I turned 18 on 22nd July, 2013. I’m not sure if I was particularly happy about getting hitched, to him, two days later, I wasn’t sad either. We got married on 24th. Aarif weds Nazma. My parents were happy though. Dr. Aarif was 32 then. There was a huge age difference, but we aren’t permitted rebel or even question in our families. You cannot be sure in rebelling, someone might release a fatwa or worse, someone may accept and follow it. I agreed eventually but the fact was, my opinion did not matter. Our families decided for us, though Aarif’s consent was taken at each step, mine wasn’t needed. He was a nice man though. Was he?
We went on like an ordinary couple. He was caring though dominating. He loved, though sometimes violent. He loved running fingers over my healed scars and stitches, which he imparted himself. We lived like lovebirds of heaven in bed and a slave and hard task tyrant at other times. He was good in bed; the age experience reflected in his every movement, every touch, timings. I wonder how Hitler performed in bed or Osama.
We lived in Lucknow in a not-so-posh area a doctor is expected to live in. We lived at one side and on the other side of the road lived his two years senior brother Aalim bhaijan with his wife. His house was angled so that only an inch of the roof showed from our house. There was a courtyard in the house where we had two mango trees. I liked spending time there in the later part of my marriage.
My life faced its first setback in form of communal riots in Muzaffarnagar district, which consumed numerous lives including my parents and my younger brother, my only family, who were charred to death in their own houses on the night of 9th Sept., 2013. They were my only family, my father was an orphan and mother had eloped with him so neither she nor any of us was accepted there. I was broken, Aarif figured out a rather poor way to handle it. He decided to gift me a child, an added responsibility at just eighteen. I did not refute though, I feared it might come to him as defying him. A month before our first wedding anniversary, Naziah was born. I marked the date as 29th June, 2014. As the marriage aged, things between us got worse. It did not take me a lot to realize that I had fallen into an abusive relationship. He would rape me at times and make love at others. He had started drinking and gambling. Meanwhile Aalim tried molesting me thrice. I tried telling Aarif once, but I got some new bruises and cuts in return. I, maybe, liked cajoling myself that he’ll realize his mistakes and improve his ways, like most of the women in an abusive relationship do. I guess this was only nurtured the monster in him. He would beat me up, humiliate me and name call me before his gamble cum drink mates, who would shamelessly laugh at the lady who served them with her hospitality.
July 2016, Aalim came to our home for anniversary celebrations. We did not celebrate it with friends, they were treated separately at night by Aarif, but family was allowed. I did not get the point of celebrating anniversary in a sinking relationship. There was no point hugging me and showing fake love to me when he just did gift me smashing blows a few hours back. Aalim was continuously staring at me.
He said I wore a nice sari. Naziah was two by now and I had started feeling suffocated in this house with Aarif and frequenting Aalim.
The next day Aalim sent me a few pictures on whatsapp. I had anticipated perversion, but it was something serious, worse, my naked pictures. I felt like throwing up, I had no idea when he clicked them, they looked recently clicked. Aarif was home, but there was no point telling him so I decided handling it on my own. A few minutes later a message popped up.
Aalim BhaiJaan: Come home, or things go viral!! Waiting! ❤
I was completely damned and directionless. I had no option but to give up on his demand. I made up an excuse that Aalim’s wife who was pregnant wasn’t feeling easy, and left home.
I knocked at his door; he opened it immediately and pulled me inside, leaving the door unshut. He pushed me on his bed and before I could understand what was on, he was all over me. I resisted, I cried.
Clearly his wife wasn’t home. I kicked his gut, his balls, but he was drunk and determined. He was inside my clothes soon, bruising me all over.
Knock! Knock! Someone knocked at the door and before any of us could understand Aarif was inside the room. I was in tattered blouse, bleeding, crying. He looked at me, then Aalim. He gestured me to leave. I followed.
I went home, it was raining outside. The drops soothed my burning injuries. I went straight home to my room, Naziah was sleeping. Cried, composed and then took a bath. I took a cigarette from a pack kept on the bed and drew long soothing drags. I smiled at my evil fate doomed to mortality. Aarif was taking long. I peered out from the balcony, he wasn’t in the streets. I had no idea how I would be facing him, worse, how would he be treating me now. I was worried, though my fear had now started vaporizing. It had been forty five minutes he hadn’t returned and I had smoked four cigarettes. It was getting late enough to be worried. I once again stepped into the balcony and looked down. Except for a drenched street dog that was lying down miserably near the gate, there was not a soul to be seen anywhere. Rain water had puddled under the lamp post. A breeze ruffled the mango tree in the courtyard and a few twigs fell down and broke. Thunder rumbled in the distance. Did I hear a soft knock at the door? I turned back, he was there, drunk and bruised like a beggar.
“Bitch!” He said.
“He blackmailed me, I once told you.” I tried clarifying showing him the pictures, on my phone, which Aalim had sent me. He smirked. Though I was fearless, I was trembling. His smirk looked evil.
“So natural! Did you pose for him?” He yelled at his highest possible tone. He slapped me, I fell and broke into tears.
“Talaq, talaq, talaq!” His words did not come to me as surprise yet they echoed in me numerously till I determined myself to be strong. It was so easy to end up everything, pronounce same simpletongue friendly word thrice. There was, anyways, no point staying in this abusive relationship anymore.
“And whose filth is this?” He pointed at Naziah, who had woken up and was crying.
