(Translated by Sadia Rahman):
Dear girl, take my love. Maybe you are not born yet, may you be born, maybe you are on the verge of your life, maybe you are another personality of my own, let me tell you the story of your life. Let me tell you the story of your monotonous life.
Do you know? If you are born after five sons, you are called the light of the shrine. If you are born after five daughters and if you don’t die right after your birth or if they don’t kill you; then I am sure of the fact you are a burden. How to educate you, how to marry you off- the plan to get rid of you starts from the moment you are born.
This is what happens right after your birth. You grow up day by day. If you do not have fair skin, if you are light brown or dark, everyone looks down upon you. Even when you buy a dress, everyone will suggest a certain color of the dress so that you don’t look darker.
When guests come to your house, they comment, “Why don’t you eat tomatoes? It enhances your skin tone from within. Have some carrots! Drink milk regularly. Darkness will be lessened automatically. Some will keep imposing fair & lovely or Ponds white beauty on you every now and then, slipping a tube of fairness cream into your hands! You look at them with a surprise in your eyes! Used to their remarks, you accepted the fact that you are dark as well as ungracious.
No one appreciates your beautiful features. No one appreciates you a bit. Why?
Because you are dark! Your dark skin has taken everything out of you. All your emotions have eclipsed under the darkness of your skin including the shoreless beauty of your mind; the beauty that doesn’t exist a bit in a woman with lighter skin. Alas! Little did those well-wishers know your dark skin tone makes you much superior to their darker mentalities.
When you hit puberty, you have pimples and scars on your face. Guys who admired you in adolescence now distance themselves from you looking at your scars. You again feel ungraceful. You feel insulted!
How old are you my dear girl? Ten or eleven?
Still, when you come out on the road you are ordered to keep your heads down. You become numb with fear when your uncles touch you beastly at the age of four or five. You don’t understand what is happening around you. At the age of thirteen or twelve, when your breasts are yet not developed, you have to wrap yourself up in scarf bigger than you. Undergarments, outer garments- you have to wear four or five layers of attires; still those dirty hands touch you in hips, thighs. Those touch your back and chest. You keep silence like a lifeless river does.
You are taught “To tolerate is the greatest virtue. Women don’t survive without tolerating”. So, you tolerate. You tolerate your lifelessness with calm open eyes. Nothing touches you like before.
Dear girl, do you know the measurement of the body where your heart lies? You have to have a carved body like a mountain slope. You cannot be too thin or too fat. Your body; that is everything! Are you short? They will say that in your childhood you hadn’t eaten properly. Are you tall? Who will marry a tall girl like you?
Problem knows no end when it’s about you or your body! Why wouldn’t that be? Don’t you know that Guys won’t come to you unless you have a perfect body! Guys come as a bee to the body that provokes their lust! In this lifetime, a man is the only goal you have to achieve!
Dear, can you make a bun with your hair where you can wrap flowers? Can’t you? Don’t you know that girls with short hair are not good girls! Keep your hairs longer. Goddess lies in your long hair.
Listen, girl, don’t go anywhere alone even if you are young and self-independent. Don’t talk to any guy and laugh. Your laughter will be a sign of provocation to your boss who is of your father’s age. Do you want to interact with guys normally? Want to hang out with them? Open your eyes and lookout. See the hatred, the disarrangement in their eyes for you!
O, poor girl! If you wear jeans, guys get stoned with your glance, when you wear saree, they sneak a peek and become aroused. You are not safe even in Hijab. You are restless always with the strap of your bra, with your scarf, with your own body. With a touch of your magical hands, guys feel the luster of a beast and come onto you whenever they get a chance like a hyena. Still, everyone blames you. Why? Because you are a product with sexuality wrapped all over you. Do you think you ever were considered a human being?
Do you inhale cigarettes, take weed, or drink alcohol? These are not for you! Girls from a good background don’t do that. Two puffs of a cigarette? These are owned by the boys here. Why do you do these? Nowhere it is written that these are not for girls I know that. But don’t you know girls from a respected family don’t do that? Why would you do that? Why would you be a bad girl?
Listen, girl, come home before the sun sets in the evening. If you are late then the darkness of night will make your whitest character dark. It is not possible to pull off a dark stain from a girl’s character. Characterless girls cannot be in this society! You roam around in fine arts compound after evening, you go to the cinema with your male friend, take pictures touching someone’s shoulder. These are not something done by a respected family girl. These are the activities of a spoilt girl who has nothing to look onto. You have something to pull you back, when was the time you took your life in your hand? Your life goes in by someone else’s rule.
Do not go on a challenging profession. Spend your life with all those knives and household works. If you ever wish to go on a scuba diving or go on in action like police; if you wish to work on lab till 3 am or wish to run away like a gypsy, just smile and say,” these are not for me, I am just a girl”
Unlucky girl, everything in your life is pre-determined!
