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“I wish I were a boy” By: Saeeda Batool

“I wish I were a boy.” The sentence which comes out of my mouth occasionally. I usually think why did God send me as a girl? Why I am not a boy? It seems a punishment to be a girl. If God ever ask me, “what do you want?” I would say do not send me on the earth as a girl.

The day when I used the sentence (I wish I were a boy.) the most. I thought if I were a boy, I would never be hurt deeply.

It was a hot summer day, after teaching the students I got free at 2:00 PM. everybody was waiting for their drivers to pick them up including me. One by one everyone left, and I was alone sitting and waiting when the driver called and said, “I have got an urgent work I cannot come now, I can come after two hours” I got furious but could not say anything. I had no other option except waiting.

I was sitting and waiting under the shade of the tree with the heavy load which hardly my arms could carry.

One of my students, Mehrish Joel, came to me. We talked for an hour. Mehrish is a Christian and her mother works at school, she makes tea for the teachers and maintains the kitchen and staffroom. She was given a small quarter with one room at school. Mehrish’s mother came to me and insisted me to visit her home. I went inside, her mother told me how helpless is she, that even sometimes they do not have meals for eating. I was touched to hear that, in that room Mehrish, her mother, her grandmother and two younger brothers lived and their father had passed away. After twenty minutes when I came out, someone told me that the driver had come when he saw no one at the gate he went back.

As soon as, I heard this, I got worried. I wanted to make a call but I found my cellphone battery dead. On top of that, my driver was a rude man and I did not want to call the furious man second time.

Late in the afternoon, I left the school alone with heavy loads in my both hands. My stomach was rumbling. I really did not know whether it was due to the fear of streets alien to me or was it due to hunger. I had never been out of my area alone. Everybody was staring at me, their gaze were eating me up inside. I could not see any female far away. My eyes returned to my heavy bag in one hand and students copies in my other hand it made me sadder. My cheeks were burning with shame for being alone in such unfamiliar roads. It was a hot blistering day, I was walking and thinking I wish I were a boy. If I were a boy I would have a car, a bike or a bicycle at least. What a bullshit! That girls cannot ride a bike or a bicycle. I said to myself if I were a boy I could comfortably walk on the streets without having to face the strange looks or putting up with nasty remarks.

It was, by far, the hottest day of the year. I reached near the check post with the loads on my either hands, my palms wet, my knees trembling. I came out of Cantt and waited for an Auto Rickshaw. I felt as if my fear was visible on my face. I tried to look confident and decided to stop an Auto Rickshaw. Something crossed my mind, it was a drama which I had watched a night ago. Where the young girl stopped taxi and asked the taxi driver to drop her home. Unfortunately, in the way to home taxi driver attacked the girl, stole her belongings and killed her brutally. I pictured myself in place of her and got badly tensed. Many Auto Rickshaw passed by but I decided to stop an old man driving Auto Rickshaw. Saying to myself that, if an old man attacks me I have enough power to handle him.

My mind was abuzz with so many things that suddenly I heard a bullet sound, my heart dropped. The sound was very near it had frightened me badly, not because the sounds were foreign to me, being Hazara many times I had heard the horror able sound. First time I heard it when I was in class fifth it was 2004. After that, many times I had seen my house shook whenever bomb exploded on Alamdar Road.

While standing I was thinking,

It’s done, now it’s my turn to die, first bullet missed but the second bullet would kill me. My distinctive feature have made me recognizable. They would shot me because I am Hazara and Shia. Is it really fault to be Hazara or Shia? In my mind, I had almost dig my grave to the same graveyard where last Friday I went and saw hundreds of martyred grave. One of the graves was my classmates Kaniz Kauser’s who martyred in attack on Shia pilgrimage bus near Mustung. I was saying to myself I do not want to die, at least not now, not at this age, but if this is the end of my life then what a pitiable end. I was muttering prayers and pleading God for my long live. A part of me was feeling happy that I am a girl and through my veil I can hide myself that I am Hazara so that I would not be killed and I would be safe.

I whirled around, ten steps ahead on my right, I saw a group of middle aged man. I sensed they were fighting that I heard a second bullet sound. It sent a shiver down my spine. I wished that I were a boy. If I were a boy I would have run but how awkward it seems for a girl running on the road! Being a girl my legs did not dare to run. My heart was heavy with a sadness. I feel jealous of the freedom of the wind and the boys, and wish I have the same freedom. I felt if there will not be anyone on the road I must have burst into tears. I felt if I do not control myself, tears would roll down my cheeks. I remember vividly, my lips moved in silent prayers. Saying to God, “please God take me home safe and sound.” By saying this, I stopped the Auto Rickshaw. I felt a bit relax when the driver talked in my language, “koja Maire.” “Where do you want to go?” I said, “Alamdar Road.” I was aware that my voice was cracking with tension.

I sat on Auto Rickshaw, let out a deep sigh, tears finally pricked in my eyes. I wiped it and arranged my things properly.

In a minute, the Auto Rickshaw reached near the Melak Hall. The FC officer checked the Auto and said he cannot move ahead since he had no registration card. I came out of rickshaw with a sinking heart. While standing and waiting for another rickshaw, I was feeling myself desolate, small and silly. Being a girl I had to face the piercing gazes of people again. The staring eyes hit me like a sharp pain in the chest. I murmured again, “I wish I were a boy.”

After a while, I got a rickshaw. I reached home and found my parents worrying. They asked, “What happened? Why are you late? We were worried.” So many words piled up inside my chest, I opened my mouth to answer but no sound came out of it. After a second I said the driver was very late. I said so, because I wanted to shorten the conversation. I went to my room, took the pillow, as soon as my head hit the pillow my eyes welled with tears. I said to myself, “if I were a boy, would I have to face these all?” I burst into tears and wished I were a boy. Why has God created me a girl? I had been through harder things in my life just because I am a girl.

I felt pity for myself and for all the girls on the earth. No matter who they are and where they live, deep inside, once in a life we all have wished to be a boy.

By: Saeeda Batool

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