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The undying strength

December 20, 2007

One of my old friend insists that being a woman is easy- you get away with things easily and do not get into any “major” trouble or mess. I tell him, if he only had a chance to be a woman even for a week, he would know. he refuses to believe me.

I am aware that my friend speaks from a different perspective and he is one of those people who believes life is way easier for women who are educated, confident and smart. Little does he know, that being educated or smart or confident and each one of these together, does not spare a woman from being harrassed, abused- emotionally or physically.

I look back to the time I was thirteen- someone told me for the first time, that being a woman ain’t all that easy. I laughed and walked away. As though it was not applicable for me. As though life would be easy and smooth. Just for me.

 Almost nine years later, I agree. When I look around myself, it’s so painful to know that almost everyone one- everyone of my friends- some close, some distant and some who do not matter- have gone through some form of experience that has left a lasting scar deep within them. Sadly, I am no exception either.

And they say, this is the 21st century. They say women’s right has been upgraded and women, in general, have come a long way.

Then why is it, I ask, that everyday that a woman wakes up, she silently prays that she is safe for this day. That her “honour” and “respect” is not snatched away or crushed within the fist of a man? Why is it that everyday, that she walks on the street, she is greeted by hungry stares ? Everytime, she gets on a public bus- she is pushed, winked at and ofcourse touched.

Why is it that every evening that I walk back home, I pray under my breath silently, ‘God, make sure I return home safe.’ 

Everyday I see the same fear in countless women’s eyes. And, then there are those eyes, that are full of innocence- the ones who believe they won’tl ever have to pay a price of being a woman.   

I have come to accept all these facts, yet, it’s just so hard for me to accept that even after going through all this, women are blamed and almost all the time asked to remain silent. It’s a taboo to speak up about your experiences- afterall, it’s something that you had called on yourself or caused. However, devastating it maybe, the norm of silence continues.

Despite all these, it amazes me to see the kind of strength that these women have. And I sit here to write about women who remain in my memory…

My best friend was molested for years. After her father was caught having sex with their servant, her mother kicked her out. So, her mother let her pay the price. And every night, her father would come into her room and spend hours, while her mother would weep silently in her room and pray for forgiveness.

This continued for five years and abruptly ended. Ever since then, she has done everything to forget and forgive. She tells me, she is not strong anymore- she has been through to0 much- drugs, abortion, being used by several men and much more. Yet, everytime, i see her smile through her tears and each of those painful memories, I know she has no idea, exactly how strong she is.

*****

I started working with her three years ago. I loved the kind of passion she had in writing about strong women. I loved the fact that she was direct, confident and herself. Little did i know, like most of us, she wore a mask. She guarded herself and struggled almost every moment to show others exactly how strong she was. ‘I wouldn’t let that happen to me again…’ she whispered calmly to me. The look in her eyes told me immediately, what she was talking about. 

The confident, jumpy and bubbly woman had paid a huge price. And she continues to do so. 

Even after being raped several times- by the most trusted people around her and later being blamed for it for a lifetime, even after going into shrink, even after giving up almost everything in an attempt to justify herself to others and failing at the end– She has come out just fine. In fact, she has gone on to become one of those women you are proud to know- because of the way she smiles, because of the way she loves herself and stands up before everyone and lets herself be heard.

*****

I have not seen her in the past three years. But, I remember how she stood by my side when I needed it the most. I remember, how she would sit by my side for hours and listen to my silent wispers. When I would scream and throw my hands in the air, in a desperate attempt to erase the lingering pain, she would sit silently and stare at me blankly.

I never saw her cry. I never saw her shed a tear. Even when she failed to keep the two month baby inside her womb alive. She never spoke. She never howled. I knew, she blamed herself- for that moment of love and lust. He had left and even refused to speak about the baby. While everyone told her about abortion, she would run her fingers on her belly- as though trying to feel the life inside her, as though trying to hear the baby smile as sleep envelops him/her…

Before I knew it,the baby was gone. And soon afterwards, she was gone…   

But, I know, where ever she is, she will be just fine… her strength will ensure she is fine…

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