Writing Competition Entry: The journey of a girl from Shazia to Sikander. by Huma Ali

How can a girl be so different from other girls? Different like other girls play with dolls and one girl dresses in boys’ outfits and plays marbles with other boys. Other girls wear glamorous dresses and foot wears but she wears an untidy boyish dress and sleepers. Other girls buy bangles and mehendi but she buys crackers to blast. Other girls are afraid of suntan but she runs after vehicles and tries to climb on them under extreme sun rays. I have seen girls getting ready for parties but she gets ready to go to karate to bite the bullets of her life. Girls hesitate while talking to opposite gender but she twists their hands when she finds them cheating with her during a game. Does she do it intentionally or has she been forced to change herself by the male dominated society? Is she not interested to live a life as a girl? Why is it important for her to dress as a boy to meet the world? Believe me the answers to these questions will bring multitude of drops of pietistic water in your eyes.

A vein man of society tortures his wife when she can’t give birth to a boy. A girl named as “Shazia” when sees her mother getting tortured every other day because she is a girl not a boy, she starts hating her being. She thinks girls are considered as the dust particles in the society. This plucks her from her real delight of being a girl.  She starts having a boyish haircut and getting dressed like boys and comes out of home to compete with the world as their favorite creature. Her appearance gives the society a taste of its own medicine. No one can recognize her as “Shazia” now but “Sikander”. Now she is living a life of a boy better than boys. During the day, she does every other work that a boy takes pride in doing it but at night she is beaten by her father because of her appearance and a taunt is passed over that a leopard cannot change his spots. Yet again it makes no sense to her as she has just started enjoying her life.

She does not go to school as she has never been given importance enough to get education and compete with others with her pen. Unsurprisingly, she fills her pocket with marbles to play while others go to school every morning. The whole day she roams here and there without a slight hesitation of being a girl. Till late night, she plays outside with boys but who cares. Her mother has no rights to say a single word since she has been crushed by her father and her father himself has no concern with her if she dies or remains alive. But it pinches a lady in her street to see her miserable condition. She tries to convince her to get admitted in her school. She is teaching in an informal school which aims to educate children who could not study because of child labor. Eventually, she starts going to school and feels weird in new environment and new people around. She sits with boys not girls. During the break, other girls play skipping but she practices reciting “Noha” and mourns with boys and she seldom enjoys teasing her female classmates with other boys. But she does not continue going to school for long but still she is grateful to the woman who has at least taught her how to write her name.

As time elapses, her growing age makes her realize that she cannot be Sikander anymore and needs to put on hijab now but she is not comfortable to come out in a girl’s outfit and how can she play with boys as Shazia? Then she decides not to go out of home for sometimes. She does not come out for two years. God knows better how did she pass those two years but one thing is for sure that people have forgotten Sikander now. After two years, she comes out as Shazia but you cannot find her as graceful as other girls. Though she looks like a girl but internally she is the same gallant Sikander. The way she talks, walks and communicate is quite boyish. And the situation around her has quite changed as her mother is no more with her and her father is out of country. Now she is the one who nourishes her younger siblings as a mother and father both.

A new twist comes to her life when she gets her life partner who already has a six-year-old daughter. She does not know how to throw tantrums like other typical girls who have got some ideals regarding their life partner so she accepts it. Now it is the first time she is going to wear a fancy dress and what mesmerizes me the most is that she might be the first girl who gets her ear pierced on her engagement day. It is the first time she sees her beauty but again she is not comfortable in that heavy dress and jewelry. She is getting anxious to take them off. Finally, when she takes them off, she meets her daughter “Zainab” as a gift of her engagement. Her fiancé gives her the responsibility of his daughter since he is leaving for Australia to earn his living.

Now she has turned a mother in an early age and she is doing her best to be a better mother. She provides that little girl everything that she missed in her childhood. She has admitted her in school and they have both got admission in an English Academy also to learn English. She buys her every little thing she desires for. She has bought a car also she drives everywhere she wants to. She gives lift to the people on the road while she is driving. She has joined her karate club again. She is living her life in a way she wants now. She has been through tough time but you never hear her complaining about anything in her life because she is happy with her life. When you talk to her in person, you cannot realize her gloomy past. However, God knows better what more ups and downs she is going to face further in her life but it is for sure that she will face all of them with great courage

When I see her, I get the motivation that every girl should try to be independent and brave like her. No obstacles of society should degrade us because of being a girl. Every girl cannot live Shazia’s life but at least we can learn from her how to be strong enough to face the adversities in our life. It is the era to prove if we are not superior to man folk, we are not inferior also. We need to prove Shazia that girls are not the dust particles but the guiding light of the society which every individual need to come out of darkness.

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yumna Iftikhar

yumna Iftikhar