WARNING!! THE FOLLOWING CONTENT IS NOT FOR CHILDREN BELOW 18 YEARS OF AGE!
NOTE TO ALL READERS: I was heavily criticized by my sister when I gave her to proof-read the following story. Basically she hated it, and I do understand her reasons. Also, I’m well aware that many of you are also going to hate it. But whatever I have tried to portray in this story is entirely fictional and yet, sadly, bears a lot of resemblance to several societies and cultures (mostly uneducated) around the globe.
Secondly, the names of characters used in the story are purely for the sake of naming and should not otherwise be taken as a personal attack on any individual, caste, creed, culture or religion. It is purely fictional.
I am open for discussion and feedback, but request you all to refrain from using any kind of profanity or post any hate comments.
P.S. My inspiration for this story came from watching the movie “The Stoning of Soraya M.“
Fatima had taken her last step backwards. There was no place to go any further. Her back had hit the wall. Her body was now stiff… Her mouth shut… Her eyes wide open… She just kept staring in shock and disbelief… Her little Mehroon had grown up in one evening.
No… It was not Mehroon’s birthday. No… She did not graduate from college. Yes… She had been raped!
Seventeen year old Mehroon stood completely naked from head to toe… It was half past mid-night in Amanpuri village. The chilly winds blew ruthlessly against the bare body of that little girl. She waited while her mother stood in front of her like a statue on the veranda. Blood trickled out of her vagina and kept flowing down her leg till it reached the muddy courtyard where it was absorbed and lost forever. She waited in pain and agony… She waited for her mother to run up to her and embrace her… She waited for that one hug which she believed would take away all her pain and all her shame. But when that did not happen, she waited for the earth to split apart and swallow her inside it. But when neither happened, she swallowed hard and brought out the courage to make the first move.
Slowly she began to raise her shivering hand towards her mother and a soft voice, almost like a whisper came out of her mouth which she could barely open… “Ammi…”
Fatima, who had been standing there motionless all along suddenly shook up with a jerk, as though all of a sudden she was made to wake up from a deep sleep. But her actions to follow were not quite expected by little Mehroon.
“Noooooooooo….” Fatima screamed, as though a ghost was standing in front of her. She raised her hand in front to stop Mehroon from approaching her. “Nooooo… Go back… Don’t come near me…” Screaming her lungs out, breathing heavily, she tried to push the wall even further behind.
Mehroon was taken aback… She was shocked by her mother’s reaction. She stumbled a step backward while struggling to keep her balance, while watching her mother screaming and howling like a crazy wild wolf.
Nine hours earlier, Mehroon had just returned from school. Her father was sitting outside in the courtyard and drinking away to his heart’s content. Ever since Mehroon remembers, she has only seen her father either drinking or sleeping. Her mother would earn their living by knitting woolen apparels for other kids of the village.
Mehroon paused to glance a pitiful look at her father and continued to walk inside the house.
“Ammi…” she shouted while still in the courtyard… “I’m home.”
“Yes Mehroon… Freshen up and sit for lunch…” Fatima responded back from the kitchen.
Mehroon dropped her bag on the bed and went outside to the tube-well. Just as she began pumping water from the well and washing her feet, she heard a loud scream from inside the kitchen, which was followed by some sound of banging and breaking utensils. She turned and saw that her father was not outside any more. She ran into the kitchen and found her mother lying unconscious on the floor. Blood was flowing from an injury mark on her forehead, and her drunk father was standing above her with a cooking pot in his hand.
“Bitch refused to give me money…” Mehroon heard her father mutter under his breath.
Without wasting any time, Mehroon ran out of the kitchen and out of their home to reach Dr. Mukesh’s chamber. Mukesh was not really a doctor. Actually his father used to be a doctor at the village, but after the good man’s death, his son took up the profession as any business and continued with the little knowledge that he had gained from his father. But for the people of Amanpuri, he was an angel, and it was quite obvious because there were no other doctors in or around the village.
