A bloody system
- I had no energy left to argue. I had lost all hope and was completely broken. I knew that I could not stop him from doing this to me
Sep 23, 2018-
The mosquitoes have been buzzing all night. I tried swatting them away with my hands but they have been continuously buzzing for so long that now my hands are too tired to resist their relentless onslaught. I try to sleep but the itch on my leg and the constant pain in my lower stomach is sucking the life out of me. Period cramps are the worst thing to happen to a woman. Imagine the pain you might feel if a truck drove over you or if a 106 knives stabbed your stomach all at once. Trust me when I say, that those things are probably less painful than period cramps. I wish I were exaggerating but I’m not—I know this is subjective, but to some, the pain can really be unbearable.
“Eh Maili ko buba, sunnus na!” This is probably the eighth time that I have called out to my husband only to be ignored by him. I wanted to tell him how I have been burning up all night and how these mosquitoes are sucking not just my blood, but the life out of me. I wanted to tell him that I am lying on a puddle of my own blood. I wanted to tell him that this pain in my stomach will not go away unless I drink some hot water. I wanted to tell him that it is too dark in here and I miss my room and my bed and his warm embrace. I wanted to tell him how bad this cow shed stinks and just how difficult it is to sleep on the cold, hard ground. I had a lot to tell him but no, he did not care. Nobody cared.
I pried my eyes open and found myself shivering. My teeth were chattering from the cold. As I took a whiff of the pungent smell of my own blood, I wanted to cry. I had goosebumps all over my body and my tear stained cheeks made it evident that I had cried myself to sleep last night. My entire body was sore and I could barely move. I turned around slowly when my limp left hand fell upon something gooey and smelly. Crunching my face in disgust, I raised my hand and saw that there was cow dung on my hand. Sighing about the fact that I would now have to get used to this, I forced myself up and left the cow shed that had been my ‘bedroom’ for seven days.
“Maili ko buba, I summoned you all night, you never came.” I asked my husband as soon as I saw him lounging around in the room with a cup of warm tea in his hands. My anger and disappointment were etched on my face and I did not attempt to hide it. I wanted him to know how hurt I was and how disappointed I was in him for not defending me against his mother and this cruel custom. Despite being 33 he was still a boy in a sense, always hiding behind his mother and always taking her side. I used to work as a helper at a house in Kathmandu. They never made me sleep outdoors when I was menstruating which is why I never knew that women were meant to sleep in cow sheds at their most vulnerable hour—because they are impure, they say. When my mother married me off to a stranger in Acchham, a month back, he had promised to love and cherish me and had so lovingly said that he would always take care of me—I believed him because I wanted and needed to believe in someone and he broke my trust on the night he pushed me inside the cow shed and locked me there for seven days.
“Taile bolaudaima ma auna ko lagi, tero kukur ho ra? Or do you think I’m your servant?” I could see how livid Hari looked. He was angry at me when it should have been the other way around. I was so confused.
“Oh, now you’re mad at me? Do you even know what I had to go through in the last week? Do you know how painful and agonising it was? You slept on the bed, warm and comfortable. Did you, for a fraction of second,
think about me? You didn’t even have it in you to talk sense into your mother—to tell her that I could sleep in our room.”
I screamed and shouted and I could feel a river of tears flowing down my cheeks. I would wipe every other second but it just wouldn’t stop. I never knew that I would be punished so gruesomely for simply being a woman. I never knew that going through menstruation was such a sin.
I thought seeing me cry like that would spark some sympathy in Hari but he remained cold. There was not even a flicker of sympathy in his eyes. That stoic expression he had on his face and his nonchalant behaviour made my heart shatter. I never realised till that moment that I had married a stranger from whom I could expect nothing.
A month had passed and I started to be more anxious as the days flew by. My menstrual date was near and it made me so nervous, I felt as if my heart would fly out of my mouth. I did not want to spend seven horrid days in the cow shed again. Day by day, I was realising the pain and the struggles of women more and more. My hands were starting to shake and I was dreading the days to come.
My chain of thought was interrupted when Hari came barging into the room and started spewing all kinds of nonsense out of his mouth. “What are you thinking about? Tomorrow’s the day isn’t it? Fohori!”
Grimacing and with clear disgust he looked at me from head to toe and shuddered. “Bholi bihanai tero mukh nadekhai suru suru gaera goth ma baslaas. I don’t want to see your face tomorrow, understand?”
I had no energy left to argue. I had lost all hope and was completely broken. I knew that I could not stop him from doing this to me. I knew that my body could not survive for another seven days in the cow shed. I learned that no matter what one does or no matter what happens, people’s mindsets are near to impossible to change. I could feel a single drop of tear slide off my cheek as I realised that I was no longer going to be able to survive like this. I was going to die.
Published: 23-09-2018 09:01
- fiction park