Essay: Small Minds

As a child I was hurt many times. Once I fell off my bicycle and hurt my leg. Another time, I fell on the hard, concrete ground while racing with my friends. But those were the little pains that disappeared within a few weeks or months. In fact, as a little girl, those pains did not even matter to me much. Spraining my ankle, or falling off the staircase or getting a tight slap from my teacher did not do me any real harm and I quickly laughed away those problems like they never existed. But today, as a grown up woman, things are different. My suffering is different. I have no clue how to deal with it. And I don’t know what’s worse, the physical abuse where you actually hit someone, turn them blue-black, injure them and make them bleed or the verbal abuse where you damage a person emotionally, harm their reputation, and leave them with scars on their souls. All I know is that while the former can be treated with medication, the latter is a damage so deep, it can’t be undone and you leave the person in question bleeding till eternity.

guys-and-girls-friendsThe easiest way people hurt others today even without touching them is by gossiping about them and ruining their credibility. For some people gossiping is a way to entertain themselves. They talk ill about other people to make themselves feel better. However, in that they ignore the wreck they create out of someone. Imagine a girl with a clean character talking to an equally good boy. They could be friends. They could be cousins. They could be lovers. Or they could be nothing. The possibilities are endless. But if you are judgemental, the first thought to enter your mind is that that boy and girl are involved. And the next day you’d speak your thoughts in front of a dozen other people. And before you know it, there will be groups of people talking about how shameful they both are. Even when no soul has ever seen that girl and boy in any inappropriate position, even when nobody has ever heard them talking dirty, even when nobody has ever seen them ignoring their work because of each other, their names have been pulled into dirt. 

office-gossipWhat’s the most painful part here is that I am talking about educated people. People who know that backbiting is a sin. I’m referring to people who know the meaning of “Live and let live” and yet they are the ones who will go to any length to splash mud and sully someone’s fine character. I mean being an educated, broad-minded individual, the first lesson I have learnt is that I must mind my own business and never judge others. But when I see myself surrounded by educated people eager to destroy someone’s character, I feel that our society needs a shift in its mindset. And when I talk about society, I am reminded of something even more grotesque than gossip-mongers. Our society’s standards! I mean people actually believe that to be accepted, to be part of the society, you need to do what others are doing. Now isn’t that brutal? I mean you think you are enlightened but if someone is different, you wouldn’t accept them. Perfect!

Let’s suppose a girl lives away from home. There could be a number of reasons why she is not with her family. Maybe she likes to live an independent life. Maybe she wants to explore and discover life on her own. Maybe there are conflicts at home and she is unable to face them. Maybe she is an orphan. Maybe she has ditched her family because she despises them. The possibilities are again endless. But then if you are judgemental, the first thought that enters your mind is that that girl is on the wrong and she has ditched her loved ones. Even though that girl in question has never disclosed her reasons, has never discussed her private life, but you, being a gossip-monger love to bring people down. So, first you cook something up about that girl and the next day you serve everyone with your self-created holy truth. There! You have successfully muddied an honest, squeaky-clean girl’s reputation yet one more time.

1002_muharramAnd who is that girl? I’m sure you have already guessed it by now. Yes, that girl is me! Being highly sensitive that I am, I do not even know how to deal with this agonizing ride. I won’t ever cry in front of you for I am too proud to bend in front of anyone except Allah Almighty. I put up an appearance of a strong woman. Even when I’m not strong, I will continue to portray myself strong in front of the world. But the chaos stays inside me. The disoriented, unsettling thoughts explode in my mind. I feel helpless. I am wounded. I am crying. The only reason I’m being inflicted is because I do not follow the norms. I can’t fit in. I can’t laugh with you. I won’t indulge in small talk. I won’t sit with you and talk nonsense about other people. I will quietly deal with this pain, this shock, this injury in my own way.

And that boy? How can I forget him? He is the only one who has the courage to stand by me. Even though he was fed insanity, and bitterness many times by many different people, he chose to stick by me. He saw the real person that I am. He saw the vulnerable girl hiding behind my tough persona. He counts my faults, and criticizes me in front of me, in private; not like those who trash me in my absence. For this and so much more, I respect him. You want to know what’s going on between us? Well, does it even matter now? I mean you have already decided that we have something going on between us. So, let it just be it. You don’t care about the truth. You only care about what you think! And your thoughts are a clear reflection of who you are, not who I am and not who that boy is!

Written By Shumila Malik

 

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