Standing at the bus stop I saw a little boy tugging at his mom’s dress and pointing his finger towards me, what he said then was beyond me as the wind and the distance made his voice travel faster than what my ears could pick. But what it could not take away was the question on his face and the fear in his eyes, as they walked to the bus stop, his mom holding both his hands and whisper yelling at him “to behave”. In spite of my odds I smiled at him, only to have his back turned to me as he hugged his mother’s legs. The lady being her mother gave me an apologetic smile for his son’s rudeness, which I accepted with a nod as if to say “it is okay, it happens to me everyday”.
It was just like another bright morning as I left home for office, kissing my mom on the forehead as I kept the lunch box she gave me in my bag. All the traces of sadness from yesterday vanished, headed to a new start. Though the house was still decorated in garlands and lights, we had moved on to not notice the dead flowers and their stench. Just like today, I was waiting for my bus to arrive on that day too. But instead two men veiled in black cloth seated on a motorbike sped by me but not before hurling the liquid from a flask on my face. Everything after that happened in slow motion, as the liquid hit the skin on my face and the agony started, I screamed in pain. It felt as if my face was set on fire, and each drop then did more than just burning holes into my flesh, it scarred my life. And then everything was just a blur, people rushing to me, and yelling to call the ambulance and the cops. Then it was darkness, plain darkness spread as far as I could see.
A loud honking jerked me out of my thoughts, a huge object dressed in red halted in front of me, a ‘BEST’ bus. I boarded the bus and went on to sit on the seat just behind the driver’s; I pulled my scarf tighter around my face so that my face does not hurt people’s eyes. How vividly I recall the events of the day that changed my life forever. When I glance out of the window I see what people call ‘routine’ only if I could use that word to describe my day’s activities. As the people moved around me so did their lives, it was I who was stuck on the same page ever since a year. Even six operations did not give me the confidence to face the mirror. How the culprits are out there enjoying their lives without as much as a thought. Sometimes I feel I shouldn’t have dumped him, living with him would be not half bad than to die every day little by little. But how could I marry the man who demanded a handsome amount even after his needs were taken care of? He claimed to love me but I saw nothing except greed pooling in those eyes. I could not let my mother sell her happiness for mine. So I walked out, refused to marry him. “You will regret this”, he had said. Oh if I knew how my voice against injustice will bring misery to me and my family.
When the sun shines bright the hope breathes its last, solace I find in the darkness of night for no one can see the scar that scared life away from me. I still breathe for that keep’s someone’s heart beating but breathing was never before a task so difficult. New ways are presented to me every day and just a little act on my part will end this forever but how my hands shiver and blood runs cold visualizing my mother crying on my grave. So I have to go on, not for the world but for her. I will work and bring back what was dead already and someday in the darkness I will find the strength to face the light and the scars of the past will leave no trace on my life. Because they said giving up was easy but trying needed courage to get up every time you fall.
If I give up today I will see no tomorrow and if I live today there might be a chance that I see a better tomorrow. I will let no man ruin me for they need to know if I have a voice, I have the strength too. As I get down from the bus, I stare at board that reads the name of the FM studio I work for. What an irony it is, no one can see the owner of the voice behind those glass walls. Once inside the cube I let the scarf loose, spread my arms and breathe the familiar smell of freedom, someday I might be able to do just that in public too, without hurting their eyes too much!