Sara was awake. She had just been pretending to sleep. She sneaked out from her mamoo’s (mother’s brother)bedroom and skulked through the corridor towards the room where her mother was having a discourse with her grandparents.

“Either I would kill him or he would kill me,” her mother could barely utter these words in her quavering voice as tears streamed down her face.

“Don’t worry. He will change.” Sara’s grandfather reassured. “Just work on your temperament. No man tolerates harsh and bristling tone of a woman. You must remain abjectly submissive. Divorce is not an appropriate solution in this society. You have two daughters. People will never forgive you for this. Your daughters will never pardon you for this.”

Sara was six then. She cannot recall much of the earlier incidents but after this particular one she had made it a point to remember every bit of all the details.

Not soon enough, on one similar night, Sara’s father asked her to decide whom she would prefer living with. Furthermore, he emphasised that her sister and she would be allowed to meet only once a year as her parents would satiate their parenthood by dividing the responsibilities. Sara cried all night. It was not just going to be the division of their obligations towards them; it would have been severance of the bond between Sara and her 6-month old sister, Aisha.

Nothing happened. They were parents to two daughters. The society would not have let them lived.

Years passed and Sara saw her father whanging his wife with wooden stick, burning her shawl, hurling hot tea on her, slapping her in front of her children and a few other things which cannot be categorised as physical abuse. Abusing her with words such as jaahil (illiterate) was surely an act of mental torment which, in Sara’s opinion, is as equal a crime as physical thwacking.

Sara’s mother mostly used to weep and yell at her father in reaction, but she does remember her hitting him with her sandal once. After all, the bruises she hid by applying concealer and the ruptured capillaries she bandaged after being hit vigorously with wooden sticks could be countered once in a blue moon with fraying of his skin with the touch of leather.

However, Sara did not even have this option to avail. She was very well aware of the chafing that reddens the skin after being slapped, the ache that does not let the inflicted one to sleep after being hit with a plate on arm, the distress and agony that haunts an innocent mind for a lifetime after being rebuked and castigated by none other than the parents themselves, and the tumefaction that occurs when one tries to hold back tears.

After every such traumatic episode of violence, furiousness and blame-game, Sara used to set up a court in her mind, her being the judge and her parents being the perpetrators. She used to weigh each of their faults by determining who initiated it and who reacted inappropriately.Bit by bit, this turned her into psychotic loony and she was rendered incapable of befriending anyone of her age. She started mistrusting people, doubted their intentions and gradually became sceptical about each and everything.

Nevertheless, despite anything and everything to the contrary, she became a mother to her baby sister. In her she found the most trustworthy confidant… her best friend… her second self.

In the midst of this extreme chaos and havoc, Sara’s parents forgot to be… parents. She would look for the time when she could actually talk about the problems in her life but whenever she did, they discussed theirs.

“You know, I would not have married your mother had I met her whole family,” her father would say.

“I wonder what my parents saw in him. The quality of showing exaltation of your character and conduct in public doesn’t actually make you a noble person,” her mother would claim.

Sara’s parents did not have time for her. But she made sure that she did have enough seconds and minutes and hours for her sister.

Meanwhile, her malady only heightened. Her father had stopped beating them but sometimes words are more brutal than lashes.

Sara was finally successful in making a bunch of friends in university but, to the society’s disgust, who would love being friends with a girl with swollen eyes? A girl who has nothing to narrate but stories of her parents fighting? A girl who had become so serious and sober that she had actually forgotten how to laugh?

She disagreed to the definition of ‘man’ as given in dictionaries, as being an adult human male. For her the word ‘man’ was synonymous to tyrant, oppressor and slapper. For her being a woman was not less than a stigma… a lifelong struggle of remaining submissive and the inferior one and yet to scuffle to be polite to those who cause infliction.

From a very tender age Sara was told and made to realise that she was a girl… a daughter… a blessing that could be easily and gladly replaced with a boy… a child after whose birth her parents wished for a baby boy… a human, who despite all her efforts and endeavours to be her parents’ son, would always remain the inferior one… a collection of flesh and blood whose different formations led to the development of a few unwanted organs in which lied her family’s honour… a soul who had no option but to suffer at the hands of misogyny she had and would always be facing at every step of her life.

But Sara’s parents had nothing to worry about her getting involved with someone, something again intolerable in our ‘society’. She had not been left capable enough to trust anyone.

She was now twenty-four years of age. Her parents still wrangle over petty issues. Her father still threatens to divorce her mother. Yet, be that as it may, Sara is no more fearful of these quarrels. She actually wishes her parents had got divorced several years ago. She really yearns for having been aborted… that affliction would have definitely been much less than this suffering as the former does not involve memories and their retention.

Sara is looking for her real culprits. The ‘society’. The social organisation comprising people who do not mind their own business… who love to earwig the shrieks and weepings coming from neighbourhood but will never come to help the ones being subjected to beating… who do not come to stop the head-of-the-house from inflicting repeated blows on other members of the family and throwing brittle decoration pieces but who would definitely be the first ones to blame the mother of two daughters of having been titled as a ‘divorced’. Yes dear society, YOU are the actual baddies and villains. YOU are the guilty party. YOU are responsible for turning Sara’s life into a mess. It is because of YOU that Sara lost faith in men. It is because of YOU that she does not want to get married for she does not want to be a mother to another bunch of psychopaths.

It is a request. Kindly stop destroying the lives of others’ toddlers and your forthcoming children. Do not transform the strength of women called ‘divorce’ as a pitiable and deplorable title. If you please, be courageous enough to terminate this snowball effect of making our present and future generations into lunatics.Have the goodness to let people take their decisions without being afraid of your taunts and mocking. After all, indifference is, in certain cases, a blessing.