A blog is like a message in a bottle set to float across oceans and boundaries, destined to be read by random people who don’t actually know who you are, they might not even know what you are talking about. They might have different believes, different cultures different lives but still they have this one singular similarity of being human. Humanity unites us in pain and joy, irrespective of our color, our creed, our tribes, our beliefs, we bleed when we are hurt, we cry when are sad, we laugh when we are happy. This similarity in our heartfelt emotions is enough to bring us close, close enough to see what I see, feel what I feel and maybe even pray for what I wish. So the story I am about to narrate needs no background, it is based on the true life events of a 17 Years old girl who dared to dream.
In a city known for its saints and spirituality a teenage girl filled with anxiety and pain gasped at the last share of her breath in this world. Paralyzed she stood staring at a bottle of cleaning acid with eyes filled in tears and the door shut forever. She could feel her broken heart beating harder than ever before. Sweat dripped down her forehead and her breath hastened with the anticipation of her next move. Her fragile body trembled as she rested her hands over the window on which her poison lay. This was the first time that she had felt so weak, incapable of moving, thinking, and reasoning. She had never been so weak before; in fact she had been strong, very strong until this moment that so bluntly faced her.
She had been a rebel since her childhood. The invisible chains of social, cultural and economic bindings to which girls her age were prisoners, never seemed strong enough for her. She had tried following her own mantra to happiness. She had believed in her herself and had followed her heart. When girls her age could not dare to break the stereotype, she had broken free. She had fallen in love. It was her first love; probably love at first sight. She had fallen in love with the game of cricket since the day she first saw it on live television. Such infatuation with this game was common in her part of the world, yet her being a girl made this obsession a source of worry for her lower middle class family. They never approved of her emotional attachment with a man’s sport in a man’s world and hoped that her affection would wear off as she grew old. On the contrary however, with age her love grew stronger and she grew bolder. Bold enough to dream of wearing the national colors. The world she lived in did not allow such dreams; good girls were not allowed to dream as they were willfully marshaled to follow a path carved by socio cultural needs guised under religion. She however disregarded the taunts of her kin, the ridicule of her neighbors, and the rants of the local mullah. She ignored the preying stares of men on her way to the cricket field. These men saw her as runaway animal from the zoo, a potential danger to their sacred code. To her it was all worth those hours playing cricket in a dusty ground, under scorching heat having nonexistent facilities. Soon she and people close to her knew for sure that it was more than an infatuation, it was her one true love. Her time in the ground was like the warm embrace of her beloved, an escape from her the lowly existence, from the bickering of her parents, from the mediocrity she suffered from in all other affairs of life. The game set her free, it gave her the wings, it made her brave. This bravery was to be tested again and again, as where this young girl came from; such love was deemed as forbidden love.
She had felt this crippling weakness for the first time when the powerful perverted men who controlled the game tried to exploit her pure love. They had asked her for favors in return of allowing her to chase her dream. These men were like vultures, which preyed on innocence, hopes and dreams. They had feasted on many others who had fallen before her. But she was no ordinary girl, she wasn’t lifeless, she fought back. She spoke out, and stripped naked the impostors of morality. She exposed the cancer that plagued her love, and the men who had put it to rot. She was brave, when people blamed her for what happened. She was brave when they accused her of immorality. She didn’t run away when others choose to be silent, she fought alone. All alone, as her parents repented the day she left home to follow her dream, all alone when members of her society proclaimed that this was the fate they had warned her about. The little girl fought on as the powerful men pressurized her to take her words back and to yield to their desire, as the society pinned her down as if punishing her for her revolt. She thought her love was pure, it was true, she had faith; she had hope and so she lived on. Unfortunately, in the world that she had lived in justice was a slave to the rich and powerful, it was almost impossible to find enough witnesses, sufficient evidences to punish the guilty if the guilty were powerful respected men. Instead, her disrespect of prevalent order yielded her punishment. She was decreed to stay away from her one true love, that gateway to happiness for the rest of her life. Perplexed, confused, she was battered at home and was laughed at outside, but she lived on. She thought she could bear this punishment for her beloved dreams; after all she had her moments of ecstasy. Not to say that she didn’t miss her free flight, she missed it like a caged bird but she found solace in thought of having flown once at least. She wondered often what she might have been had she carried own playing. Her inability to prove her innocence, her incapacity to expose those devilish men and her distance from her beloved game left deep holes inside her soul. She felt as if this world had pulled her down from her feet. She tried to cope up and she compromised, using the evolutionary traits that had helped her kind to survive for ages.
Taunts and abuses were a routine, everyone blamed her for what happened, at times she even found herself guilty for chasing her dreams. As days passed on, cleaning, washing and all other chores she had once left undone during her flight now were her only respite in the laboring days and nights. Yet the mere separation from her true love did not satiate the vengeance of the daemons she had enraged. After all, this young girl was rebellious; she represented a threat to their world, a world that they owned. They had vowed to teach this girl a lesson, a lesson so lasting in its effect that none other like her could ever dreams to get free. So they put to affect the final step in this elaborate trap they had set. It was a defamation suits worth an amount that neither the young girl nor her parents had even dreamed about. It took her a while before she realized what this defamation was all about. In the world she lived in legal processes for the poor and weak were a nightmare in itself, immaterial of the eventual result. They signified insult for respected families, unbearable expense for the poor and years of agony before the final verdict was reached. Her family could not afford another dark spot on their reputation. They hardly got by their daily needs; they could not afford to pay the huge amounts for legal aid. Worse of all the law suit represented an unending agony of reliving the dreams she had seen as nightmares again. This was the first moment that she felt as if all dreams, all hope every ounce of strength had been sucked out of her aching frame. The weight of enormous guilt crumbled her existence to a thousand shattered pieces.
As she stood staring at her demeaning end within a bottle of cleaning acid, she blamed no one but herself for the state she was in. She blamed herself for dreaming, she blamed herself for breaking the rules, she blamed herself for not consenting to the wills of perverted men, and she blamed herself for thinking that truth shall prevail. With trembling hands she reached for the bottle of acid. As she held her breath she wondered if all great love stories ended like this. Without another thought in her mind, using the last strands of courage in her body she gulped the poison down her throat. Almost in anticipation, she collapsed on the floor as a burning sensation seeped across her entire body.
Unfortunately her punishment did not end here, for some reason known only to the heavens above she did not die instantaneously. In fact she breathed, as she was taken to a government hospital. The medical staff at a busy trauma ward performed a careless stomach wash and asked her parents to take her back, as the patient was no one important. Later that night she made her last trip to the doctor’s where she was pronounced dead. Her parents never reported the incident as a suicide, they wanted nothing from the episode, they thought they had lost their daughter the day she started dreaming.
The details have been assumed you may call them fictitious as not much is known about this girl and what she thought. Yet the story is based on the Life and Death of Halima Rafiq a 17 Years old women cricketer who committed suicide on Sunday, 13 July 2014.