Those screams of helplessness still echo in my mind…
As I step in the memory lane, the flashback begins and each bygone moment appears vivid right before my eyes…
I was born as a girl. Yes, a female! The birth of a girl has always been considered as a curse. It is a bane if you are blessed with a girl child. Girls are placed under the category of burden and their birth is marked with dollops of dolor.
I was the yet another one to add to the colossal pressure on a typical Indian family. From the very inception of my childhood, I was treated as if I committed a sin by coming into this treacherous world.
My mother used to see me with pain carved on her visage. Her eyes held inexplicable disgust. I was too young to comprehend her suffering but my mind still remembers her crude behavior. My Baba maintained a constant indifference towards me. He always kept himself away from cuddling me and loving me. My mother withdrew herself from caressing my hairs, teaching me things with affection and singing to me lullabies to sleep. I was not blessed with such pleasures. All I received was oodles of anger.
I wanted to go out under the vast blue expanse and play but my mother chided me; I wished to hold precious books in my little hands but my desires met with lewd remarks intended to belittle me.
I had a brother when I was five. After multiple unsuccessful attempts, my mother was finally able to conceive and pull out a boy child out of her exhausted body. I still remember my Baba’s face that was beaming with satisfaction. Never before, I saw him elated. His happiness knew no bounds. My mother heaved a sigh of relief. Tears of happiness flooded her eyes and spoke volumes about the grief she underwent when my Baba used to hit her brutally in his anger. The marks of pain inflicted upon her bare body manifested itself on her pale face. Perhaps, her suffering was the prime reason behind her hatred for my existence.
My brother was raised with utmost care and love while I was kept aloof from tasting even a pint of it. I grew up bearing ruthlessness of my parents. Their actions hurt me, their critical remarks burnt me within but I learned to keep silent and endure all the pain from my stubborn and helpless mother. I was eight years old when my mother left all of us for the heavenly abode. Maybe, the endurance of her misery reached its peak saturation level where no more of it could be withstood. I never saw her smiling face in my life and to imagine it, would be next to impossible for me. The over bellied clouds of pain pervaded her life so gravely that fantasizing of her happiness was rather difficult. The only scene that appears before my eyes whenever a thought of her grabs my attention is her lifeless body, her eyes open, holding tears waiting to storm out but Dry!
At a tender age of 12, my Baba pushed me into marrying a man thrice of my age. My soft heart was reluctant to give up. I cried, mumbled and wailed; I pleaded him to help me but to no avail. He made up his mind to shed the burden off his shoulder, set himself free of his duties, and earn a handsome amount of money from his prospective son-in-law. The day I tied the knot with that man, the stark darkness hovered around my life. Misery arrived in my life creeping and the insidious marriage left me fearful. The initial months were, to my disbelief, happy. But eventually the reality unveiled and to my dismay, it left me in utter shock.
He was not a human being but a wolf who used to attack me every night to satiate his lust. His hunger for a young feminine flesh drove him to pounce on me and rip my soul apart. Whenever I tried to increase my voice against his inhuman behavior, my cheeks felt hot due to thunderous claps. He used to beat me up with all his might. The acrid odor of alcohol that proliferated out of his body thwarted me from breathing properly. My head ached, my soul ached but I could not resist – I was a Girl!
With all the bruises and wrecked spirit, I used to wake up to a new dawn but with same grim reality. As the dusk approached and darkness took over the lead, I had to surrender my bare and pale body to the monster who wanted to feast him upon it. After four years of my ‘forced’ and terrible marriage, I gave birth to a girl. I, at least, got an opportunity to see this tiny naked world but that poor child was immediately strangulated to death. This incident devastated me. I used to dread his presence, thereafter. He didn’t feel any remorse for his monstrous deeds and continued with his attempts to get a boy out of me. To his disappointment, the doctor said that I won’t be able to conceive again owing to my fragile body. This made him even more horrible. His anger and despair took every ounce of me.
The alcohol consumed his wits and sense. The greed of money blinded him to sell his own wife to another set of wolves. My life was plunged into an even more dark cave. I begged him to leave me but my cries never pierced his ears. He left me to become a prey for other demons who thrust themselves upon me to derive pleasure and enjoy their birthright of humiliating a female figure and mutilate her body to satisfy their never-ending amorous desires.
The nights still terrify me. The trepidation lurks in my mind in anticipation of a potent danger.
This business of earning money by putting my naked body as a bait to the men continued for ten long painful years. The constant horror pestered me, my spirits were dampening and my body was losing its strength. One day, my resilience finally gave up. One night, I hit a man with a lethal weapon and ran. I escaped for my life.
Since then, there’s no looking back. The transformation of my life is thankful to the people who helped me earnestly and selflessly. This chicken-hearted lady stands successfully today in front of you as a pig-headed, valiant lady who had defied her hard circumstances to emerge victoriously. The fear of darkness still haunts me but then the morning arrives to prove me that each day is a new beginning. Each dark night is followed by an ebullient aurora. My present which is imbued with ecstasy is helping me to get over my dark past. My grief is profound; it will take the time to get rid of it. I know it is possible. I have mastered the art of Audacity. There was a time when I was meek and weak but today I stand firm on my beliefs. Thank you, everyone, who helped me to overcome indignation. ‘Open your arms to good because it is stretched till the far end.’
There I witnessed a brave heart stepping down the stage gracefully!