“Pari! Shame on you! You are still playing outside! I will finally complain to your father tonight, you are such an idiot girl. Why don’t you understand that you are a girl and girls don’t play outside the house, its very shameful to a girl to play with boys outside the house!”
This was my only mother who had become so tired of my boyish behavior and playing with other boys of my age outside the house. According to my mom, I never looked and behaved like a girl since I was two years old. Therefore, you could only see cars, guns and spider man statues in our house, all brought by my father who had a very different mentality about girls from my mom. He thought that girls should be confident enough to face all the ugly faces of life.
Since childhood I had the craze to be a pilot and fly high in the sky. But I could see gulps of fear in her eyes and I started to feel that fear while playing with a neighbor’s son, Atif. That fine afternoon I was playing “catch me if you can” around our silent neighborhood that suddenly I felt tied with the steel ropes of a man’s hands. That was Atif’s father who was trying hard to touch and cuddle me wildly, I felt uncomfortable and resisted. He seemed like a wild animal that just got its prey and is restless to tear it off into pieces. I finally got relieved from his trap when Atif got there after hearing my voice shouting for help. But then his father looked at me and said,” Thank God! My daughter! that I caught you. If you had fallen down this pitch; you would have harshly hurt yourself.” That was when I felt a very bitter hatred against that man or maybe at men. How mean can a human being be in hands of his wild inhumane desires?
I ran home without talking a word to Atif and looked for my mom; she was cleaning the dishes in the kitchen when I shouted! Mom where are you? I needed a shelter, a place where I could hide myself that no one look at me, the silent fear of that incident was growing inside me, although till today I never knew what did that old man wanted to do when he held me strongly in his arms? My mom gave me a warm and confident hug and looked at me worried. What happened to you dear? I was speechless but my mom knew what happened to me.
She knew that after that day I will never go out and play with our neighbor’s son, she felt the pain and fear that I had in my breath and eyes.
This incident happened to me when I was around 10 year’s old girl, who never thought that I am a girl and should stay home because that way I can keep my honor and dignity. This means I should sacrifice myself because of the society’s devils who are then the gate keepers of honor and dignity. That single incident massacred my courage until today that I am 40 years old. But I never got the answer to my question that why I have to change myself because there are thousands of devil’s like Atif’s father around.
Is it because I am seen to be weak? Is it because I can not fight back the way a man can? If I am that weak then why am I sent to be compared with a stronger one? Can a weaker half be an equal to another half? Let’s compare nature around us, we have the moon lightening around the night and we have the sun warming the whole day. Can we say the moon is better than the sun because it lightens our dark nights? Or can we say sun is better because we would have frozen and paralyzed if there wasn’t a sun? None of them can replace another and both of them have their own errands assigned. They are signs of diversity without being superior to one another. That same theory applies to men and women, they are different but none is superior or inferior because they are not the same.
Getting back to that incident that changed my personality and my worldview about life, it made me one of the typical Asian women, got married to my parent’s choice and behaved like an upright wife for more than 15 years now. But I wish that if my mom had given me the courage to face the devil and the world with confidence, I may have not been another weaker woman of this era. The lesson that I learnt during the past thirty years of my life was that why should I devote my being and identity because society can not control their evil intentions. I shared this incident with my daughter when she was 8 and as of then have taught her to fight back and stand against brutalities that happen to a girl and changes her motions and ambitions in life, without hiding herself from the society and devoting her self being. As a 40 year old mother, I want to tell all mothers that lets not our daughters be another set of weak women.