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Beneath the Veneer of Vanity by Ami

April 22, 2010

Khadeeja was our queen. Stories passed down from our grandmothers tell us that she ruled us – entranced in the throes of passion as she was – firmly, ably and with conviction.

The Khadeeja of my dreams should essentially be a queen – bighearted and loving as she is.

And yet…

She is trodden, shoved, pushed, pulled, raped, bitten, slapped for effect and mistress-flaunted upon. She is beaten and defeated – and labeled as deserving it.

Khadeeja applies foundation. It covers the welt running down the side of her cheek – why garudhiya, when kiru garudhiya was explicitly asked for? She has a scarf. She wraps it around the tell-tale marks from the menacing tentacles that squeezed her neck last night – the shirt had crinkles in it.
She buttons up her shirt to the hilt; it covers the angry bite that drew blood, right above her breasts – because it felt like a night to make things interesting. She puts on oversized sunglasses, that it’s in fashion is a consolation, but more so as it conceals the bluish-blackish swelling on her right eye – why are you checking my messages? She slips bangles on her arms, over large, ugly bruises – you did not respond nicely enough to my mother’s inquiry about your tailor.

Why does she put up with it?

For her children, she would tell you. For her mother, her father, her brothers, her sisters. To avoid her sister-in-law’s thriving salon business being shushed into possible bankruptcy. What will little Umar’s best friend’s mom think if she found out, Khadeeja thinks. You will not bring shame on this family she has been told. Who will take you, at your age with two kids, society conditions her.

Society expects her to be true to her man. Greeting cards tell her he is her better half. The religious programme on radio tells her a husband comes before a mother, for God’s sake! (Didn’t the Hindi song tell her the same? Bhala Hai Bura Hai Jaisa Bhi Hai Mera Pati Mera Devata Hai? Roughly translated; however he is, my husband is my God). Her neighbour who hears her screams, albeit stifled, whispers to her to grin and bear it – it’s not the end of the world. Her children give her pleading looks. Her aunt has told her, women are but dirt – such simple creatures. Just grow your beautiful hair long, it is for him to wipe his feet with, and that my dear, should be your privilege.


The minute a hand is raised, the sky has fallen! With every utterance of abuse, it is the end of the world! Every unwelcome advance brings with it doom! It cannot be worse than that.

Women in bondage! Break the cycle of violence and raise yourselves against spousal abuse. Instill respect and tell them they shall be respected in return. Throw away your scarves, your dark shades, your fear – reach out and reveal your inner glow. Rehendhi’s – walk with dignity, because you are queens and you hold up this world.

… and to everything else, let them make their own sodding kiru garudhiya for all you care!

2 Comments leave one →
  1. dhona permalink
    April 25, 2010 4:38 am

    if women stand up to protect their own rights rather than hiding them selves under a pieace of cloth, then and only then we can make a change. a piece of cloth or fabric cannot show the purity of a womans heart but it sure can show the burning insequirity of her mans heart. in these kinds of situations women should divorce their husbands and find a secure stable ground to become more independent.

    • dhonkalo permalink
      July 5, 2010 10:51 am

      hehe … the “moya hiyaal”

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