Posts Tagged ‘family honour’


Another honor killing case is staring right at us and perhaps smiling sheepishly and saying that keep empowering as many women you want, they will be silenced one by one. Qandeel Baloch, the Pakistani social media star, was strangled to death by her own brother for “family honour”. The sad part of the story is when her brother, Waseem Azeem, was presented before media, he proudly confessed to be killing her because she was bringing shame to her family by posting her bold images on social media.

Certainly she was not “normal” as per her family. Basically, what is normalcy? How do you define normalcy? And is it necessary that your idea of normalcy should align with mine? We will keep debating and mourning about this issue for few weeks and eventually forget about it. Qandeel Baloch is not alone; there are many like her. I can’t do much to bring justice to her, but here is a tribute from a writer to countless girls like her who are beheaded every year on the name of normalcy.

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With her heart thudding in her ear, she unlocked her phone and stared at the screen. Finally! It was his message.

“Sorry Anjali I can’t do what you are asking me to do. I love you from the day I first saw you. I cannot regret all my life thinking that I let you go for such a stupid reason. Sorry.”

It is not stupid Parag. Anjali thought to herself. She dabbed tears from her eyes, picked her bag and got up to go out of the house.

Eating, laughing, talking, thinking, sleeping…….these things didn’t cross the mind of Anjali Ghosh nowadays. A software engineer by profession and a painter in spare time, Anjali had chiseled all her roles in life with care. Blatantly honest and following her passion with a raging fire would be the best words to describe her. However, of late she was completely overtaken by a sense of void; a void that knew no bounds; a void that was preventing her from becoming a wholesome person; a void that put a fire in her belly every day and night; a void which only Chaya could fulfill.

She took out her phone and opened her speed dial list. Chaya was the first name on it. Number dialed.

“I need to meet you right now….I don’t care …I don’t care if your husband would be coming back home for lunch. I just need to see you.?”

Whenever Anjali lost her temper in front of Chaya she knew deep within that the work would be done. The world knew they were inseparable, but their affection had many layers within, and opening that would have meant removing the lid from the Pandora box.

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Anjali’s phone beeped.

Meet me at Mani Square in half an hour. I have to leave early so don’t be late.

While sitting in cab clinching her handbag and phone, the visuals of Parag and his message sent in the morning started clouding her mind. Parag Paul was his elder brother’s ex-colleague who worked in Capegemini. With a salary package that screamed extravagance and two on-site visits to Houston and Dallas in the last 3 years, he was that one prospective matrimony website guy any parent would pounce on. No wonder he was the first choice for Anjali’s parents as well. Finally, they found the peace they longed for when Parag’s parents gave the nod to come to Ghosh house for an official meeting.

It was the typical boy’s family visiting the would-be daughter in law’s house. Parag was all dressed up in suit and his face exuding happiness that refused to hide. After the initial family-getting-to-know-each-other fixation, the girl and boy were left alone in the drawing-room for some time, while Anwesha’s parents took Parag’s parents to have a look around the house. Parag looked confused for couple of seconds and then seeing everyone disappear from the sight slowly whispered. “You know this is awkward. Leaving us alone and all. But, I would like to be upfront about it. We both are the so-called “gen X” people so let’s not say yes or no to each other right away. We need to meet more and talk more. Basically the courtship time we see in movies. This is what I feel. Tell me your views.”

Anjali felt a lump in her throat. She gulped a glass of water before answering. “Parag I don’t know why but I am not getting a good feeling about this. I mean you are good but it’s too early.”

Parag waved his hand dramatically. “Exactly. That is what I am saying. Let’s keep talking and meeting each other more. And hopefully we will come to a conclusion soon.”
Parag couldn’t come to a conclusion for the next 9 months or perhaps he didn’t want to face the situation that had a possibility of rebuff. Whenever he brought up the topic of togetherness, it was stashed with the latest-movie talks or anything else in the same lines. He couldn’t fathom why Anjali didn’t reciprocate beyond a caring friend.

Three days before, in a state of aggravation, Parag pestered her to reply with a final answer alongside a definite reasoning. Not all women are same but they all have one thing in common. They are all volcano material-who remain dormant for mostly all their lives until they are triggered by some inexplicable factor. That day Anjali escaped the drudgery of being patient.

“I am in love with a woman Parag. I have always been. Even before I understood the term gay or lesbian! I can’t think of anyone else. I cannot fathom how it feels making love to a man. It is not possible for me. Please say no to this marriage and make way for my peaceful existence.”

