As her trembling soul waited for the next man to enter her forlorn life through that dingy door, she raised a question to God: Why am I used like a toy? My body is served to quench the thirst of sadistic men, no one looks beneath this body. That girl of eight, ten years back did not know what the daughter of a devadasi (temple prostitute) was destined to be, until that fateful day when she was sent to the brothel and undressed by a man 30 years older to her, for a mere ₹200.
God, do I not deserve a life of dignity and respect? My swollen eyes, wounded forehead because of the constant thrashing (by the devilish men for reasons unknown to my anguished soul) and my bruised back does not remind your fellow children of what the true meaning of humanity is? Am I not a human? Do I not have feelings and emotions?
A Modern Day Fairy Tale
Hideous. Ghastly. Hateful.
The words dominated her mind as she glanced at the mirror. Her world was clearly shattered. Her vividly imaginative mind allowed her to believe that the mirror was taunting her for her looks and questioning her beauty. She shut her eyes tightly, for she wasn’t in fear of the world but herself. Thoughts about her failed marriage and its aftermath petrified her soul to such an extent that she broke down.
There were no birds on the window seal to lend their wonderful voices and weave a song to calm her horrified soul. No mice to bring in some comical touch to her life’s dreary story. She dreamt of a Prince Charming but her Prince’s charm was a mere disillusion. She uttered a yelp to her Godmother, for she wanted the magic of life to be back, so that she could be the same shimmering herself that she used to be six months ago.
All of a sudden, she realised something. Her conscience hit upon her so hard that she remained still for another hour. Then, the most unexpected situation occurred. She stood up, gaped with astonishment as she took a look at her disfigured face, which was once as beautiful and blissful as it could ever be, until the attack of sulphuric acid which left her with one eye blinded and epithelial cells of the skin, lifeless. But, enough is enough.
Neither was she a damsel nor in distress, anymore. She couldn’t be a lifeless log floating in the river of life with its aim being nothing.
‘I’m beautiful. The most glamorous girl I’ve ever known. How does it matter to me what the mirror says about the beauty which is only virtual, far from the real. I no longer wait for my knight in shining armour to enter into the scene as a saviour and shield me from the criticism I may have to face. I-am-my-own-true-hero. I’m bold and unsuspiciously stunning. And I need not prove that to someone else.’
For the very first time, she could see herself smiling, that curve on her face sparkled like a gem. She had made up her mind to live, live for the sake of herself and her family which loves her way too much, irrespective of the drastic change(albeit virtual).
She finally found her own Charming hero who would love her because of the precious inner beauty which no one could ever steal from her, the wonderful Godmother who would guide her through her struggles, the birds and mice who would dance in jolly when she would attain the success she’s striving for. All of them were right in front of her, as she gazed at the mirror with a novel aspiration.
~Anshika M Jhamb