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They have absolutely no idea about what I am capable of. What my inner strengths are. I have immense power within myself. I might look weaker physically than the boys, but mentally and emotionally, I am way ahead of them.
11th October has been marked as the International Day of the Girl Child and on this day, I bring to you a heart wrenching story of a mother and daughter.
Trigger alert: This post contains descriptions of violence that could be disturbing for some readers.
“Yes, my dear. How are you today?”
“I am OK Mom. I have been calling you since such a long time. Can’t you hear your phone ringing?”
“Oh pumpkin, they don’t allow me to pick up your calls these days, you know! Today, I have somehow managed to escape, to talk to you secretly.”
“Anyway, I have called you to ask you the same questions again. I have been asking those to you, over and over, but it doesn’t seem like I am ever gonna get an answer from you”.
“I told you baby, didn’t I, that I couldn’t help it. It wasn’t my fault”.
“Yes Mom, but couldn’t you stop that? Couldn’t you prevent it from happening? Do you really think you are that incapable?”
“I don’t know sweetie. I really don’t know. But why don’t you tell me first, how is it there? They say it’s spectacular there and there’s such light that, you don’t even need the sun or the moon. Is it true that there’s this river, clear as crystal that flows through the middle of the city and on each side of the river, there are trees, loaded with fruits? Are the streets pure gold or like the transparent glass? They say that there is no trouble of hunger and thirst, and no one is ever unhappy. No one ever cries”.
“Mom, I don’t know about others; but I am not happy. I wanted to see you. I can only imagine your gorgeous face. I wish I could hug you. I wish you could touch me with your soft fingers. I remember how you were telling Mona Maasi that you would call me “Titli”, because you love butterflies, don’t you?”
“My dear, butterflies are God’s confetti that he showers on earth when he is happy. They are the heaven-sent kisses of angels. I am in love with butterflies, ever since I was a child. Your grandmother used to tell me that whenever you find yourself cocooned in seclusion and misery and cannot find your way out of the darkness, remember that this is like the place where caterpillars go to grow their wings… butterflies are like my childhood dreams, those dream-flowers which have broken loose from their stalks and escaped into the sunshine and air.”
“So, Mom, you mean I was your childhood dream?”
“Yes, pumpkin. I believed that just like the butterflies, with mysteries chronicled upon their wings, bring forth the grace and wonder of this world to our eyes, you, my jeweled treasure, would bring wonders to my life”.
“So why didn’t you let me live with you then?… Mom, I hear you sniffling. Are you crying?”
“Oh no, no no…I am not crying… Sweetie, please forgive your helpless mother. How I wish I could have protected you from those monsters. I wish I could have hidden you somewhere safe before that witch dipped your tiny head and drowned you into that tub filled with milk. But how could I, my dear, how could I? She had made me fall into a deep sleep after feeding me with some drugs.”
“Oh, Mom, I really got choked there. I couldn’t breathe, you know. All I was thinking was why did you not run away somewhere, leaving that hell behind, taking me along with you?”
“I know baby, I know. And now that I am ready to run away with you, they have locked me up in this dark room, you see. Idiots…they think I am schizophrenic and make me swallow those terrible pills every day. Today, I decided, enough is enough, and ran away before they pushed those huge, bitter tablets down my throat.”
“Haha. You are hilarious Mom. By the way, the walls of your room have turned so pretty with all the vibrant and colorful butterflies that you have drawn on them. You didn’t tell me where you got those crayons from? Oh wait…no…no …did you steal them? Oh my God, haha…”
“Shhh…Shhh…..don’t say it out loud haha…giggling”
“Why did they kill me, Mom? What was my mistake? What harm had I done to them?”
“Your mistake my sweetie was that you were born a girl. You couldn’t be the heir of the family. They would have had to save loads of money for your dowry, to get you married. And eventually, you would have taken your husband’s family name instead of your father’s! You could not be the male heir who could perform the funeral rites of lighting the pyre and do the rituals during other ceremonies. Who would run and carry forward your father’s business when he grows old? Can’t you see that it’s a men’s world out there?”
“What a pity Mom! That’s it? How ridiculous, isn’t it? They have absolutely no idea about what I am capable of. What my inner strengths are. I have immense power within myself. I might look weaker physically, in comparison to the boys, but mentally and emotionally, I am way ahead of them.”
“Oh, yeah! Tell me about it, haha. I could feel your power and strength… even from your small kicks, when you were the little butterfly in my stomach! But, you know, just like a butterfly sits beside us like a ray of sunshine, and for a moment, its splendor and exquisiteness belong to our world and then it flies again, you just fluttered for a while by my side and then left me. And even though I regret that I couldn’t make you stay, I feel fortunate that I could see you, at least for some time.”
“Mom isn’t it an interesting co-incidence that butterflies too live for only a few weeks, just like me!”
“Oh, yes, that’s right!”
“Mom, you say that you love me. Don’t you?”
“Without a doubt, my dear! Is that even a question to ask?”
“Then, Mom, can I ask you a favour?”
“Sure, my baby. Anything for you!”
“Then before you hang up, promise me, that you won’t pick up my call again, ever! Mom, I want you to set me free, and free yourself as well. You know, the butterflies are free too!”
Author’s note: Since 2012, 11 October has been marked as the International Day of the Girl Child by the United Nations. The day aims to highlight and address the needs and challenges girls face, while promoting girls’ empowerment and the fulfillment of their human rights.
2018 has a theme called With Her: A Skilled GirlForce
In India, ironically, female child killings seem to be showing a rising graph in cities. Better socio-economic or educational levels, far from improving child sex ratio (CSR) balances, seem to be actually reducing them! The urban skew towards female foeticide and infanticide is simply a manifestation of the well-known cultural and social preference for boys anywhere, as well as inequitable access to resources and healthcare. With rising affluence and more rigid cultural rules, the preference for sons only grows stronger. This story is dedicated to all the girls and their mothers who struggle for basic survival.
Image source: FreeWallpapers
A full time professional based in Toronto, Canada. Takes keen interest in women issues. Bibliophile,
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