Mehroon kept running as fast as she could and before long she could see Dr. Mukesh through the rusted iron grills on the window of his chamber. Mehroon ran right in and found Dr. Mukesh sitting on his chair and buried into some magazine. Amazed by Mehroon’s sudden entry, Mukesh was taken aback and he immediately threw the magazine below his chair.
“Uh… mmm… yes. Yes? How… How can I help you?” Mukesh stammered while trying to compose himself.
“Mother… Mother has had an accident… She is unconscious. Please come with me. Fast… Please…” Mehroon pleaded while still breathing heavily from all the running.
“Ah… But you see… I’m quite busy right now. I’ll come later.” Mukesh replied in a much more composed manner.
There was not a single patient waiting outside his chamber. It was an extremely hot evening and there were barely any people even on the streets.
“But you have no patients right now.” Mehroon replied in an innocent tone.
“Shut up!” Mukhesh pounced back. “Get out of here.”
Mehroon stood there, with her head down as tears started to roll down her red cheeks.
“Ohho… Now don’t cry…” Mukesh’s voice softened up while he got up from he chair and approached Mehroon. “Come…” he said as he held Mehroon’s hand and started to pull her towards himself. Mehroon gave in as Mukesh walked back to his chair still holding on Mehroon’s hand. He sat on his chair and with a sudden jerk, pulled Mehroon, making her sit on his lap.
“What are you…??” Mehroon tried to raise her voice.
“Ssshhhhh…” Mukesh said, as he hugged onto her real tight.
Mehroon tried to free herself from his grasp but the little girl’s strength was no match for that huge man.
“Dr. Mukesh… Let me go… Or I’ll scream…” Mehroon was already screaming.
Understanding that he had no way with the girl, Mukesh left his grasp and pushed Mehroon away. “Get out of hear. And do not blame it on me if your mother dies. You filthy bitch. Who do you think you are? Out of my sight! Now! Get out!” Mukesh was shouting in rage.
Mehroon stood there like a statue for a few minutes as the image of her mother lying on the ground kept playing in front of her eyes.
The little girl closed her eyes and took a deep breath… Then as slowly and as reluctantly as possible, she walked up to Mukesh once again and sat on his lap… her eyes still closed.
With a short wicked smile Mukesh started to hug Mehroon once again. But out of the blue, Mehroon got up and slapped Mukesh across the face and ran out of his chamber.
Mehroon wanted to run straight home and do whatsoever she could to save her mother. As she crossed the market, Asif, her classmate saw her and ran to catch up with her.
“What happened Mehroon? Where are you going to in such a hurry?” Asif asked, while continuing to run along with Mehroon.
“Ammi… She was… Abbu…” Mehroon struggled to get the right words.
“Oh… I understand.” Asif replied while keeping pace with Mehroon.
Asif was Mehroon’s best friend and knew everything about her family. How hard Mehroon’s mother would work to feed the family and how her father would spend all the money on rum and whiskey, and how he would beat her mother if she did not give him money. He knew it all. But he did not know about Dr. Mukesh’s true face. Mehroon wanted to tell him, but she could not. Silent tears kept pouring from her innocent eyes.
Soon, Asif and Mehroon reached her home. There was pin drop silence around. Mehroon slowly walked in… Asif followed her. The entire house was in a complete mess. Mehroon’s father was no where in sight. Her mother was still lying unconscious on the ground. The two kids managed to pick up Mehroon’s mother and brought her from the kitchen to the living room. They laid her on the bed and while Mehroon sat next to her mother, Asif got some water and washed the blood from her forehead.
It was already eight o’clock and Mehroon’s mother was still unconscious. Her father was no where to be seen.
“Asif… You have been here long enough and helped me a lot. But now you should go home. Or else your parents will get worried.” Mehroon did not want Asif to leave… She was scared of being alone… Yet she had no choice but to ask him to leave.
