Curse: A true fiction
“Never disobey your parents, else you will become a monkey like her”…. said a small boy to another while pointing out a woman who was sitting in a corner of the street quietly – A woman whose hair could hardly be distinguished from the fur of a sheep – a woman whose face could not be recognized due to the dirt and dust covering it- a woman who wore a torn dress and the tiny and huge holes present in it revealed most of her body parts. The men in that street never missed a chance to enjoy the sight.
It was a famous saying by parents to their kids that if any child disobeys parents and elders, the child becomes a monkey: people believed that initially a human being, disobeyed his parents and then he was turned into an ugly animal popularly known as monkey.
Although the woman appeared to be monstrous and dirty – she didn’t look like a monkey. She was tall and if cleaned could appear beautiful. She was sitting in the corner of that street for years; that people didn’t even remember – and most kids used to throw stones at her, call her monkey and torture her, but she never raised a voice nor did she react towards any of those kids. In the corner where she used to sit, there was a bakery shop that always gave away its burnt breads to her and during winters and rain, a shoe polish man used to give her shelter in his black tent. She was motionless like a black stone and she could only be seen moving during the rain.
The street was a crowded place where people used to move from their home to work, and to the market. The community members didn’t know anything about the life of this woman. There were various stories about her life. Some used to say that her family threw her away because she had a ‘bad character’ and dishonored her family and therefore, she was referred to as monkey. No one knew her original sin, yet they all cursed her everyday and each time they saw her they threw stones at her. As if every single member of the community considered himself a judge; forgetting that the biggest judge is above us and is watching us. She never used to look up whenever anyone used to curse her, except when the curser was a woman.
One day a very old and sick man came to the street who enquired about a lost woman. While he was coming towards that woman, the flies from the sweets shop started kissing the open wounds on his face and other visible parts of his body. He was weeping due the terrible pain. He reached her and it seemed that the woman knew who he was. His horrible condition didn’t come to her as a surprise. The men bowed down to her feet and pleaded for forgiveness. His painful voice became louder and gathered the whole community around. He continued – “Hamida please forgive me. I destroyed your life and I’m bearing the consequences. Please forgive me so that I can at least die …” the woman was listening carefully but didn’t say a word and she just looked at the people standing around her. Probably she wanted to tell them “Hey people…look who is monkey- I have a name and am not guilty….” However she continued to be silent and the man disappeared.
Two days after the incident – an old woman came to her and repeated the same plea as that of the man. Her loud voice again gathered the whole community around them but the woman who now had a name - Hamida, remained silent. The old woman was crying. “Hamida please forgive Ghulam, Allah has punished us because we punished you, please forgive him so that he can at least die….”
Ghulam was the man who came two days ago and named this woman, who was only called a monkey for all these years. Now she had a name. Strange, isn’t it? We never value our names until we lose it.
The old woman too became hopeless but continued crying and asking for forgiveness. She stood up and looked at Hamida and said “Look at you- what have you become…. were you like this….?? We ruined your life … I lost my three sons and Ghulam has become a living animal …these are all the results of your curses”. Subsequently she went away. But in the quest of curiosity and trying to make a sense of the past two days incidences, a woman among the crowd asked “What happened? Why are you asking for forgiveness from this cursed woman? This monkey has been lying on the dirt and dust of this street for years. She has never spoken a word. Who is this Hamida and who is she to forgive anyone?”
Who is Hamida? This woman, who was cursed by the whole community for years and tortured by kids, is Hamida. The old woman sat on the chair of the shoe polish man and said, “Actually we are monkeys because we ruined her life and dishonored this angel”.
She then narrated Hamida’s story. 15 years ago after graduating from the medical faculty, her father married her off to Ghulam, an illiterate shopkeeper. The family believed that to be a good husband it is not essential for a man to be educated. Ghulam had a shop and could sufficiently feed Hamida, and this is what a woman wants. Ghulam and his mother were so cruel to Hamida that they used to beat her and keep her hungry for days and weeks. Hamida had somehow convinced her husband that she would continue working in the nearby hospital and he had finally agreed but only if she was only seen in a head to toe black veil, so that her face isn’t visible. Ghulam’s mother never agreed, she used to tell Ghulam that Hamida is a beautiful doctor and might run away with someone, but Ghulam said he would kill her the moment he feels cheating on him.
One day while coming out of the hospital in the afternoon, Hamida was asked to treat a young child who was terribly injured in a car accident for which she had to stay in the hospital overnight. As she knew her in laws, she ran home to inform Ghulam but he was not home yet. She told Ghulam’s mother that due to the emergency case of a child, she would have to stay in the hospital overnight and will come early in the morning around time of prayers. She then immediately run back to the hospital.
As Ghulam returned home that evening, he found his mother yelling and crying in the yard. When he enquired, she said “ Today Hamida didn’t come home on time so I went to the hospital but when I went to the hospital, I saw her sitting and leaving the hospital in a car with another man and now I don’t know where she is or with whom did she ran away…” and continued crying. Ghulam lost his patience. He spent the whole night sitting in the yard and looking at the door. As he heard the prayers Azaan, Hamida entered their home. The moment Ghulam saw Hamida, he ran towards her and started punching her on the face, beating her with his shoes and everything else that he could take a hold of- Hamida was shouting “please listen to me…” but he became more furious and continued beating her that she couldn’t speak another word. Neighbors gathered as they were on their ways to the mosque for morning prayers. But when Ghulam’s mother saw the neighbors trying to help Hamida- she ran towards them and said “this woman has dishonored the whole community, do not let your daughters go to school otherwise they will bring the same shame to you as well”. When the neighbors heard this, they started cursing Hamida and left. Hamida was lying there as a dead body washed with blood. The same day, Ghulam sent Hamida to her father’s home but he also threw her away as he had also heard the story from Ghulam’s mother. He had told everyone that his daughter had died for him.
Hamida lost her mind as she got serious brain injuries and didn’t know who she was and where she would go anymore. Hence she ended up in the corner of this street.
Soon Hamida disappeared and no one in the street saw her again. Once again, everyone got busy in their lives and forgot Hamida but now they used to advice their children to never be cruel to an innocent – as there is no distance between an innocent person and Allah.