Nirmala: The Mud Blossom: Coming Soon To Cry Out To Your Heart
by Fiza Pathan
There is a difference between the cry of the cock and the bleating of a young lamb…there also is a difference between the gaze of the wise owl and the stare of the fanged serpent. In this very way I too am different from you.
There is a difference between the blood shed on the battle field and the blood drawn out by the physician’s needle…there also is a difference between the hot sandy desert of Arabia and the cold bleakness of the Arctic. In this very same way I too am different from you.
You were born in a hospital and your mother took you into her arms gently, as if you were a toy made of china glass. Your father washed his hands thrice before he even touched your cheeks and looked into your eyes fantasizing whose eyes you had got, your father’s jet black eyes or your mother’s honey brown ones.
This is the difference between you dear reader and me . . . for your family took you home after you were born . . . whereas mine dumped me into a dustbin near by the clinic where I was born, all because I was a girl.
Unwanted by all and the stench of the rubbish that we all call garbage──these were the shrines of my dreams and the footpaths that led to the dark world of gender differentiation. In dirt did I find my solace. In the filth of the slum did I find my home.
My name is Nirmala Acharya and I was rejected by my society because I was born a female. The pain of not being wanted has scarred my flesh several times with the belting I get daily. My clothes smell of human excreta and my hair has dozens of knots in them, along with some lice which I pick out with my slum dwelling urchins who are my friends. I was born just like you, but you were luckier…far luckier than me for I bet your parents didn’t think of tossing you in the garbage just because they did not like what was between your legs. I also bet you have never been beaten before with a belt and that the buckle of the belt never damaged your knee and made you limp…it hurts badly, but I’m used to it after all, I’m just a girl.
I study too you know. I’ve got books and pencils and stuff but do you know where I study? I study under one of the street lights in our slum which is in Bandra. I’m a topper in my class but no one comes to watch me receive my awards on Prize Day. Who cares? After all, gender discrimination is the in thing and I’m the dummy that gets on being punched all the time.
Did you know that a rat bit me once? It tore at the flesh on my ankle while I was trying to study under the street lamp one night in the middle of all the human excreta and garbage…that hurt too but I forgave the poor beast, I just think he did not know how to behave himself…maybe he had not had such a tough life as I had…maybe the little brute was not dumped in the dustbin when he was born ???
I rarely cry for crying is useless, it only gives you a head ache and a blocked nose. I’m gross when I blow my nose because then I rub the snot off my face with the back of my hand and then I wipe it on to my clothes that I wear…I guess you are not as gross as me because your mother and father must have taught you good manners, etiquette and stuff like that. See, I’m so smart, I know what the word ‘etiquette’ means, pretty good for a school girl who sits under street lights to get through her homework don’t you think ?
I don’t watch movies; I’ve never seen a movie in a theatre in my whole life. However, I love to read. I love reading books especially books written by the famous British author Charles Dickens. I like his works a lot because, I can empathize with his characters, especially Oliver Twist and David Copperfield only problem is that these two characters are boys…and I’m a girl, an unwanted girl who was thrown in the dustbin. However let’s not be harsh, the world of books is a beautiful place to be in and most importantly it keeps up my spirits especially after a hard day of being beaten up and abused.
I don’t have many girls as friends except for the few naked street urchins who run around the Bandra Reclamation slum and urinate near the garbage bins. I love them for they love me for who I am…smelly, dark and filthy me. However, I’m a bit different from them as I have a dream. I want to be a doctor and treat patients. I love science and mathematics; they are the two subjects which I really score in very well. I don’t go for tuitions or any classes…can’t afford them and I don’t need them for I may have been thrown into the dustbin, but I guess the garbage made me super smart.
I must be boring you for you must be reading much better things about girls like me in the newspapers in Mumbai (India) like:
- Eve Teasing
- Dowry Crises
- Bride Burnings
- Female Infanticide
- Female Foeticide etc.
The media has sensationalized these issues and I read all about these cases cover to cover under the street lamp at the dead of night. I wonder why people like reading about rapes? They say it is for awareness and to create empathy…however, I don’t really think that is the real reason why we read about rapes. I think we like to read rapes for entertainment…because it is sensationalized…because it is interesting to read about the gory details…because you think it won’t happen to you…but who am I to talk about philosophy to you dear reader for I’m just a girl…who turned one day into a mud blossom.
Do my words intrigue you? Do my words make you wonder what will become of me in the near future? Is my slum an eyesore for the whole country…well if you think my slum stinks then you have no idea what my life is like.
My name is Nirmala Acharya and I’m coming into your world soon in Fiza Pathan’s novel titled ‘Nirmala: The Mud Blossom’.
Copyright © 2014 Fiza Pathan