Neither did Asif want leave Mehroon alone, but even he had no choice. “Alright Mehroon… But I’ll come over early tomorrow morning and we will see what we can do. Hope your mother regains consciousness before that.” Asif gave a hug to Mehroon and took her leave.
Asif had left, but Mehroon knew that her fight for the night was not yet over. She could not allow her mother to remain in that unconscious state till morning. She had to do something for her. She had to…
After fighting with her inner fear for a few more minutes, Mehroon decided to go to the market and get some medicines and bandages for her mother.
Getting up from next to her mother she walked up to the door… and stopped. She turned back to see her mother for one last time before leaving, as though to bid farewell before going on a long trip. Quickly, she came back to her mother and gave her a tight hug, and then without thinking any more or looking anywhere else she started her journey for the market.
Mehroon’s house was almost a couple of miles from the market and she had to walk through a dense jungle and some rice fields to reach there. During the day, it was an extremely scenic journey to be enjoyed, but at night, things would seem real creepy and scary.
While Mehroon tried to concentrate her thoughts on her mother, all she could imagine were the trees coming into life and clasping her in their tight grip. Her heart beat increased rapidly with fear and so did her pace.
While all those vivid imaginations kept her busy, all of a sudden, Mehroon could see the lights from the market at a distance. She immediately began to run as fast as she could but she had only taken a few steps when somebody pulled her from behind. Mehroon let out a shrill scream and froze on the spot.
Nothing happened… No one spoke a word… No one made a move… Only the little girl’s heart kept beating faster then ever.
After yet another few minutes when nothing happened, Mehroon slowly turned around, and to her joy, she found that it was only her dress that had caught up on the branch of a tree which had pulled her back. She could not stop smiling to herself. Taking a deep sigh of relief, she untangled her dress from the branch and once again started to run towards the market.
She went straight to the small dispensary which occupied a corner of the market and got a couple of bandages and some medicines from there. Getting all that she had to, she started to jog back home once again through the same old rice fields and dense jungle.
She had barely reached half way when all of a sudden she felt a huge log hit hard on her back. She landed face-first flat on the ground.
Before she could turn around or get up, a huge man… or was it an animal… pounced on her.
It was a man… and within fraction of a second, the man turned her about with brute strength. She wanted to scream, but before she could get a grasp of the situation, the man put one of his hands on her mouth and shut it tight. His other hand had torn the top of her dress and was cupping her breasts. Her eyes were open, but it was a pitch dark night. She could not even see the man’s face. She strained her eyes, but from all the crying and fear, her vision had blurred away too much. The man had sat on her belly, and kept his knees on her hands so she could not move at all.
After a few minutes of pressing on her breasts, the man decided on making the big move. He unbuckled his belt and pulled down his trousers… and all this while maintaining a good hold on Mehroon keeping her from screaming or escaping.
He then raised the helpless girl’s dress and pulled down her underwear.
Within seconds, the man was inside her, in the most brutal and harsh manner imaginable. While this beast was having the time of his life, Mehroon was screaming in pain and agony… but she could not open her mouth. So it was only her heart that was screaming but not a sound came out of her mouth. Tears kept flowing from that little girl’s eyes while the man kept raping her.
When he was satisfied and done with Mehroon, he got up as fast as he could and disappeared into the darkness, leaving Mehroon lying there all alone… bruised… scared… hurt… half naked… and in an unimaginable amount of pain… both outside and within.
She tried to scream as loud as possible and bring out all the pain she was feeling, but her vocal cords had failed her. After a few minutes, she finally managed to gain the strength to get up. Breathing heavily, wiping the continuous flow of tears from her eyes, limping, she slowly began to take small steps towards home. Even in that pain, Mehroon had not forgotten about her mother.
She had barely moved a few yards when all of a sudden she heard a loud grunting noise and someone running towards her. The man was back.
Mehroon turned and finally managed to let out a loud scream, but this time it was more a scream of anger rather than that of pain.
