By Md Musharraf
They talked of how small they were, yet with dignity.
They talked of how humiliated they were, yet sheltered.
They talked of betrayal they faced, yet pretended to be loved.
They talked of brother’s love, lost on the way due to land and properties; owed.
They talked of husbands beating their wives, yet pretending to be a perfect practicing Muslim; destined to be a Jannati.
They talked of lovers; promising to spend life, yet broke hearts and crushed innumerable souls.
They talked of insecure women, tired and wrinkled with their husbands’ gift. Gift of beatings and scrapings on their skin. Gift of hair torn out of their heads, and the pain tinctured into the skin.
After all the necessary yet unnoticed talks; born out of boredom and exasperation,
One of them walked into the kitchen, taking frozen beef out of the fridge, marinating it with love.
Love born out of husbands’ gift, love born out of fear; it was not!
It was love born out of gifts…. of beating and scraping, hair torn out of heads and pain tinctured into the skin.
Beef, somehow, felt soft and suffered. A story involved and a tale to tell. Hands shivered as if she could feel the love (born out of husbands’ gift) on the softness of the beef. The cruelty it faced and hardness it cherished; yet the softness it possessed.
She couldn’t marinate beef; the sun took leave and husbands came with their gifts; as always!
Next time, they talked of beef; thrown out on the verandah.
Next time, they talked of yellow turmeric-paste used in the marinade; splattered on the verandah with its anti-inflammatory properties; yet it looked as inflammatory as their husbands’ gift.
Md Musharraf hails from the silk city of Bhagalpur (Bihar), who believes it to be a place of intellectual labors and hard-working scholars. He has completed his graduation from Sharda University in B.A.(Hons)English and has published with Half Baked Beans and Select Publishers.
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