Shashwatee Biplob (Translated by Sadia Rahman):
The GIRL can be you
The GIRL can be me;
Who never been allowed
Who she wanted to be.
You are that girl. I am that girl too. Or someone from our previous or next birth. Who never wanted be a “Wo-man” but is reminded of that every now and then.
Whose life is full of “No”s.
Who is always held back whenever she wants to go.
Who is always uncomfortable with her body in front of rage.
And lives a life with the chances of being molested or raped at any age;
By anyone, at any place, in any given time,
Who is humiliated without doing any crime.
The girl’s childhood and adolescence are filled with experiences of some ugly touches of uncles, brother’s friends, teachers, neighbors, close relatives or of anyone. Who couldn’t defend herself or share the agony; neither spoke out nor protested. She could not have twisted or broken those filthy hands.
The girl whose family lives in a world of prejudice about her chastity, lives in fear of losing social prestige.
That girl, who is independent, a bit too assertive, and little bit crazy. The girl learns to protest about every injustice in her youth. She has the guts to speak up, she has the backbone to stand straight.
The girl who does not consider herself as inferior, just because she’s a girl. She walks boldly. She cares, if at all, little about defamers.
The girl who may or may not be beautiful. Who doesn’t even bother about the beauty. She doesn’t put on colourful make ups.
The girl whose wish is to get valued by her quality not by her beauty.
The girl who doesn’t wish to learn those “girly” postures that the society has abided her by. That girl who is greatly attracted to the outer world than the affairs in the kitchen.
The girl, who can sing and dance well. Who recites beautifully and her sketch is mind blowing.
Her acting and debating quality draws praises of everyone. That girl who is a movie maker or a talented journalist or player.
That girl who wants to be independent. She dreams of changing the society. That is why she is accused of being “careerist” or “selfish” or “greedy”.
The girl who loves her friend, her comrade. She makes a home with that guy who loves her that “non girly” independent nature.
The man loves everything about her – music, poetry, theatre, drawing, debate, journalism-all she can do and all she cannot. He loves her talents as well as her flaws.
The girl who gives all her love to that guy, shares all her feelings and the pain. She depends on him. She doesn’t know how to hide anything.
It does not take time for her dreams to shatter.
The girl who cannot be legal guardian to the child she has given birth.
The girl whose efficiencies become invalid or unworthy by her honest expressions, her boldness, and bravery.
All her qualities are dismissed because of that single mistake of being honest.
Her fault is having the power to stand straight, independence and fearlessness. She is only measured by her failure of not being conventional “girl’ or “woman” that society wanted her to be.
The girl who wants to refuse this rotten society. She is an outcast here.
The girl eventually becomes older.
She eventually learns to compromise.
She compromises so many things for the sake of her child.
She looks for all her stolen dreams in her child’s future.
She becomes lonely in a crowd.
That girl can be you. That girl can be me too. Or that girl is someone who’s from our previous or next birth. She never wanted to be a “wo-man”. But the society does not let her forget that.
The original article was published in the Bengali site on June 15, 2016.
The writer is a regular writer of Women Chapter Bangla and a Development worker by profession.