As soon as she felt the man reaching near her, she started to vigorously move her hands in the air trying to fight back her attacker. She felt her nails dig on to the man’s face but it was still too dark for her to see anything. The man managed to spearhead her and throw her on the ground once again.
An injured tiger is more dangerous than a regular tiger. The man had turned into a wilder beast this time. He tore away all her clothes this time and slapped her a few times.
Mehroon had no strength to fight back any longer. The man raped her once again and then just like the previous time, got up all of a sudden and disappeared into the darkness, taking all her clothes with him.
This time Mehroon could cry… Her voice did come out… But she had no strength to scream any longer. She laid there for almost an hour. She was in too much pain to move. All she could do was lie there and cry.
After a long while when Mehroon could finally move, she slowly started to crawl home. This time she was not even in a condition to get up and walk.
The clouds were now gone from the sky and the moon above her was shining brightly. At least she could see her way now.
Slowly and not very steadily, Mehroon kept crawling. Yes, she still could not get up, but she did not stop.
After almost an hour of crawling, Mehroon could finally see the dim lantern burning on the veranda of her home. She could also see her mother sitting on the veranda and washing the wound from her forehead.
Mehroon stopped on her trail and tried to stand up. With a lot of effort she finally succeeded. She then took a deep breath and started to limp her way home.
Mehroon reached the courtyard and was standing naked from head to toe in front of her mother. Fatima had not yet seen Mehroon. She was too busy tending to her wound.
In a voice almost as soft as a whisper, Mehroon spoke… “Ammi…”
Fatima turned to see Mehroon and her eyes were opened in shock. She dropped the mug from her hand and the water splashed on the ground.
It was around 5 o’clock the following morning. The sun had not yet risen. It was a cloudy morning. Birds were chirping at a distance. Mehroon was covered with one of her mother’s saree and still sitting outside in the courtyard. Fatima was sitting on the veranda. Both of them had their eyes on the ground and none spoke a word.
Both kept waiting… but for what… no one knew… when all of a sudden they heard footsteps come from the unpaved path in front of their home. Mehroon looked up… It was her father. He was not drunk. In fact he was walking as steadily as a gentleman. This was the first time Mehroon had seen her father so sober.
But then Mehroon’s eyes fell on her father’s face and she saw a deep scratch mark that ran from near his eyes and halfway down his cheeks.
Mehroon kept staring at her father with eyes wide open but her father did not look right or left and walked straight past the little girl and her mother and went inside the house.
Fatima followed her husband in and shut the door behind them. Mehroon could only sit there and imagine what was happening within those closed doors.
But only after a couple of minutes, the door dashed open and Fatima almost came flying out and fell on the ground. Obviously her husband had threw her out.
Mehroon’s abbu then came out and still not looking at Mehroon, shouted at Fatima, “Take your whore girl with you and go to the village headman. Let him decide whatever has to be done with her. I want nothing to have to do with this.”
Mehroon kept staring at her abbu and the scratch mark on his face but her abbu never even gave a glance at her.
Saying what he had to Mehroon’s father once again went inside the house and closed the door behind him.
Mehroon got up from her place slowly and walked up to her mother. She approached to help her mother up but her mother dodged her daughter’s touch and signaled her to move away.
Mehroon stepped back and Fatima got up.
“Come.” Those were the first words Fatima spoke to Mehroon since the previous afternoon. Saying this she started to walk out of the gate. Mehroon followed her… still limping and struggling to walk.
Soon they reached the village headman’s house. Fatima stopped at the gate and Mehroon a few steps behind her mother. The headman’s servant was brooming the courtyard outside.
Fatima called the servant and made her request to meet the headman. The servant asked them to wait and went inside. He then came out and asked Fatima what the issue was. Fatima told the servant the core matter. The servant stared at Mehroon for a while and went in again and came out after a few minutes. He told Fatima to come into the courtyard and sit on the veranda while Mehroon was asked to sit under the mango tree outside the gate.
