Why

Under the threat of the raised hand, the child studies. Hours. Nights. Drooping eyelids. Ink-stained fingers. Crumpled pages. Gender does not matter. Every penny is spent. Cupboards stuffed with books stacked in criss-cross piles. Pens, pencils, erasers, rulers, protractors, compasses, calculators. One must achieve high grades. Anything less than one hundred percent is unacceptable.

We wish her all the best. We cheer. We applaud. 

And yet….and yet…

That girl…no…woman…no…girl…no…woman…

She is unmarried.

Girl. 

Get a job. Find a husband. Quit your job. Live with your husband. 

Why?

Why.

She agreed to it.

Did anybody ask her if she is happy? 

Did she say yes?

Did she speak the truth?  

What if people had said, ‘so long as the widow agrees to jump on the funeral pyre with her husband’s body, we shouldn’t interfere.’ A practice practiced for a thousand years or more, does not make it right. Does. Not. Make. It. Right. 

This wonderful, brilliant, beautiful brain that speaks things I cannot understand. But I listen. I smile and nod. If I gave you my life you would do much better…much more…far more with it than I have ever done. Than I will ever do.

Did anyone ask her what she wants? 

Things are different now. Things should be different now. Things will be different. 

***

Written on 15.02.2021

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