Womanhood: A Sacrifice

Jun 20, 2017 by     No Comments    Posted under: Fiction

Sunday mornings are thought to be a blissful experience. In the hustle and bustle of the city life, Sundays provide a leverage to the working class to live a day like royalty. No waking up early, no 7 am breakfast and not even the morbidity of being stuck in traffic for 3 hours a day. Sunday is just Sunday.

It is 7 AM in the morning and Sara finds herself lost in the thoughts of serenity. Sara, now a mother of two lives her life as a widow. Her two daughters Aliya and Faryal, aged 11 and 7 live with their mother in a small apartment besides the famous Empress Market.

Away from the commotion, Sara sips her morning tea as she gazes out at the morning city life. Her eyes are fixed on to a newspaper that rustles with the wind. She seems lost in the thought of last night’s scenario, when her daughter Faryal had come running to inform her mother that Aliya is bleeding. Sara had rushed down the staircase to see a crowd gathered around a young girl lying in the middle, holding her stomach hard and agonizing in pain while blood trickling down from her lower torso. Sara breaking from the group of fascinated viewers had rushed towards her to see what was wrong with her daughter.

On seeing the sight of blood, Sara had quickly taken off her drape and wrapped Aliya in it. With the help of Faryal, she managed to take her upstairs and wash and change her clothing.  Tears drop into her tea-cup as she keeps her focus on the newspaper that has now blown towards a pillar and struggling hard to keep itself there. Her eyes gaze past the newspaper to rest on a cleaning vehicle washing away the painful story of last night.

Sara goes into another flashback. Later that night, Aliya came to her mother to inquire about why she was bleeding and Sara had smiled at her daughter to inform her, she’s now officially a woman. Her daughter who felt mortified by the thought of the by-standers staring at her in this condition had met her mother’s comforting hug.

Sara takes another deep sip of her tea. The cleaning vehicle had now moved towards the end of the street but Sara’s gaze remains fixed. Her mind wandered 21 years back to the time of her own marriage. A promising student of dentistry, Sara posed smiling with her parents on her graduation day. A guy smirks in her direction. As their gaze meet, Sara shakes it off and started a conversation with her father about her future plans. At this point, the guy gets some courage to walk up to Sara’s parents and introduce himself as Dr. Adil. Her parents meet Sara’s class fellow meanwhile she stands blushing behind them. Dr. Adil requests Sara’s father to talk in private on which he gets a little uncomfortable. As they move to a corner, Adil without thinking professes his love for Sara. He goes on to discuss details of his friendly relationship with Sara and how they have been dating for almost two years now. Sara’s dad gets furious and walks off from the graduation ceremony taking his wife and daughter with him. The next day, Sara wakes up to the news that his father has been talking to one of his subordinate, Rehman to fix Sara’s marriage.

Rehman has been working for Sara’s father in a professional capacity for the last 10 years and had gained his trust over the time. Sara’s father having known Rehman for almost a decade considered him to be an ideal match for his daughter. Sara felt dejected but having grown in a society that subjugates women, she submitted herself to her parent’s will. Sara got married at the age of 24 when Rehman was 36 years old, a common custom in her society.

The marriage kicked off and Sara found Rehman to be an occupied individual. In his struggle to reach the top, Rehman spent extra hours at his job without any consideration to Sara. This motivated Sara to start pursuing her career further but Rehman was not appreciative of the idea. They had a long elaborate argument on this matter almost every day without reaching a common ground. Rehman’s schedule kept him occupied the entire day which meant that he rarely spent any time with his wife. Almost ten years went by and Sara found herself constrained by the attitude of her husband and eventually decided to take a leap of faith. She would spend her morning hours in a nearby clinic without informing her husband to keep herself busy. Days went by until Rehman returned early one day to find his house locked. Upon inquiring from the neighbors, Rehman got to know about Sara’s morning advents. He was displeased but considered himself responsible for her behavior. Later that night, Rehman talked his heart out to Sara like never before. He felt guilty for not taking care of his wife and apologized, they hugged and made love.

Sara closed her eyes to focus harder on her memories. She hears cheerful cries in the distance as her mother leaps with joy to hear about her pregnancy. Her father calls his friends up for a grand feast. Rehman embraces his wife and the camera-man takes a perfect shot. Six months later, Sara wakes Rehman up to inform him she can’t breathe. Rehman panics and rushes to open the windows as Sara starts getting unconscious. Fear grips Rehman as he picks his wife and brings her to the window to catch some air. Sara’s eye widen as she vomits outside the window to take a sigh of relief. It has passed for now. Rehman and Sara sit back on the bed, weary of their night routine.

Sara blinks and feels excruciating pain gripping her body as she announces loudly that her water broke. Sara’s parents and husband rush her to the nearest hospital. Sara’s cries are heard all over the hospital as she delivers her baby. The pain gets more severe as she suffers each contraction, until at last she delivers a beautiful baby girl named Aliya. Rehman who had been called in to assist, faints at the sight of the blood gushing out and is shifted to the First-Aid room.

The flashback ends and Sara finds herself back in the moment. The sun is up and the morning breeze has now been replaced by the warmth of the sun. Sara’s tea had cooled down but she seems uninterested by these changes. She gazes endlessly at the same spot as another memory flashes in her mind. Four years after Aliya’s birth, Sara makes her way to the same Maternity Room. Aliya yells behind the door as her mother screams from the cramping pain. Aliya’s movements are subdued by her grandparents who have come to see their daughter’s delivery. The family was paying a last tribute to their beloved Rehman who had passed away last night in a tragic incident when Sara had collapsed on the ground unable to breathe. Her parents rushed her to the hospital from the funeral and were now waiting at the other end of the operation theatre praying for her daughter and her grand-daughter. In his last moments as Rehman succumbed to the after-life, he had proposed his other daughter to be named as Faryal.

Aliya comes forth and shakes her mother up to bring her back to the present. Sara smiles as she sees her daughter fretting about using sanitary napkins. Sara comforts her daughter and they spend the day having a mother-daughters session on womanhood.

Days turned into months and months turned into years and finally the day came that Sara was anxiously waiting for, Aliya’s wedding. Tears rolled down Sara’s cheeks as Aliya walks to her mother. Clad in a red lehenga, beautiful henna on her hands, she looked astonishing. She came to Sara and asked why she is crying. Sara couldn’t utter a word; it could be read from her eyes. The love for her daughter and the fear! Fear that she won’t be around to protect her daughter anymore and that she will have to sacrifice at every instance like her mother did earlier in her life. But she knows Aliya would learn. Every girl learns, eventually.

Just when Sara was thinking all this, a hand reached out to Aliya. She looked at him while he smiled back. Asif, Aliya’s husband, walks up to Sara and assures her not to worry about her daughter and that he would take good care of her. Sara blessed them and bid good-bye to a part of her heart while she hugs the other, Faryal.

It won’t be wrong to say that God has given much power to women. She sees everything, knows everything. She is expected to focus both on her career, and her household and family. Yet, she is strong enough to move mountains, give birth to a new life and keep moving forward regardless of the hurdles along her way.

More power to women!

The author of this article prefers to remain Anonymous.

The Author

We bring to you news and reviews from around Pakistan on fashion, food, music, movies, books, politics, celebrities and much more. Youth Correspondent is an online English weekly magazine of Pakistan.

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