Reverse engineering, the term in its vocalisation is self-explanatory. We break down a thing and learn how it got to where it is. Like every other thing in life, a person’s personality is seen best in its simplistic nature.
It was the night you asked her, forced her to tell her of what happened that night. She didn’t want to but you asked her to, so she did. For the very first time, she said it out loud. The emotions that ran in her veins the thoughts in her morphed into words and channelled its way to your ears. Every word she spoke of it was like a stab in her chest, an old wound being picked open and sprinkled with salt. It burned and you knew it.
At the end of a lengthy conversation that ended with her crying her soul out at the relieve of finally having shared it with someone and the horror of having to relive that night, all you had to say was, “I don’t believe you. I don’t believe what you are telling me is real.” Those very words shattered all her trust in love and all its entities.
Could you not hear the break in her voice when she asked you why you would say so, especially after having drilled the horror of a memory out of her. Could you not hear the hope in her voice when she asked you why she was being labelled a liar, a hope that what you would say would not hurt her?
“Because that is not the person I know you to be. If it indeed was what had happened, you would not just sit quiet. You would have done something about it.”
You, out of all the people, you who believes that experiences change people, believes that people change for the better after a hard experience. How could you have even posed that question to her?
She was a woman and had always been the kind who never cared about what the world had to say or think of her, who never cared about the good or bad others had to say about what she did or how she did things as long as no one was hurt. She was in itself a definition of confidence and virtue. She cared too much and hurt easy but never let the pain get to her, the next time she cared even more, she forgave though she never could forget. She was strong, you said so yourself. Didn’t you? But I must tell you, you weren’t the first one to tell her that. She was strong and she knew it. Every day was a fight she lost but never gave into, a fight she could never victor but kept fighting.
She wasn’t always that way, I thought she told you so. She wasn’t.
She grew up fighting for affection of her parents, attention of her relatives and love of her friends. Her parents who had too many people to take care of and love, her relatives; uncles and aunts who did everything but none more than remind her that she was a girl. A gender her parents didn’t appreciate much. Ever since she was first told by her aunt that her parents wanted a son and not a daughter, every day was a journey towards becoming the son they could never have. A competition with her instincts and her basic nature. Her friends who would pick on her just because she barely talked, her friends who always made fun of her.
She made it through that and into the school where she was always alone because no one liked her. Because she didn’t like herself, she didn’t know who she was. The daily taunt by the gate keeper who would grab hold of her and her friends and pluge his hands down their tops to see if they were turning into a lady. The man would just laugh it off, sometimes a neighbor or two would see and they would laugh it off together.Afterall it was just the old gate keeper teasing the little kids until one day she carried a stone in her hand as she walked through the gate. The man caught her friend, did what he had to do and came running towards her. The way she put her hand over her shoulder ready to launch the stone at her, the day she declared she didn’t want to know if she had turned into a lady. She didn’t want anything or anyone down her top. The look on that man’s face was of utter awe and shame. That was the last day he ever laid hands on any of the little girls.
She made it through the period in her life where her house was filled with “relatives” she didn’t know, the period in her life where her parents trusted their kids with them and all the young men did was put the kids under the bed for hours as they watched pornography in the living room, all they did was walk in their undies and compare their junks in front of her and her siblings, simply saying, “they won’t remember it.”
She made it through the time her parents almost split up and she was too young to even be considered a human. When her dad wouldn’t come home or even if he did, we would be drunk and wasted. The nights when he would come home with bleeds all over his face and arms and push her mother away as she tried to nurse him. All the nights she saw her mother crying in the kitchen, all the nights she hugged her sisters and hid in the kitchen while her parents fought in the living room. The time when no one from her father’s side of the family, not even her loving grandmother liked her or even considered her one of the own.
When her mother couldn’t afford to feed her family and they lived on porridge for a week or more. When the family wasn’t able to give her 10 rupees for bus fare, time when her parents went bankrupt and she survived on a pair of torn shoes for two years. She made it through without a hint of embarrassment or regret.
She made it through her neighbor priest sitting her down on his lap and making her way into her shirt. She was 11 then, wearing a blue shirt. A cap on her head and her bird in hand. She tried to cry but his hands covered her mouth she couldn’t breathe. He said he would throw him down the balcony if she yelled or ever told anyone about it. You wonder why she fears heights.
She made it through all the ordeals of school. Her dislike for sports but the need to be a part of it to please her parents tk make up for the fact that she didn’t carry a dangle between her legs. Through all the pain and sore limbs because she couldn’t run, it made her joints hurt. Through never being picked, through never being chosen. Through all the beatings by her parents, her uncles and her bullies.
She made it through the relationship that plagued her like the black death. The relationship that left her bruised every day, that was in literal sense a pair of hands around her neck, choking her to death every other day. She made it through that.
She made it through the heartbreak, she was taken for granted and put deep into the ground she couldn’t see the light. Hurt her so bad she forgot she survived many fights before.
She made it through that. She makes it through everyday having to see them everyday, knowing people who did know about it never even raised a word to help her let alone a finger. Knowing that she was never offered help, even when she called out for it therefore she doesn’t ask for it anymore.
You don’t know what it takes to go through so much and still be cheery every time you see someone else. To smile and laugh, joke and converse with people who hurt you physically and emotionally. She is a psychological scar, every inch of her existence. She is a survivor, she is a fighter. She wasn’t born as such but became one. How could you not know that when she has told you about every aspect of her life? How could you still question her loyalty when her definition of it was you and only you?
She made a woman out of a child, a fighter.