By: Syeda Sadia
Her gleeful laughter echoed in the corridor, at last she had found the pen placed behind her ear which she was looking for here and there from last many minutes. Hearty laughter on little things was her routine; this was my first meeting with her and laughter had put about a tinge of rosy color over her cheeks and made her eyes shone; her face was a reflection of happiness, hope and a life full of aims and energy. Learning, writing and social work were her passion and faith, her hearty laughter was a mirror image of her fearless, independent and determined nature. She was cognizant of the strength of her words, so she dreamt of utilizing the power of her pen to end the darkness of ignorance and social injustice. The liveliest creature I had ever seen was she, always ready to explore the world to highlight and talk about the unjust social system, unfair economic system and self-centered society.
There were many people around for whom she was an apostle of change; for many dozens of girls she was a mentor, a guide helping them fight the domestic violence, a support to stand on their own feet. She succeeded in making many helpless girls self -reliant and brave enough to fight back the situation they have been suffering from. For many she was an idol of courage and to me she was a pleasant companion, a companion with whom I could sit in the sad moments because she was always a success in shattering my fears and insecurities, making me delightful again. Even in the darkest phases of her life I never saw her gloomy, her eyes were always shining with hope; she was used to saying ‘My energy to fight against the problem is greater than the problem itself, so problem should fear me.’ Her contemporaries and students loved her so much so that they called her their inspiration and no doubt she was. It was the time of hot summer when I met her for the last time, the scorching heat of sun had made the mankind restless, I was walking on the pavement when she walked past me and in no time I grabbed her hand, a charming smile spread over face and she went on telling me that she was covering the story of a girl child tortured and burnt by her employer woman. She was certain of her success in providing evidence against employer and getting her punished.
After that day I never saw her again, my work didn’t let me free to find out her and I contended myself by thinking she might has been settled down in another city; I always had a surety wherever she would be she was a success. Yesterday, after a couple of years, I found her in the market with a pale face, dull eyes devoid of all the confidence and energy which was the hallmark of her personality, it shook me, I approached her to ask where she was but on getting nearer I noticed she was hesitant in meeting me but somehow I managed to confront her. The only sentence she uttered to me was her cell number then she moved ahead. On calling her I found out that day she was with her husband who didn’t like her contact with anyone, she had abandoned all her tasks outside the premises of her home and she was not allowed to work anymore. Her husband had greater love for her so he didn’t want anyone to see her or talk to her rather to work with her. She was forced to live a life she never wanted to live and all was done in the name of her home making and love. She is provided with a good living standard but the shine of her eyes has been disappeared and the rosy cheeks have turned pale, the happy and energetic being that she was has died inside her. The love of her husband and home making has cost her happiness, freedom, determination and aims of her life; in material things she has a lot and in reality she has a frustrated brain, a grieved heart and sad eyes .I asked her, ‘don’t you think it as another kind of domestic violence?’ to which she replied ‘I am certain it is a violence slaying the person inside me, killing the objectives once I had and depriving me of all the activities once I loved but I lack strength and resources to fight back, I am helpless.’
Her words made me speechless, I couldn’t speak for some moments then I put down the phone. She was the inspiration of many, an idol of courage and determination if she was speaking these words then how worse the circumstances were could be imagined. Her situation terrified me; unlike majority of girls she was highly educated, talented and bold, above all her husband was a modern, highly educated man, if she could be the victim of such type of violence what should the others expect. It’s alarming, why society take marriage as a grave for the happiness of a girl, in which she is supposed to bury even the last pinch of her courage and aims to establish a relation with husband, does burying the happy life of a girl under the foundation of a new home is a prerequisite of the new life and new life cannot be run successfully with a happy faced woman. It’s a time of concern for our society which claims education changes the mindset; we need a drastic change in our education system to educate people on the equality of rights and obligations otherwise our women will keep on suffering the violence to which even the educated breed doesn’t consider as violence.
Story first published: 4th August 2017