I said nothing. I packed up and left with Naziah. There was nothing major to pack, jewellery and a lot of my money was burnt in his gambles. I reached the railway station and sat there for six hours before deciding to leave, though the destination was not fixed yet. I called up a few old school friends and none of them got ready to shelter me. I had nowhere to go. I tried Kaira, a best friend and once a staunch boyfriend rival. We had split up our team of two after she was successful in getting the boy. I was later informed that they did not last long and broke up. He had cheated on her. She was the least likely person to help, because the split was dirty, but I had to try anyways. I called her and surprisingly, she was really happy talking to me. She lived in Allahabad, all alone. She instantly got ready to accommodate me for as long as I wanted. It’s truly said that, hard times decide who real friend to you is.
I was twenty one and I felt like I was old and squeezed. I had no energy left in me. I had given up on my life. Kaira was a true friend, she convinced me to start over again, for Naziah if not myself. I started a job hunt and I got one after two weeks since my arrival in Allahabad, my money was almost used up by then. It was a private primary school and they needed a receptionist. I, for the first time, regretted having quit the studies from twelfth after the wedding. I did not get a sustainable work. I thought I could tutor some kids but aware and awake parents wanted at least a graduate tutor for their wards. I took up the job of receptionist for Rs. 2,850 and a first standard kid tutoring for Rs. 600 a month. This amount was not enough for me to get a single room on rent for living in the city. I gave two third of my total income for the daily expenses to Kaira. Initially she rejected but my insistence worked.
She was being good to me, but I did not want to come across her as a liability. She helped a lot in managing Kaira and work together. She loved Naziah and Naziah was very nicely familiarized to her.
I worked hard thinking of getting myself accommodated somewhere soon and pull away the liabilities from poor Kaira, but it did not yield much. The income did not rise. I would cry through nights and fight the world for subsistence in the day. Once or twice it happened that my colleagues at the school passed me their phone numbers for friendship and all, one of them, an English teacher, was a clinger; he passed me a second chit when I did not reply. It had a heart made on it in ink and his phone number; it said ‘Share, your love then my wallet.’ I was disgusted, though I did not say anything in return, I feared losing my job. I’m sure most of the lady workers face this prejudiced eve teasing and sexual harassment at work.
Seven months passed and it was the end of February when dengue afflicted little Naziah changed everything. She was hospitalized and I had spent all my savings on her. Kaira too had nothing as it was month’s end. I was blinded and broken with desperation; I called my first client then, the English teacher. He was willing to pay me 2,000, after some negotiation it was fixed at 2,700 bucks. I felt terrible having made that conversation. I needed the money, and it seemed the easiest and quickest way. I was losing my ethics, but I had no one to save it for. I went to his place; he lived alone in a rented flat. I sold myself. Naziah was getting better but I needed more money. A few new teachers and some friends of the English teacher tried contacting me. I made a lot of pain, a lot of filth and a lot of money in three days.
Naziah was discharged from the hospital. I had money, so I rented myself a room in a rather cheap locality. I felt that Kaira smelled something fishy, she enquired and I said that it was my saving and that I sold my ornaments.
My newly, highly paying job lasted for three months. I exposed myself to different monstrous men with horrifying and painful fancies and desires. They crawled all over me with their dirty nails digging me. The job was hard though it had an added advantage that it never made me feel alone. One day I reached school to find that my colleagues looked at me in disgust, awe and lust. Some of them were discussing my prices. Someone had filmed me and it was circulated. I ran, tripped ran, tripped yet kept running. I ran like I always have been. I reached Kaira, she too had got the film. She asked me to leave and I did, taking Naziah along. My landlord called and said that I was a woman of smudged character and he was taking his room back. I pleaded to which he replied that I should be obliged that he wasn’t handing me over to the police. I was on the road, once again, alone with my daughter. I did not regret having done anything. I was sad though, sad to be born a girl, sad to have fallen prey to social prejudice imparted to most of the girls. I sat in a park for six hours cried and then composed myself and went up to a hotel and reserved myself a room. I had no strength to stand against all this. I wanted to run away from it all. I desperately wanted my horrors to quit chasing me; I did not go to the police or anyone. I never went to the law for any help, they harassed more than treating. I called Aalim; he said that he would be there in four hours.
I received him at the hotel entrance with a smile; it was around half past nine of the night. I hugged him and took him to my room. After Naziah was asleep, we drank and made love. He had tried reaching me so many times after I left Lucknow. He was sorry. He always had lecherous touch in his self acclaimed love for me. We did not speak a word. He slept happily and I smiled at him, pitying his arrival.
I got up, sliced myself an apple with a beautifully sharp heavy knife. I nibbled the slices for a while then; I stabbed his heart thrice, slit both of his wrists and his throat, the juggler. Poor Aalim! I laughed. I guess I needed a psychiatrist. He groaned for a few minute before he died. I wish he had not touched me without my consent, that day.
I got up, cleaned myself, took a bath and threw on my best clothes. Taking Naziah with me I locked the room from outside and went to the terrace. I listened to some of my favorite music. I cried, I recalled everything that has ever happened to me. I felt pathetic. But I did not pity myself. There are people more helpless than me too in the world. I took Naziah and leaped from the terrace of the seven leveled hotel building. A cry filled the atmosphere; a hollow empty weightlessness filled my gut, which was replaced by a macabre silence and nothingness.
Thanks for reading,