Nissa

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Other  |  House: Booksie Classic
This is a story reflecting reality, something which Still happens with women, something that is wrong.

I actually wrote it for a competition, and i thought maybe i should share it with people.

Submitted: July 12, 2011

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Submitted: July 12, 2011

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I looked up towards the advancing nurse, and then turned to my father’s expectant face as he rose up after seeing the nurse. “You have been blessed with a daughter” said the smiling nurse, and I heard my father murmur in disappointment “Blessed or Cursed?”

Was it such a curse to have two daughters and not a son? Were we taboos? Or Jinxed? Is it dismay for a family if it has two little girls? I always wondered, always wished to ask, but never dared to, because I know I wouldn’t be answered, and neither would the answer be pleasing.  My sister Lali, and I were born to a family not so, privileged.  It was a big thing to buy new clothes, which generally took place at Diwali or New Year. Everyone seemed to look down upon us, especially Lali and me, they did not like us, I think, except for my mother, who loved us and told us to just bear this, to not speak and not cry, just endure whatever we experienced and soon, the spirit of revolt which sometimes wanted to soar high and Question, died within ourselves. Died for good, I think.

 

My father was a worker, he worked as labour and did not obviously, earn that good. Neither did enough of income came home for us. We did not go to school, but my mother taught Lali and me how to read and write. She used to teach in the Local Pathshala until the people said its not good and made her quit her job, which brought us down to no income for ourselves and depend on father’s mercy.

 

One day, when I was teaching Lali how to read a nursery rhyme, a man came running with a worried expression. The next thing I remember is chaos; lot of chaos. Things blurred around us, whipping and slashing events of grief and sadness. I did not see my mother, even once, smile or say a word after father’s death, they did not tell us what happened, did not let us see him too, but I overheard mother talking to a neighbour, telling her that it was an “awful accident”. A day or two passed in this blurring stillness, unawareness and confusion, I just held Lali close when she asked me what had been happening around, why everyone was sad and did not tell us anything,

 

 

 

 

I shook and woke up with a start, to look around in the darkness for something, fidgeting my way, to be relieved to find my sleeping sister beside me. She was asleep and I was sweaty and shaking with the effect of the awful dream I jus had. Not a dream it was, just memories flooding back into my head as they did always. I saw gray sky, people around, standing still and heard my sister’s sobs. The dream was a recap, a recollection of my mind of the most shattering incident of my life. I saw my mother burning, alive, in the slashing fire, with my dead father. “Sati” they called it. I generally had this dream; it never washed off my mind. Even thought it has been 12 years. The feeling of endurance, enduring and seeing my mother Burn always stayed and never let me rest in peace, never made me convince myself or rather lie that everything is alright, further complicated and tangled me into questions. This discrimination, this unfair life, it’s a curse to be born a girl in this corner of the world, where clouds of blind belief and superstition always shadow sunlight of reasons and equality.

 

I sat in the corner of the room until dawn, and then a sudden bang at our door startled me. ‘Wake up, “Princesses!”’ shouted my aunt from outside with the taunt evident in her voice. We lived with her since Lali was 5 and I was 10, jus after my parents’ death. She gave us a roof to live under, and in turn we worked for her, indebted for the rest of our lives. I stood up and ran to open the door, as Lali woke up and stretched. Aunt came into the room and shouted, “You plan to sleep the whole day?! Go do your work! Get water from the well and start washing clothes right away!” She stormed out of the room and we carried on with our work. “This is so, unfair” murmured Lali as she went to get the water from the well, “Quiet” I spoke to her. That’s what we are supposed to be, quiet for our entire lives.

 

I remember hearing my Aunt talking to Uncle, “yes, and we can send her away, so that we don’t have to bear two of them, and this would break their unity, lately they have started arguing, those rats.” She referred to us, obviously, Lali and me. Soon her plan came into light and she made Lali marry someone from the other part of the city, she sent my sister away, whom I had promised to be with for all my life, I was her protector, I don’t know what would happen to her now. I did not hear from my sister after the day she went, all I got was few letters she wrote, she wrote them probably hiding from everyone to keep in touch with me, she told me her in-laws treated her bad, her husband lives somewhere else and did not even talk to her, all because we did not have any dowry to offer. She also wrote sometimes, asking me to take her away, wishing she could come and meet me, and I couldn’t get away from Aunt’s clutches, I even had to hide Lali’s letters from her or she would tell Lali’s in-laws about them.

 

After sometime, the letters stopped too, I thought maybe she stopped writing because she was busy, or her in-laws found out about them. An old friend of mine who lived near Lali’s home, told me that she often heard her screams from the house, and Lali hardly ever spoke to anyone, her face was always dull, I knew something was wrong, because Lali was a bubbly girl, with questions and firing answers always with her but yet, every night and every day, I wished for my little sister to be well. But one day, my intuitions went berserk; I had a feeling that my sister needed me and I just couldn’t stay here. I planned to sneak out and go to her, as I was going out, I hit the cupboard accidentally and few letters fell down from its top. They were in Lali’s handwriting, and I realized Aunt had been keeping them away from me. I read the most recent one and my fingers trembled with every word.

 

“Sister,

 

Its too much, I’m scared, at first I tried to answer back, I did say things when they cursed me, and all I got was beating and no answers for my questions. They call me a beggar, say I should have brought enough dowries, but is it all that a girl brings to a house? Is it all a family is concerned when they being a girl from her home. Do I not belong here? I get my answers to that everyday, they beat me and all I can say is ‘please please no’. I am shattered, this is been too much. They are threatening to burn me, because I did not bring anything with me. Please rescue me, I don’t wish to die, but sometimes I wonder, death would be rather pleasing than this torture. . .”

 

I couldn’t stand still as the words of my sister’s letter revolved around my head, I ran to rescue her, ran to save my sister, I would just go and take her away, we would see what would happen later. I just needed to save her now.

 

As I approached her in-law’s home, I came to know no one was there. The door was locked and I fidgeted with it and finally found a rock and broke open it and ran to the house. I coughed and could see nothing because the house was full of smoke, thick black smoke. I looked around for some sign of my sister, and right at that moment, I heard her hysterical scream. It came from a room inside, I ran, shouting her name, “Lali!” and heard her screams in replies. My heart thumped at a thousand beats every second, and it stopped when I saw the horrid sight of her figure engulfed in flames. She swirled in the whipping flames, her face lost in the flare and just her sharp cries filling the entire room. Unthinking, I ran to her, with every cell of my being, to save her, I couldn’t find anything in the room that would stop the fire, and my mind didn’t work enough. I just ran to her and embraced her, tried to stop the fire, tried to save her, hug her like I did when I saw my mother burning once. The mother in me, whom I felt in spurts for my little sister earlier, came out with a rage to outshine the fire licking my sister, but I was unaware when the fire caught my clothes. The heat went unnoticed in the burning need to save her, the burns did not bother me, and I couldn’t feel myself dissolving in the fire, all I wanted to do was take her out of it, out of the torture which we never deserved to bear. It’s all that I came to know in this bizarre life of spinning events full of unfair decisions we never got to take ourselves for our life. The last thing I remember, is feeling the rage, the panic, the passion and the sadness of realization that, I could do nothing. Nothing to save her, and lost myself into oblivion. 


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