Anjali screeched at one breath. She seemed restless but also victorious because she was able to uphold her individuality in front of another person. Parag, on the other hand, stood lifeless wondering the malice that life just hurled at him. The girl he was in love with for past few months just now rejected him for another GIRL. For him, getting rejected was not that a big matter as being rejected for a GIRL. His man ego suffered a huge dent.

Is she crazy? Such a hot woman pining for another woman? What different have they got to offer each other!! It is STUPID. Just STUPID.

Parag was bursting out of the rim of rationality. He shook himself out of the stupor and said, “Thanks for being honest. I will think and let you know.” And with that he left hurriedly as if standing there for another minute would rip him off his manhood.
For three days there was absolutely no communication between them. It was akin to the kind of silence that prevails before a tempest. Finally, he mustered courage to declare what he did this morning—that he will not let a girl defeat him.

Anjali was feeling emotionally disintegrated after his message. She was blinded by the passionate love she had for Chaya. They didn’t care about the future except for the fact that they wanted it to continue as long as they can. They took admission in the same college, searched job in the company and stayed in the same city—everything together. However, with female child there is one basic hurdle. They grow up to marriageable age very fast. 23 is not the age for guys to marry, but for a girl she needs to get married as soon as possible in order to attain ‘moksha’. A year before the Parag episode Chaya was blackmailed into marriage stating her father’s frail health. Something inside Anjali died since that day. The thought of someone else looking at her love as an object of lust was unbearable. Albeit few intimate meetings continued between them, it lacked the sense of belonging. This was because now Anjali was the ‘other’ person between Chaya and her husband. Many sleepless months followed during which she crossed path with Parag at a party and the rest, as they say, is history.

Today, once again there was a society to answer and then there was an inquisitive soul to answer. Both of them demanded to be satiated. Amidst all the puzzling thoughts she reached her destination- Mani Square. Chaya was already waiting for her.

“I am all fucked up Chaya. Despite telling about us he still wants to get married to me. I am losing my mind.”

Chaya was quiet. For the first time Anjali was seeing the lowest level of solidarity from Chaya’s end. Finally she asked, “What happened?”

“I am pregnant….. I am pregnant Anjali.” There was stillness in Chaya’s eyes.

Anjali didn’t know how to react. Whether to be happy for her partner’s fertility or to howl for the symbol that screamed Chaya and her husband’s intimate moments, which usually she tries not to think of! She was in a fix.

“Ohh…so what have you thought?” Anjali asked stoically.

“I never wanted this but now since a life has inhabited my body I don’t want to ruin it. Anjali we need to move ahead in life because no one will understand us. At the end, what we are doing is not normal. Let’s get back to normalcy.” Chaya was choking and dabbing her tears as she said this.

Anjali’s emotions automatically found a vent through her moist eyes. “Tell me the reason that you want to have a baby. Tell me the reason that you like your husband. Tell me the reason that you do not have the guts to fight the society. But don’t give me the reason that we feel is not normal. Loving someone, getting lost in praying for someone, craving for someone, getting the urge to be loyal to that one person, wanting to touch someone…wanting to kiss someone….is not abnormal. It’s just not in sync with the society. It’s not something our families and society expect us from. I am fine with it. But never call it abnormal.” Anjali broke down completely and stood up to come out of that place which gave her a reality check. Somewhere deep inside she was confident that Chaya would stop her. This time she didn’t.

Anjali had seen a new facet of life today. Her love for Chaya had turned carnivorous, which was feeding on her flesh and soul. That evening she went to see Parag as he had requested a lot to meet one last time before taking any major decision. He had asked her to come at one of his friends vacant flat. The reason being—he wanted her to understand his decision better. Being broken from inside, today she didn’t mind sharing few drinks with him. After couple of drinks, he advanced his hands towards her waist. She protested. It didn’t help. He empowered her with strength and in few minutes he was inside her. He kept repeating the same lines as a lunatic, “You haven’t really experienced what a man can give you. I will give you that and then you will never go to a woman again. You just need some brainwashing. Abnormal thinking is what spoiling our culture. Ssshhhhh…..”

In the next ten days, Anjali said yes to Parag for marriage in front of both the families. Perhaps Parag actually succeeded in making her normal—in his own way. On the day of her marriage Anjali messaged Chaya.

You were right. We are not normal. Normalcy is forcing someone to get married. Normalcy is making someone pregnant without her wish. Normalcy is raping someone to marriage. Normalcy is this. I am getting married Chaya. Hope we never meet in this normal world again.

And then she broke down her sim card for good!

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