. Forever. 

I am Aasiya. I am your young sister. I was on my way to family’s apple orchard that afternoon in the spring season. I casually crossed the bridge over the Rambi Nallah as view of security camps around was a commonplace. Little did I foresee it was my last stroll in my small hamlet. Reminiscing my teen days, I treasure what I was. As a carefree high school student, I was full of aspirations. While I was a rustic realist, the optimism never left me. However, on that fateful day, I saw it all crashing down under the load of sponsored brutality as alien vultures pounced on me. And, I saw you conniving callously with my murderers! The shoddy silent attempt to cover up my slaying revealed you. I left the mortal self in immortal disbelief, with scandalized injustice hovering over my corpse yet. 

I am Mudasir. I am your promising daughter-in-law. An engineer, a topper, a mother of a lovely four-year-old son. I was intrepid and introvert as well. Being mature rarely sucked me up. Without “stomping on other people”, I harnessed my achievements honestly. I internalized the struggle of being what I wanted to be. But it just was not what I realized when I stepped in to your house. My worth was weighed in weird ways. The oddly irrelevant and strange things. Dowry demands gradually amplified domestic violence against me. I could not find solace anywhere except in gobbling waters of Jhelum. I was submersed. Eternally. In your betrayal and bias. Whilst you continue to roam free as my kid keeps recalling me in his cries. 

I am Jayshree. I am your hapless mother. Frail and aged. I brought you up to see you grow sensitively responsible. I invested my life in you. I wanted you to be my companion, a powerful reminder of my affection. All the same, my motherly devotion seems to have faltered somewhere. It left some part of you untouched, undefined, unconvinced. Sorry to say! As you were dragging me down on those steep stairs, I wanted you to be careful about yourself. When you were pushing me off the terrace, I did not look into your eyes. Just to ensure that you don’t change your mind, for I was becoming an ailing burden on you.

Had I known my end would all turn out like this, from childhood to old age, I would have wished not to be born as a girl child in this bad, brutal world. Things were much better in dark ages. Back when I was buried alive; back when it was all right to get eliminated before I could face the world. Is it possible to go back in time? I don’t want to grow up. Let me live my burial once more, straight from dark womb to dark grave. I don’t want to live any intermission of disgrace and devastation in the name of Life.

Bottomline: Amid rotting realities, what exactly is it that men can offer women for safeguarding their life and dignity? As individuals or as part of huge masculine social apparatus, do men have a right to raise daughters without ensuring an honorable life to them? Of course, sickness in society is related to sick minds, the ones shielded by poor politico-legal framework and silly societal norms. But then, can just reporting and penalizing of such perverted acts bring in any substantial change in the current condition of women in our society? It sounds as peddling snake oil!    

Hamstrung by temporal absurdity, with failed institutions of family and reform, there is actually no hope left to see no more of shame and suffering in the form of Zainabs’, Aasiyas’, Mudasirs’, or Jayshrees’—the characters that run through the general narrative of gruesome gender abuse all around.