[ultimate_heading main_heading=”Where is My Language? short story by Kamana Aryal – Issue.XXVII : April 2017 ” main_heading_color=”#1e73be” sub_heading_color=”#8224e3″ spacer=”line_with_icon” spacer_position=”bottom” line_style=”dotted” line_height=”1″ line_color=”#1e73be” icon_type=”custom” icon_img=”id^48|url^http://ashvamegh.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/Ashvamegh-ICO.jpg|caption^null|alt^Ashvamegh Journal Icon|title^Ashvamegh ICO|description^null” img_width=”48″ main_heading_style=”font-weight:bold;” main_heading_font_size=”desktop:34px;” line_width=”3″]something new…[/ultimate_heading]

About the Author:

Kamana Aryal is a student of M.A. English at Tribhuvan University, Kirtipur, Nepal. She occasionally writes short stories to convey her thoughts. She is from Kathmandu.


In Search of Language

I was locked inside the room for four days. “Where is didi mummy? I have not seen her from last two days and why this door is closed. Hey, who is inside, please open the door” my eight years old brother said. I was about to forward my step to open the latch, my mother barked, “Hey you naughty, don’t go there. Didi is sick. You can’t meet her otherwise you will be sick too.” My mother sneaked into my room and immediately closed the door as if she was about to shoot by a gun. “I have brought dinner for you and keep the dishes apart after cleaning them”, she said. The door was again latched. To kill one day was like to slaughter a whole year. I did not even dare to peep outside from the window. I felt that even a detained person can have better situation than me. I used to sneak off to the bathroom with fear to change my pads avoiding the eyes of my father and brother. Naively, I asked “Mummy I am really tired to do all these which are not less than life punishment. Even I can’t meet my father and brother, why?” “What are you saying? It’s not only you, all the girls have to do this during their first menstruation otherwise god will curse us. If you see your father and brother, you will commit sin and your sin will give agonies to them”, she omitted hastily. My tongue could not dare to utter a syllable. “It is heaven for you. In our time we had to stay far from house”. My mouth got padlocked.

“To lose confidence in one’s body is to lose confidence in oneself.”
― Simone de Beauvoir

 The thing in which we have our full right and control is our own body. We can do anything what we want with our body. But if your body is not yours than you are not alive rather you are dead. Everybody’s freedom and liberality is deeply connected with exemption of his/her body. This dream of immunity regarding body is millions mile far from women. Their body is the instrument to satiate male. They are given place in the society so that so called male can degrade them all the time to prove themselves superior. A woman when she surrenders her body to a man, she losses her all rights, power and confidence.

I remember that day when I was waiting my turn to enter the room. I was quite nervous and feeling shy, thinking how to express my problems. Suddenly, one employee uttered the number that I was keeping on my hand, “Seventeen”. “It’s me”, I said. “Please go inside the cabin, it’s your turn now”. A man of middle aged in a white apron looked me very carefully and asked, “What’s your problem.” Umm, my menstruation doesn’t happen in time and during my periods I suffer a lot from stomach pain and bleeding is really uncontrollable”. “Come lay down here”, the doctor said. He checked me. “Ok, I will prescribe you some medicine that reduces your pain and if it will not work, you have to take a step for ultrasound once.” I was lingering my head down while listening to him. I came outside the health post after getting medicine from the medicine distribution counter. “Hey!” Sudden voice came from the back, I turned back. It was the same doctor who checked me. “Don’t think too much, it’s normal, once you get married all the problems will be solved and if you want to solve the problem in very short time I can help you.” I was shocked for a moment. My lips were trembling and heart was fluttering. I was sick and condition was so demeaning. “What”, I replied. “Yes, I have helped many women personally and even I can give my address to you, you are welcome anytime.” I stumbled and frozen, wanted to scold but failed to collect the strength because a man of my father’s age is talking disgusting things and as a school girl I could not dare to answer back. This storm shook the ocean of my face. I roamed my eyes around the health post, patients were entrancing and existing. I gazed his brutal eyes, felt as if they are going to strike me right there. I run as a horse, even forgot that I was ill, reached at home; gathered some courage and shared to mother. “How could he talk such cheap and rubbish thing?” she fired with anger. But I was riddled when she said, “All males are bastard but we can’t do anything because the society points the finger towards a woman instead of pulling out such savage from the society.” Silence took place in my mouth. Wiping eye drops, I thought whole night why did not I speak? Why did I remain silent? Why could not I revolt?


Who Am I?

I remember being teased by boys while I was walking in the corridor of my college. “How beautiful eyes you have, turn back and wink upon us he he!” Violent anger came into my face but I did not resist. I was raised with the lesson that being a girl I have to be shy, silent, patient and should not give answer when boys tease you. Girls are like parrot in a cage; restricted to do anything whereas boys are free as the tiger of the jungle. My suppressed voice was humiliating me.

