With every touch of his I died infinite deaths. It lasted 20 minutes but those 20 minutes had wounded my heart and soul so badly that I knew that these scars will forever get deeper and lethal but never cease to bleed. I was Akram’s and the concept of one love was engraved in my mind like a carving on a stone that being touched by another man; being the object of his pleasure seemed not wrong but all together hateful. Being a woman I knew I was weak, what’s the point in fighting all these people now when my sole weapon, my knight had abandoned me. He left me at the pity of these vultures and all those promises of “dying together”; “living together” meant nothing but shallow words. The man who is dressing in front of me will be replaced by another soon or maybe tomorrow night. They will come and go and I shall be the object of their pleasure. I was completely dead of feelings, like a vessel that possessed not emotions but only a beat.
“Don’t you have a wife?” I asked the man as he was now wearing his shoes “I do, I have 3 kids too.”
“Why would you come here if you have a wife?”
He laughed a mocking laugh! “Because I’m a man pyaari, and a man’s appetite can never be satisfied.”
“Do you not feel like this is lying? Cheating her love?”
“Pyaari, what she doesn’t know is neither a lie nor cheating, and as for coming here, well! I can pleasure myself on any woman I like with no strings attached. Money will get you pleasure, that’s what I have learnt and pleasure is a woman’s body, why stick to the same old hag when I can have kaali’s (flower buds) like you.”
“But this is a sin, don’t you fear Allah?” I said, almost about to shed tears.
“Pyaari, sin is not what Allah decides it to be in this world, it’s what people decide it to be and most importantly what powerful men decide it to be.”
And with that he grabbed his wallet from the dresser and left. I realized that it’s a man’s world after all; denouncing all the chains that prevented me from progressing when I was home now I finally came to face the reality that it is men who decide a woman’s fate, men who can build them up and break them down. I burst into tears on the bed and after a while staggered to the bathroom in the right corner of the room. I could hear the rickshaws from outside, women flirting with men that passed by, children crying, loud Bollywood music playing from dance performances being held in this kotha, customers negotiating for 20 minutes of pleasure. I looked at myself in the mirror. My hair a mess and my kajal now parched under the eyes and cheeks. The woman I saw in the mirror wasn’t me! Couldn’t be! The woman I saw before me was an insult to the 16 year old Dur-e -shahwar…playing in the fields with her sister, helping ama jaan in the kitchen, those under the tree gossips with friends, those little half-witted jokes with siblings. That was the Dur-e-shahwar I was not the one I saw before me who was betrayed by her lover, deceived in the name of love and happily ever after and now just an object of contentment for white collar men working 9 to 5 jobs, presenting a noble and upright image in the society and being morally virtuous when in reality they were men who cheated, lied, faked their every move and every word just so they can earn and spend it on earthly pleasure. Fearing God in front of people and denouncing him in heart.
The blood trickling down my legs was his lone possession in me and now it was deceased, and soon I shall depart too from here. I heard Jahaan ara talking to Akram “better let her bleed it out and die, we’ll soon bury her. No use of women who betray the trade in my kotha.” It’s painful when the life inside you is dying and soon you know your time is near. To escape from this hell I took two lives with me but proved worthless. “AAAAAAAGH!!” I let out a painful cry as I knew that my unborn was now dead, my only hope died and drained running out through me..
Woman was created from a Man’s rib, to be protected and sheltered but then I wondered what caused men to trade her, to use her, to manipulate her like that? To deceive her, cheat her. He told me he loved me then why the suffering? I spent my days locked in the room. Girls in the house used to come and call me; tried talking to me but the dead don’t talk now do they? They don’t communicate that’s why they are called dead and so was I. At night men came and went, from businessmen to bureaucrats to lawyers and blue collar men. I became the substance of their bliss. I became what I was today by a man, they made love, talked and even complimented me but I know that during the daylight hours if I encountered anyone of my 20 minute lover they will refuse to recognize me. If society is what made girls like us then why shun us down? Why is it a taboo and refuse to acknowledge it when it was them who made us in the first place? But these are the questions that can never be answered nor will they ever be….
“Whores like you deserve to die! Running away with that lover boy of yours now eh? Remember those who join the trade never escape until death. What was his name again? Speak! Speak you dirty hoe” as Akram kicked my face and I could feel blood trickling down my nose. “Fakhir” as I managed to utter breathlessly. Akram grabbed my face and spitted on it. “No man can help you escape; my lads and I took care of your majnu!” And then memories of Fakhir came storming like waves against rocks in my mind…
To be continued….