One day a verbal duel took place between my grandmother and me. It so happened that I was coming back from school and my sister was just behind me. Instead of running into us, Julie flew at us at the level of 2 feet above the ground and landed a little in front of me. I was shocked as to what must have happened and then saw my grandmother coming after her… and concluded she had kicked the poor kitty.
“How dare you kick a poor little cat like that Naani?”
“I did not kick it.. why should I get into the bad book of God for some silly little stray cat by kicking it? She came in my way and I stumbled on her”
“Stumbling on cats does not make them fly, kicking will”
“I said I did not kick her.. that is it”
For some reason my sister was not saying anything and that irritated me a lot. She usually avoided arguing with grandmother and our dad. I could not help it.
My aunt rushed out to see what was happening and asked me why I was crying.
All the while Julie was sitting aside licking herself calmly.
Somehow between sobs I blurted out “This cruel old woman kicked my cat and it came flying out”
“Is that the way to talk about your grandmother?”
“May be not but let us talk about that later. Why should someone kick poor Julie?”
My aunt was confused and irritated for some reason.. but she managed to ask my grandmother ‘why did she kick the poor kitty’.
“That devil of the cat is always running between my legs and trying to kill me, I actually stumbled on it. I swear on Allah!”
“That is it. She swears and we cannot say anything more”.
“Swearing will not take away Julie’s pain”.
“Fari!… will you please SHUT UP now? When someone swears on Allah it means what they are saying is true. If not Allah will punish them. We are not to dispute this because Allah knows all”.
I was in utter confusion here because I had seen Julie fly .. and there had to be a kick behind it as she had no wings.. but here aunty was arguing that swearing on Allah meant that there was no kick. My eyes were lying. My aunt loved me and usually stood by me in most of the situations. So this was very irritating and also was irritating was the fact of my sister’s silence. May be she was tensed about the math’s test the next day or may be she had not seen Julie.
I did not argue more but decided that I had something to prove. My mind started chugging away like train engine.. chuk chuk chuk chuk.. and then flashed an idea.
I slowly slipped into a room where few things were kept on the mirror. I broke a nail polish bottle, wiped the mess with my grandma’s blouse, sprinkled face powder in all four corners of the room, made mess on the wall with my pencil and sat to do my homework . I felt Julie had been avenged and she slipped quietly near my feet and went to sleep proving me right.
I almost forgot about my avenging event by working math when shrieks and squeals made me realize the war had begun.. there they were blowing horns and inviting my army (only little me on one side all of them on the other) to fight.
Someone shouted “Fari! Why did you do this mess here?”
“I did not do anything”
“You are a liar”
“May be yes, but so are many of you”
“We want to know why you did this.”
“I did not do it and I swear on Allah that I did not do it”.
There was utter silence and shock on everyone’s face. It was like the world had stopped and stood still. Then all the muttering of Taubah Taubah started and they started to plead with God to forgive this devil child because she did not know what she was doing.
“What?” I said finally because it looked me this thing is never going to end.
“You stupid girl! How dare you swear on Allah just like that and that too on a lie? Don’t you know how fierce is the fire in hell?”
“Now you are not trusting Allah because you are not believing when I am swearing on him. That will make you accompany me to hell”
“How can we trust you when we can see what you have done here? Nobody came here and no one is insane to do this”.
“So when you see something and you are sure, you can question the swearing on Allah but I cannot?”
It was at this time in argument that my dad walked in. My grandmother gave a dramatic explanation of everything and finally it was the matter of me swearing falsely in the name of Allah which was presented in fluorescent words.
“This girl needs to learn right from wrong and there is no more room for explanation. She needs to be punished”. Said my dad…
So when my mother fretted (she never wanted any of the child physically punished) all watched when a nylon wire was brought, twisted and used as a whip to lash my legs. Yeah! Only legs. Meanwhile I was asked to say sorry to God and promise to never insult him in such way. I did not. I was hurting very badly and my skin had given way one or two places making it bleed a bit. But no! I had decided not to give in and it was Dad who gave up after 6-7 lashes. My grandmother smirked and unfortunately I saw that. I could not forgive her easily for that. My aunt wept and tried to pacify me but she could not even make any eye contact with me. I was not going to look at anyone of them. I was wild, angry and felt I have been wronged. For many days to come I was quite most of the time and just gave angry stares at my family when they tried to talk to me. I did not ask for food and my mother had to remember to feed me something. I stopped allowing her to comb my hair, help me have bath etc. I created my own island in the house and started living on that island and meanwhile unknown to anyone, unheard by anyone.. secretly I had decided that God was my enemy like my grandmother.
[A note to new readers.. - My blog posts under the label autobiography is true incidents from my childhood which had made huge impact on my own personality. My blog posts are a part of my journey into my troubled past. By allowing the child (me in my younger days) who suffered because she did not have anyone to share her confusions with or to tell whatever she wants to. I am allowing my younger self to go through catharsis so that my present will be free from the past. This particular incident changed the way I look at belief and faith in God forever...