‘Mubarak ho! Beti paida hui hai.’ Your mother holds you for the first time in her arms and you’re so tiny that you fit in perfectly. She looks at you, forgets the pain and kisses your forehead. ‘Meri pyaari beti. Welcome to the world.’ She says.
The nurse takes you away so that you meet your family. Your father is the second person to hold you. The words of the azaan echo in the room. You know he loves you because you’re his little princess. Then you meet the rest of your family. You look at your daddi and notice that she’s not so happy. Why? Because you’re a girl.
The first few years of your life are perfect. You start crawling but your mom has to be careful. There could be something on the floor that could hurt you. So she cleans the house for you. Every little thing that you can swallow is taken away. Sometimes you crawl under the bed and sometimes you crawl under the chair. Everything seems to fascinate you. Even the doll that you’ve chewed on a million times.
After a couple of months, you learn to walk. You get up, take a few steps and fall. Your mother who is busy making food in the kitchen suddenly notices you and runs to hold you in her arms. She tells your father that you’ve finally started walking. He wants to see.
So you hold his finger and walk with him like a little penguin. He’s happy.
‘ISS baar betay hona chaheye.’ You hear your daadi talk to your mother. ‘Larkiyan tou chali hi jaati hain, khandan kon agay bharhaye ga?
By the time you join school, you have a baby brother. It’s the first day of school and you’ve been told that mama couldnt come because she has to take care of bhai.
You cry so much that your eyes hurt. The teacher takes you to the class.
You’re 15 years old and hes 12 years old now.
‘Mama mujhay Fatima ki birthday pay jaana hai. Jaaon?’ You ask your mother.
‘Haan beta jaao.’
‘Nahein bilkul nahein, halat nahein dekhay tum nay? Kal tv pay tou news aa rahi thi kay 5 saal ki bachi ka rape hua hai. Balkay issay kaho chaddar pehn kay jaaya karay.’ Your daddi tells this to your mother.
You feel angry and tears of frustration fall down your cheeks. After 5 minutes, your brother tells your mother that he has to go out with his friends.
‘Haan mera beta, jao.’ Your daddi let’s him go.
You sit in your room with a book in your hand and you feel sorry for yourself. ‘Agar mein larka hoti toh..’
You hear raised noises from your parent’s bedroom. They are fighting. It goes on for hours and then its quiet. You hear your mother crying and your father leaves the house. But this doesnt end. Girls in your class are getting into relationships, you’re jealous and you want the perfect relationship too. So you start looking for it. You’re young. You’re immature. You don’t know what you’re doing but you want it. So you find a guy and you think he’s perfect when the truth is, he’s not. He tells you you’re beautiful and that he will never leave you. He wants to get physical with you. But you don’t think its right. He forces you. Threatens you. You’re scared because you love him. But after a few days, you find out that you weren’t the only girl. You were never the one. You will never be the one. He decides to leave and you get depressed. Soon, you begin to hear rumors about yourself. When you try to explain things, no one believes you. You get labelled while he is enjoying his life in a girl’s bed.
Your parents are away. You go in the kitchen. The cook is there and you’re hungry. You tell him to make food for you and suddenly, he pulls you close. He feels you up and you’re scared. You’re panicking. You push him away and run. You lock the room and cry. What happened? You don’t understand. So you cry but you don’t tell anybody.
You fail in your exams. You can’t pay attention in class. You don’t talk to anybody. But you get bullied. It changes your life. You don’t eat. There’s a sudden loss in weight and everyone begins to notice it. You’ve tried cutting yourself too but that never works. There are little scars on your left leg that might fade away with time.
Years go by and you get married. You’re pregnant now and you pray that it isn’t a baby girl.