You must be a virgin when you get married at the age of twenty-five. On your first night, you must bleed and make the bed reddish to emerge as a winner. Do not ever dare to love someone before marriage. Or do not even dare to wish to get someone as yours totally. Love only one guy in your lifetime; otherwise, you will be called a prostitute, a whore. These words don’t have any masculine version. Men can never be characterless; this is something only girls can be.
After marriage when you wish to see your parents, don’t ever run to them and serve your in-laws at best. Mother law doesn’t like you to talk to your father because you are the bride of her house? Don’t be the little lady that you used to be to your father, they are not your afar you get married. Don’t you know in-laws are always right and above of any mistakes? Burn the habit of reading books at night or the luxury of smelling the sky. You are obligated to be a good wife. “Make adjustments. You are a wife nor. It is okay to die as a good wife while making adjustments rather than being bad.”
Girl you are guilty from the very moment of your birth, you must love for once and get married just for once. Restlessness after marriage, disrespect, humiliation all these just should be accepted no matter what. Do you want a separation? You are not born with that right. Don’t you know where society has put all those divorced girls? Better spend your night in insomnia ignoring your husband’s extramarital affair. Happiness is not meant for you. You are a girl. So, live a rotten life. Even you have a physical desire, it is not necessary that desire should be fulfilled. Self-respect? Why would you have that? Do you feel angry with all these things? Don’t be angry. Know that,
“Anger makes guys emperor and girls whores.”
Are you doing a job? Do you wish to roam around the world with your partner? Do you wish to live a childless life? You just cannot do that! Though it is your uterus, your opinion is uncountable here. Without that sperm is being pushed into your uterus just at the beginning of your career. Your kid comes to this world without your consent. You are a happy mother but you didn’t think about your career! How lucrative a career a woman can possibly have anyway!
Poor girl. I feel pity for you.
I know nothing is going to be changed by my statements.
Still, let me say. You have spent all your life by rules laid down by others. Live by yourself just once. Live this one lives with your brown glossy face with some pimple scars. Let the lover leave you, let people make remarks on your ungraciousness. Nothing will go wrong if you don’t get married or there is no one to love because of your dark skin tone. Listen, he who falls in love with external appearance; that is not real love.
Is he pushing you away in spite of all your love and care? Let him! DON’T GET HURT. KNOW THAT THERE ARE SO MANY PEOPLE WHO ARE CRAZILY IN LOVE WITH YOU. Just find them out.
Are you having sexual relations before marriage? So what? Having fun in bed after marriage? There nothing wrong with that either
Do you want to lose your virginity after marriage? Go with that!
Do you want to live by yourself without having any physical relation?
Let that be!
Do whatever you wish to do because it is only your life.
Do you not wish to wear Shalwar Kameez? Don’t wear them. Are you comfortable with sari? Embrace that! Do you not like scarf/dupatta/Orna? Throw that away! It is solely your body.
Cover it up as much as you like and let it breathe as much as you wish. Just be like a stick if you want to. Be a fat one if you wish to. No one else has the right over your body. Let the laughter come out and let them be shocked. Cry as much as you have stored the tears, Cry everything out and make a good start. If you are angry raise your voice and let everyone know you have it too and you too can react. Come home late if you wish!’
Are you not getting married in time? Don’t go for that if you not ready. Getting married before time? Go for that! Cook at your own consent and have a good family time. Nothing is wrong with that! Do whatever makes you happy. Your husband is not giving you the proper respect Just kick him and come out of that bond. The world is waiting for you.
Do you want to have a world tour? Just go for that. Want to study? Study as much as you like!
Live alone if you want to. Want to have multiple boyfriends then have it! If you can change your decision several times over a makeup foundation then why not this confusion is in the case of a boyfriend! Do you want just one lover and have a family with him bearing several kids? Just be a mother!
Do what makes you happy.
People will abuse you, call you, they will hate you and yet, they will in the end marvel at your success.
Dear, this huge world is just yours. On the magical afternoons, you own the same right as the guy sitting beside you. You are an endless entity in this world so live as per your wish. Do not live for your mother or for your father. Do not live for the loved one. But live for yourself, only for yourself. To love for yourself, help yourself.
Do not get scared. Life has given you the right to live this life to the fullest, do not neglect that space.
Live to your heart’s consent. Success will be at your feet.
With all the good wishes,
The article was originally written by Pritha Sharadi in Bengali and published in Women Chapter’s main site, on November 25, 2016.
Pritha Sharadi is an architect by profession. In her spare time, she likes to write about contemporary socio-political issues, especially issues concerning women. A proud feminist at heart, she is not afraid to speak against social evils.
Sadia Rahman is a former volunteer of the Women Chapter. Her passions include writing and debating. She participated in several national debate championships including BTV national debate championship. Completed H.S.C from Holy Cross College. She was a member of the student council in college. She has anchored in Baishakhi television several debate tournaments. Sadia is also a prolific writer and loves to share her views on issues concerning women.