The day was etched in her mind with a carving made on stone. It was like her dose of daily reverie, her day being reaching completion and finalization only with the thoughts of all those versions and stories about how her existence is a miracle or what some loved to call “just another fairytale twist”. The murmurings and whispers had filled her ears to such an extent that she never really stopped to wonder about her own version. It was immaterial and insignificant what she chose to believe. The last thing that the people would be concerned about was her pick and what she felt was the truth. One could say, that she never got a chance to choose a side, a friend and a foe. Well, friends, family, relatives or strangers it all meant the same to her. It was all gossip, idle talk, the latest talk of the town that those people chose to while away their time with. Nevertheless, they spoke of the story and they spoke of her as they would speak of a personal chore. It wasn’t mentioned in passing. It was emphasized upon and debated on till the point that their ideas and their notions and their editions were drilled into her head and she felt like she owned them and they had come from within and not some external source of derogatory exertion. An opinion. A word so simple, yet so complex. To have an opinion is what she wished for; for the freedom to form an opinion and an outlook of her own; for the liberty to not inculcate an enforced viewpoint. What she wished for, were things they didn’t even know they had and it drove her half insane every time she thought of their ingratitude for the independence and autonomy they never ever stopped to take note of. Just like it never hit their consciousness that such impositions only served to weigh her down, tear part her spirits and suffocate her.
The start of the fairytale was simple. Her mother was a respectable woman, married and settled in an honorable family. Her husband was a civilized man, having extracted a fair share of dowry and maintaining his wife’s place as the “natural subordinate position” in the family, as cultured and cultivated as him. But they say that her mother wasn’t a very well-mannered woman. After all, there were fights brimming in their conjugal bond. Which virtuous woman would get involved in fights with her superior husband? A discourteous family for sure, which did not teach its daughter enough to not forget the higher demeanor of the male sex. What else was the powerless society to do, except spit on the wife and put the husband on a pedestal? But oh, she was a lucky one. Before nature and God could turn their wrath on her, it turned out that she had been blessed and enriched with the fortunate opportunity of being a mother. Circumstances took a spin and she was the centre of attention for every one for a while. The routine exasperation and the quarrels took a break and there was calm and tranquility for a change. But the natural order of things couldn’t stay disrupted for very long. Sixteen weeks down the lines, her husband took her to the hospital for another one of her regular check-ups. An ordinary day turned into an extraordinary one as the doctor determined and exclaimed the sex of the baby with a shrill in her voice and a jump from her seat, startled and horrified by what she was about to say next.
“It is but a SHE!”
The she was mentioned with such malice as though it wasn’t a life she was talking about. But there was no time to ponder on that. Her husband was numb for five minutes before the news finally came down to his level of comprehension. As his face turned white and expressionless, she let him let go of her hand. May be he needed space. She remembered his wish for a son. She could not however, recall any mention of disregard for or a wish to NOT father a girl. She should just give him some space, the mother concluded. As she stepped down the hospital bed and walked out, her mind wouldn’t stop racing. She continuously wracked her brains for a better explanation, a more reasonable justification conveniently avoiding the obvious. Her thoughts didn’t get time to go too far though. As she stepped onto the streets, she noticed a crowd hovering over something, screaming shouts for help. She walked on to the spot to see what was happening and her steps faltered as she passed a trail of blood. Her heart hammered inside, her vision became blurred with what her eyes saw. She blinked hard and after a long pause, opened her eyes again, only to witness the same scene. Her husband lay there, immovable and still, as though cursed by the Gods to stay motionless and static. The rest of the memory was just scattered like a distorted puzzle. Ambulance, hospital, doctor, OT, critical condition. What she remembered the best was the word “Sorry”. She never seemed to get enough of it. It started with the doctor, as every passer-by would come, hold her hands and murmur the same five letters, sounding more and more mechanized with every passing silhouette. It was a speeding truck, he was lost in thoughts and neither one were in their senses. But the truck driver was still alive. How was this fair?
But they say that this gave her mother more strength than anything could have. As rumour spread of a pregnant widow with a girl to give birth to, pressure built for her to abort her baby. However, her mother stood undeterred like a wall, as she took an oath to fulfill her husband’s wishes and bring up their only daughter like a boy. He would only look down at a son from above and he would smile. She bought Gi-Joes for her toys, blue pants and shirts for her clothes and adorned her daughter with caps and shoes. The little girl of five didn’t know what it meant to be a girl.
So today the little girl of five sits there, wondering. Wondering about how her mother tackled it. Wondering about why she is surrounded by memories of the day her father passed away when she hadn’t even seen it. She wondered why her mother wouldn’t let her breathe without remembering that it was all her persistence and her will-power that brought her where she was today. She failed to understand how the fact that her father was dead and her mother reared her on her own, was her fault. She failed to understand why she wasn’t allowed to forget to thank her mother every day for bringing her up like a boy. It surpassed her registration why she had to express such gratitude to her mother for killing the girl in her and for leaving no traces of feminism to be groomed. She could never make sense out of the versions she heard about who she should be more thankful of, God or her mother. It was a fairytale twist according to the, wasn’t it? Then is she too naïve to ask for an escape out of HER fairytale? She wanted out. Before another twist could consume her power of thinking, she prayed for a getaway.
This wasn’t a fairytale, it was a horror and she was scared …