Almost after half an hour, the headman came out. He took a chair on the veranda and while sipping on a hot cup of tea, heard the whole story from Fatima once again. Well, at least whatever was the whole story according to Fatima. Mehroon’s father did not come up in any part of the story, nor did Fatima’s injury. It was mostly about how Mehroon went out for unknown reasons at night and got raped.
After hearing everything, the headman told Fatima to take her daughter and come to the Panchayat meeting in the afternoon where decision would be taken as to what should be done.
Fatima got up and thanked the headman and came out of his gate and continued her walk home. She never looked at Mehroon nor did she say a word to the girl. Mehroon suddenly looked up and saw her mother leaving. She struggled to get up quickly and once again limping and stumbling followed her mother back home.
It was noon… The sun was shining brightly over head. Fatima and Mehroon were both sitting outside in the courtyard while the house was locked with Fatima’s husband inside.
Fatima stood up suddently. “Let’s go!” Saying this to Mehroon, once again she walked out through the gate.
Mehroon struggled to keep up with her mother’s pace.
Walking for even a few minutes under that hot sun was in itself the greatest punishment for any man. Yet, Fatima would not reduce her pace or give any break to her daughter who was in so much of pain.
Nearly at a miles distance was the Panchayat office.
When they reached there, they could see that all the Panchayat members along with the Sarpanch (the village headman) were all seated under the gigantic peepal tree and prepared for Mehroon’s trial. A pretty big crowd had also gathered to witness this session.
Fatima and Mehroom walked through the crowd and made there way to the middle of the open ground where the session was taking place…
After talking amongst themselves for a while, one of the Panchayat members narrated the story as he had heard from the Sarpanch. It was exactly what Fatima had told to the Sarpanch.
Hearing the story, the crowd started murmuring different probabilities amongst themselves.
“She must have provoked whoever the man was to rape her.” “No no… Dr. Mukesh was telling how she slapped him because he said that he would come a little later to check her mother as he was busy with many patients. I’m sure she is going to put the blame on Dr. Mukesh. In reality nothing must have happened with her. It’s all a way to get some money from a good man.” “Yes, she probably made out with that Asif kid she hangs out with all the time.” “Roaming with a boy all the time. What else can be expected from such a girl!”
Mehroon kept standing there with her head bent low and Fatima kept staring at the Panchayat members.
The Sarpanch then asked Mehroon, “Did you see who the rapist was?”
Mehroon shook her head in denial, still looking down.
“Do you have anything to add to the story?” The Sarpanch inquired.
Mehroon looked up. “Yes sir…” she replied softly.
Fatima looked at Mehroon and muttered under her breath… “Shut up Mehroon. You have destroyed your life. Now do not destroy ours.”
Mehroon looked at her mother with eyes wide open in disbelief and spoke out loud… “Sir, I think my father raped me!”
The soft murmuring of the crowd grew loud and Fatima looked at Mehroon in shock and anger and then turned her head away. Everyone began to look at Mehroon in a questionable and suspicious manner.
One of the Panch members spoke… “Some dark evil force has definitely entered this girl because of the incidence. That is why she is speaking such evil things. Blaming her own father… Shame shame… This evil should be taken out at once. The girl must be cleansed. Or who knows what she will do.”
All the other Panch members nodded in agreement.
Mehroon just looked down and did not speak another word.
The Panch members along with the Sarpanch then began to speak amongst themselves while the crowd continued their own murmuring.
After a while the Sarpanch spoke. “Silence everyone.”
The whole crowd grew silent.
The Sarpanch continued… “It is very much evident that some dark evil force has entered this girl and all of you must be in agreement with me… Hence I, the Sarpanch, along with the Panch members have made the decision that this evil must be whipped out of this girl.”
The Sarpanch then looked towards Mehroon… “Girl… It is your choice now… A hundred lashing bare body or a thousand lashing with clothes on. Which do you ask for?”
Mehroon looked up at the Sarpanch and almost smiled… “A thousand lashings would be great sir.”
