The wind howled eerily and the leaves of trees rustled vigorously outside. It sounded as though it was raining, but it wasn’t. The only window of the room lost against the strength of the wind as it crashed open, sending a jolt to the young boy who was sleeping on the hard, cold gravel flooring. Dust, sand and scraps of white paint from the ceiling above littered around him. He looked over to his younger sister who was shivering, hands cupped between her thighs. He pushed his woollen blanket towards her and tucked her in, then hugged her tightly thereafter, embracing in each other’s warmth for another fifteen minutes. “Thank you Fawad bhai,” his sister whispered in a mumble as she yawned back to sleep. The young boy slowly loosened his embrace and stood up to make his way to the window sill.
He told me he’d come home early and cook dinner for us. He was very excited just the night before. Humaira burst out into a laughing fit at dinner table, “You cannot cook bhai jaan!”
He smiled and replied, “I’ll show you tomorrow. I’ll be better than you!”
He made a list of ingredients right after dinner, which he forbade me from taking a look, let alone peek.
“No ahmi jaan! It’s a surprise!” He kept on saying as he hugged his notepad to his chest and tapped the pencil on his study table.
I continued to observe him.
Alright. I know a lot of what I have written carry the themes of forced marriages and honour killings. All those dark and terrible situations you would never had wished for yourself to be in. You may never know… more terrible stuff might just add on to the list. Let me just share with you why I write what I write.
After O levels, I read a book recommended by Rashvin (I share over 10 years of friendship with this woman. She’s more than a bestie.) The book was titled Shame authored by Jasvinder Sanghera, who now runs Karma Nirvana, a non-profit organisation supporting victims of forced marriages and honour based violence. In short, the writer ran away from a strict Sikh household that tied her into a forced marriage. She escaped and led her life by herself. It’s coupled with all the ups and downs of running away from home, being lonely, home-sick and even living on the edge.