“Wait girls”, said I. It was almost night when we were returning from the market. I had got little wound my right foot due to the slipper so I was walking slowly back to my friends. Eyes were almost like blind because they were hugged by the darkness. Moon was playing hide and sick. Road was so calm and silent and we were feeling scary as we were passing from the jungle side of the Murgiya which had a large ground in its north. As we were about to cross the ground, harsh and noisy sound of bike came from the back. It started to circle around us. “Hey beautiful girls lets have some romance in this hot night. We are really eager to have fun with you”, two different male voices pierced into my ear. Though it was winter my whole body got sweated. Abruptly I opened my mobile and made a fake call to my mother. “Hello, mummy I am coming don’t worry. What! You are here to receive us. Where? Oh, at the end of the ground. Wait there, we are about to finish the ground.” The men run away after my call. My mind was working till late night. I could not sleep. I was moving in clockwise form on the bed. I thought if I did not make such trick what would happen to us? We were three and they were two but why we could not resist against those devils. Why our voice got dumbed? I felt coward myself. For the first time I thought that my chastity is linked with my body and I cannot hug the ‘FREEDOM’.

“Where you want to go”, bus driver said when I was running from a few distance wailing my hand. “Koteshwor.” Bus was packed with passenger. I stood up for ten to fifteen minutes then I got a window sit. “How pretty girls are in the first semester, we missed the chance to flirt with them yar”, a rough voice came from the behind. “Give your tax mam”, conductor said. I gave him 30 rupees. Again the grody voice harshed into my ear, “Beautiful girls are still not provided ID card, may be professors’ eyes are still not passing on them. Can’t see full face? Oh god mask is playing the role of a villain.” I looked around the faces of other people; everybody was lost in their own world. No one had noticed what those rascals were uttering the words directly towards me. I did not turn back; I made my head straight and looked outside the window. I was boiling with rage but voice did not dare to come out. The girl, not speaking in such matters, is considered as moral girl. What exactly morality means? What is the cure for the volcanic feelings and repressed indignation rooted inside me because of abasement all the time? I cursed myself for not defending. I felt that I’m really anonymous.

Education: You Are Not ‘Mine’

I use to feel as if I am not a part of this planet when I find my image in other women who are accustomed to be apart in their whole life. One day my father returned from his brother’s house, Barghat. My uncle is an Indian army so in his absence my cousin sister had to make the citizenship. “I am so tired. Whole day I stood up in a queue”, my father said. I asked, “She even could make her citizenship in the presence of aunt so why did you go?” “Moron, don’t u have studied father is necessary for the recognition of child, otherwise a child would be called a bastard?” My voice deemed down. Contradiction and confusions played as tempest in my mind which were raising only one question where is the woman’s place then? Are women from the ‘Pluto’? She gives birth to child but why father is needed to legalize the children as the citizen of the country?

 I found no inter connection between my bookish knowledge and practical life like the Derrida’s notion of signifier and signified. Once I was having conversation with my mother and aunt at upstairs. Unknowingly my father entranced. My aunt knelt down, veiled her head with shawl, touched the floor by forehead and bowed to my father. The next day, I asked to my father, “Buwa, why do aunts bow to you such pathetically as prisoner?” “What rubbish are you talking? It’s the identity of Nepalese women. Women who don’t follow our tradition, norms and values they are very flippant and frivolous. And you have to do same after your marriage?” I became mourn. I spun with the fine threads of subtle thought. Sometimes in rage I thought to burn down all the books which taught me women’s right, women’s empowerment, women’s education because what they teach is not in reality. Reality is very harsh and pathetic. Education does not mean only to read books and to get marks to uplift the academic career; it is also related to our social development. But it does not fit applicable in my context till now.

In my college life, I got chance to go through the feministic theories which bewildered me more. It introduced me with the reality of this patriarchal society but made me anxious as well because there is worthless of getting such knowledge as I could not practice them in reality. Once I took a microbus from Butwal to my home, Murgiya. As all the seats were packed I had to stand in the crowd. I stood up beside the left of one sit, caught its edge by one hand and hung another hand. As the bus moved, standing people were forcefully coiled with each other. The boy; whose sit I was catching, was of teenage, thin, wearing hip- pop dress and pierced his eyebrows; slightly touched my hand two times but I ignored. But suddenly someone touched me from back and when I returned the person was of middle age with black face, spectacle on the head, in formal dress and smoking. I wanted to burst out and even desired to slap but could not do so. Rather I moved ahead and stood in front of the door. Why did not I speak? I betrayed my humiliated feelings in the fake attempt to secure my so called good manners that make me a ‘GIRL’. If I would speak I would be perceived as foolish and senseless girl instead of considering those evil males negatively. My education did not work there. I realized that knowledge is only limited to the papers. If the purpose of education is to empower and civilize the human beings, then why the female are deprived to use their knowledge and wisdom as a tool to defend themselves.