Fatima intervened quickly and started to jerk Mehroon… “Are you mad? A thousand…”
She then turned to the Sarpanch and clasping her hands in prayer form began to beg the Sarpanch… “Sir… You know my girl is not what she used to be. It is the evil within her that is speaking. A hundred lashings… bare body. She chooses that. Ignore what she said earlier. No way can she bear a thousand lashings. Please sir.”
“Your choice… A hundred lashings… bare body. So be it!” The Sarpanch spoke. “Get her tied to the palm tree.”
Mehroon did not speak any more. She had fought her last battle to try and save whatever dignity she had left, but her mother had taken that too away from her. She only stood there in silence like a statue with her head down and a smile on her face which could have meant so many things if anyone would have cared to see it.
Two huge man came and caught Mehroon by the arms and dragged her to the palm tree which was standing tall at a few feet distance from where the girl was.
In one pull, they tore open the saree which Mehroon had been wearing. For the second time in twenty-four hours, Mehroon was standing completely naked. Only the last time there was just one man raping her, but this time there was the entire village staring at her.
Mehroon did not try to fight back or say anything. She had given herself up completely to whosoever wanted to do whatsoever with her.
She was then made to hug the palm tree and her hands were tied around it.
The two man then got their long whips. The crowd kept watching as though it was an episode of Mahabharat that came on Doordarshan every Sunday morning. No one spoke a word. Only Fatima fell to ground crying silently as she turned her face away from her daughter.
The lashing began.
Swwwissshhh… The whip made a sound as the two man lashed their whips in the air.
Mehroon could feel her heart skip a beat.
The first strike was made. The cracking sound that the whip made while hitting against Mehroon’s back raised goosebumps in the body of every spectator present there. A red mark was left on her back.
Mehroon only closed her eyes tight and took a gulp in. Not a word came out of her mouth.
The lashing then continued in uniform pace. Second hit… Third hit… Fourth hit… Hit after hit… Mehroon’s back could barely be seen any more. It was completely red… swollen… and bleeding. But yet, not a scream, not a word came out of that little girl’s mouth. She stood there as silently as a statue and only her tears told the tail of her pain.
At the count of one hundredth lashing, the two man stopped and left the place.
The Panch members then got up and the Sarpanch announced, “The evil has been chased out of the girl’s body. She should be fine now.” and left.
Slowly, the gathered crowd also began to disperse and eventually they all left in small or large groups talking and murmuring things amongst themselves.
Only Fatima and Mehroon were there. The sun had come down a little now and the heat had reduced. Fatima got up and ran to Mehroon. The girl was not moving. Fatima started to untie her daughter’s hand. Just as the last knot was untied, Mehroon fell to the ground. She was not unconscious, but she had nothing left in her that would help her to move or speak.
She had lost her strength… She had lost her faith… She had lost her courage… She had lost her dignity… She had lost everything in the past twenty-four hours…
Fatima tried to pick up her daughter, but failed. She saw a hand-drawn cart at a distance. Fatima ran up to the cart and began pulling it. She managed to get the cart up to the girl. She then opened her petticoat and covered Mehroon with it. Mehroon was not moving at all but only staring at her mother, while her mother kept moving around frantically trying to get her daughter on the cart.
After a lot of struggle Fatima managed to get her girl on the cart but her strength was not enough to pull the cart with the girl on it. She tried and tried, but the cart would not move.
Finally Mehroon spoke… “Ammi…”
“Yes Mehroon…” Fatima came running to the back of the cart where her daughter was lying and sat next to her. “Everything will be fine dear. Don’t worry. I’ll take you to Dr. Mukesh. He’s a good man. He’ll save…”
“Ammi…” Mehroon interfered. “Is it a curse to be born a girl in this land?”
Saying this, Mehroon closed her eyes… slowly… forever…
Fatima did not get the time to reply, but even if she would, she did not have any answers to that last question her daughter would ever ask her.
Fatima sat there… howling… crying… screaming… banging her head with her hands… banging her head on the ground… but it was all too late for anything.