Mommy; Shanawar Firdous

My mother has the saddest story imaginable: fell in love as a teenenager with a wrong man; disowned by her family for marrying him; dumped by her husband in a maternity ward; dead at 24 due to lack of treatment.
She was like a child killed by a bunch of serialkillers; like a flower extinguished in her full bloom.
In a strange prenomination, this was one of her last diary entries


My Mom
Here sleeps the girl
Whose eyes sold sleep for Dreams
Who spent sleepless nights of youth
Strange was her hope
She signed a bond with Destiny
For a mere half-filled Desire
She mortgaged All she had



She would have been 55 this year but instead she died in 1985, barely 24.


A nun told me in childhood that some souls are too good to live in this ugly world so they leave. Its an explanation I have always clung to about my mother’s life.

She was too lavender for her circumstances which were burgundy with blood and pitch dark with evil.

Mummy was a very pretty child who liked dolls and frocks. Her extensive saree collection and chiffons were the only thing that she left after she went into dust,

My parents were cousins, my father visited my grandfather's house when he moved to their city for education and my grandfather ever conscious of helping a child study--let him stay there.


According to my mother’s diaries, my father ( a young man of 24) seduced her when she was barely a child of 12. She probably thought it was love; it wasn't: it was a portal to a lifetime of abuse and blackmail which would result in her murder.

My grandfather was a prosperous civil engineer, posted in cities,  while my father's family hailed from a village.So my socially ambitious father concocted a plan of using my mother as a meal ticket to forever blackmail my grandfather for money.  


And ths began a relationship between a 12 years old child and a 25 years old man. When I read her diaries as an adult, I learned how abusive my parents emotional relationship was;

My father constantly criticising her cooking, her looks, her personality--he gaslighted her till she had no self esteem and no belief in herself.


In her diary, she wrote this about their relationship
Petal to petal, spore to spore
Rumors of love, spread, door to door
Like the sweet scent, of a blooming rose
He courted me, ever so slow
How can I say, he has left me
He is here, no more
The infamy of this truth
I cannot ignore
Wherever he went; he returned
He came back to me
His fickle virtue is enough
To keep me happy
May, he, be in your arms
The one, you adore
May, the night of separation
Never knock on your door


He routinely slapped her even before they got married and worse --- he sexually exploited her. They had begun a sexual relationship when she barely in her teenage.

This was a very crucial form of blackmail because as a woman in 1980's after being sexually involved with my father --- my mother would have never been able to leave him emotionally or socially.

And when the time came, my father used this trump card to his advantage.

He also cheated on her with other women, hit on her rich friends. Rather than a fiancé; she was a slave locked in a cage that she could not escape;a cage filled with humiliation and blackmail where she suffered everything because she thought once you are physically involved with a man you can't leave him even if he hits you/ abuses you ---- you have to stay with him otherwise you are a whore!

When my mother turned 22 and finished her masters in psychology from Punjab University --- she got engaged to my father.

And my father demanded a huge dowry so he could go to UK for his LLM. When my maternal grandfather refused to give so much money, my father threatened that he would break the engagement and tell the world my mother was a bad woman and that's why he was not marrying her.


Her father asked her not to marry the man blackmailing them both and asking for money

My grandfather said that there would be many other chances and no one can damage her reputation and that she should walk away.
Because if she married him, this blackmail would never end

Certain turns come inside the life of a person where we make decisions which forever change the direction of our life.


Mummy took the wrong turn when she married my dad.

My mother made the wrong decision and chose my father; she would pay for it with her life in just two years. My father had gaslighted my mother that he would throw letters in Punjab University about her and she would be ruined forever and no one would marry her.

And they married, in 1984: and my father received 10 Lakhs ( about a million rs today)  for his UK visit and LLM.

After a few months, he returned sans his degree and claimed that he was deported: He sent my mother to my grandfather's house again for money where my maternal uncle ( another psychopath) who beat her and told her to never enter her parent's house again or he would kill her.

So here was a young woman with a child sandwiched between her family which has disowned her and an abusive husband

In one of her last diary entries of 1985-- she writes that she wishes she was dead because she felt trapped.

After that what happened regains murky to this day---- she was pregnant again and somehow she ended up taking abortion pills( my father says it was her decision because she didn't want a baby and my grandparents say that he forced her to it )
Truth s buried with my mother.

As a depressed woman, my mother could have carelessly taken the pills or my father could have  forced her to it knowing a late term abortion would definitely kill her

Even more worryingly, he dumped her in a Catholic charity hospital which explicitly forbids abortion ( which confirms my personal hypothesis that he wanted to kill her)

In that hospital, the nuns belatedly and -fatally-tried to save the fetus since abortion was outlawed and my mother lied to them that she had suffered a miscarriage; never telling the truth that she had induced the abortion till the septicemia from infected tissue spread in her body.

For two days, my mother remained there unattended, my grandmother ( in the love of her son) did not visit her own dying daughter;


My mother was there in a hospital room without food or medicines that she needed.
My mother pregnant, days before her death

I wonder often what she thought at that time.

How alone she must have felt!

How helpless!


I only got to celebrate one birthday with my mother in her hospital room when she was dying, by then the poison of a dead fetus had spread into my mother’s body as antibiotics injections could not be administered since she had no attendant to bring those injections.

I can't imagine what she must have felt leaving a child behind among people who had been so cruel to her. I am told, she tried to kill me; delirious with fever and perhaps thinking why she was leaving a child among people who had abandoned her --- she tried to throw me ( her one year daughter) from a hospital bed but a nurse took me from her hands.

My mother didn't even have the place to be buried on her family's graveyard because they had disowned her: she was buried on the land of the man who killer her: my father ( and who never felt any remorse ever in life for what he had done)

I think of my mother when I look at the purest things in the world: lilies; children; butterflies; unicorns; white silk and good souls who leave this impure world.

My mummy gave world love; world gave her back hate.

She deserved love because her heart was pure but every connection in her life was false.She was the loneliest person in the world. I doubt she tasted the love in her life from anyone.

But I love my mother, I mourn her in every twilight of my life. And I would mourn her as long as I live.  
I pray to God to grant her peace that she did not have in this world and that she may be among lilies and lavender butterflies and pink flowers that she loved embroidering so much.


I don't have any answers for the tragedy of her life; I don't know why bad things happen to good people--I believe only God knows the answer to that!

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