'Uncles' we meet everyday

Some woods burn with less smoke. | However, all the way, burn the same, if not more

Obaid Bin Rashid
Srinagar, Publish Date: Dec 13 2017 10:32PM | Updated Date: Dec 13 2017 10:32PM
'Uncles' we meet everyday

My entire biology failed me as I kept sulking on a lone bench in a still lonely deserted park along the violated banks of Jhelum on a cold winter Satr-day (shame-day). O how striking was our resemblance. In grief. In guilt. And abandonment. December 3rd. I still remember it. Or rather I be called incapable of ever forgetting the day. It was for the first time that I missed my class. Actually, bunked. The same day, when men began losing manhood and shame in my eyes and over next years, lost most of it. That's how, SATR-DAY bears a paradoxical meaning to me. Of (un)Covering.

I was trying to find myself in me. I was afraid. My fingers anaesthetised, pretended to be experimenting with cold. I was separated from everything around. Red swollen tips. Nearly frozen yet incinerated, I kept billowing out gasps like a ravaged 'Bukhari' that promised a lot but gave a little warmth, soot much more, and choked on it's own breath. Still colder would have been my stare, almost glacial, if somebody had happened to noticed me. But I was never plump to be noticed. Yet feminine enough to be touched. Inappropriately.

I was preparing for my entrance exam back then. Eldest daughter of the family. My father worked at a local dispensary as a salesman. He's still there. Ageing. I was commuting from an older part to the outskirts of Srinagar city, in an old matador piloted again by an old man. It nearly makes me throw up that that short journey changed me forever. It seeded me with such hate for men that I loath them. I know I'm being disproportionate but this is what it did to me. I was left with such pain, I can't quite refer to as being old. Raw red, urban pain. Unrelenting and stubborn. Subtle yet gigantic. But not imaginary, wallah. It has never ceased to be any less unravelling. Doing, undoing all the same. Every single day.

Yes, satr-day.

It's a jam packed matador, overflowing with many heads cocked out from as many torsos. My class starts at 10:00 am. Sharp. As sharp as the pointed edge of a knife. I've already missed half a dozen busses on the pretext of being overly loaded, crammed up. Should I board this one? Or should I let it go all the same? Letting it go would mean reaching late, which meant missing one more class. And which further meant one more step peeled off from my goal. My father, will I never be able to comfort him, share his burdens? 

By the time, an ostentatious horn plucks me from my self inflicted chastisement, the bus is already pulling away. I feel defeated and nearly begin to cry. I resolve to board the next one, come what may. Next moment, I'm in a matador, asked to slip further and further back-wards. 'There's no space even to breathe', somebody howls from the back seat. As if a stirred back to life, slowly the matador starts picking up. But unbearably slow. What a clot! 

Meanwhile, I feel something prohibitive against my back. Wait, what's that? Maybe the uncle has a bag in his hand and it's just a bag. I've felt it before. I somewhat turn around and take a look at him. A middle aged greying man with his many worries calligraphed as creases on his forehead. Abu's age. No no he's innocuous, I swallow this comforting, but false presumption. Minutes later I feel sick again. Sicker than I've ever felt before. An odd hand nudging at odd places. Still baggier the thing gets, still shamelessly does it poke. What do I do? His breath reeked. Who do I call upon? I'm going to miss my class anyway now. I panic. I shout out the bus to stop not knowing whom to address. Tearfully. It does, after another couple of minutes. Hissing and squeezing through people, young, old and middle aged, I set my foot on the ground. Not really 'my' feet. Not exactly 'the' ground."

An hour later, in a park I discovered, but didn't as much find, myself. My instinctive self must have walked me to that place. To unload the filth. Who else would have believed in my story? I was pregnant. With a lot of complaints and tears. Illegitimate, of course. As for complaints, they froze on my cyanosed lips. And my tears, they just refused to flow. Only breathing kept smoking me away. Insidiously. Ravenously. But not as much to alarm the worlds outside. No no. Nothing doing. But I did burn. And burnt the same. I do, everyday.

Tuesday. Thoos day. Thoo, beyond the need any language, spits on your shame 'Uncle'. And on those who let it happen under their nose.

(Work of fiction. Any resemblance is purely coincidental)