“Women’s biology as an important element of women’s situation in patriarchal society where it is used to justify her oppression as other”.

-Simone de Beauvoir

As I crossed the every academic arena, the level of my knowledge was increasing as well but it made me more puzzled because it teaches me to speak for own suppression which I can’t dreamt to apply them in reality. Sometimes one question usually hunts my mind why I am reading only to turn the pages of books, to know the letters and to pass the exam for academic grade. Why I want to be educated which does not give me strength to turn back and answer when I get bullied by boys. Why am I quenching for the knowledge which does not give me liberty in my own body?


No More Than A Marionette

I remembered one incident from my intermediate level. A girl in the left corner of the last bench had lingered her head on the wall. She was whispering with the boy sitting next to him. They were sometimes whispering and sometimes pretending to look at the book. I was in the right corner of the first bench and mistakenly my eyes were falling on them. “Hey! What are you doing there? Do you come to read or kill the time? It’s ok for him but you are a girl, don’t you have any shame. How will you manage your home later? Your behavior reflects how you brought up. Flippant girl”, teacher blustered more upon girl but says very few to boy even after having equal mistakes. It made me to think that why a girl only has to give excuse when a boy is equal participant of the mistake.

“Man is defined as a human being and a woman as a female — whenever she behaves as a human being she is said to imitate the male.”
― Simone de Beauvoir

Sometimes when I used to be late to reach home at night I mostly used to hear,” it does not suit for a girl to come home late, society makes bad rumors, be concerned about our prestige in the society.” My brother, ten years younger to me, usually enters into the house with the setting sun. I have never heard him to listen such as I was habituated to listen.

One day I got the message that my friend’s father again got married after the forty five days of his first wife’s death. I regarded him negatively. When I shared this to my uncle he replied in angry mood, “who had put such nonsensical thing in your mind? He should marry otherwise who would feed him. He needs a wife for the survival who would feed and take care of him, house and the children?” “Then why maximum females do not marry recently after their husband’s death or ever?” “Stupid girl, women have much more responsibilities, they have to take care of their children and because of the children’s love they cannot marry again. And what they will do after marriage because their life is not as enthusiastic and interesting as males’. Again, a huge paradox stored in my mind because his answer made me to think that it is not only me rather the whole womankind is perceived as junk and impoverished.

I hate how I grew up because it taught me to bow down without committing mistakes. When I use to see other girls I feel as if I am looking at the mirror. Till the time of today I am habituated to listen, “Well-bred girls do not answer back. It’s a part of day to day life; it is never ending custom, so you have to unheed such matters”. But how can I ignore my humiliation, inner suppression, robbery of my language and rape of my identity. I am getting success in academic arena but failing in my identity as a girl. In the class, when the topics of gender issues are raised boys defend themselves and accuse the girls. Only they speak, most of the girls remain silent. If any girl argues, her mouth is made shut. Her voice has been ceased. Although the teacher says,” Do not put your tongue in such argument. It’s the work of boys to argue and shout so don’t debate with them, its worthless, it does not suit you.” Where is the women’s voice? The word ‘SURRENDER’ , I think is made for women. Why is that only girls stand on the sides of their feet? As if they are afraid to plant themselves?

I think the emotional, sexual and psychological stereotyping of females begins when the doctor says, “It’s a girl”. There is not any moment to say that I was not treated low because of being a girl from my childhood to the time of today. Because of being a girl she must take unusual efforts to succeed. If she fails, no one will say, “she does not have what it takes.” They will say, “Women don’t have what it takes.”


Having A Male Tongue

Once, my family members were gathered together. My father, brother and uncle were discussing about the politics. I felt interesting to listen. When the issue about the Nepalese politics was raised I dared to use my tongue and speak few words. Exactly at the right time my brother said, “Why do u try to drink the water from nose when already there is mouth? Don’t try to be much cockier?”

There is a cold war between my knowledge that I have achieved from my academic study and real life. If I attempt to exercise them in practical life, they are proved to be futile. I feel inferiority and abasement because what I have read in the books is only limited to papers but not reaches to the root of real life. Till the time of today I have not any moment to say that being a girl I would not suffer from patriarchal hegemony. In small age I would thought that it happened only to me, in teenage I found my reflection in many other girls and women and now when I am matured I understand that other women around the country, like me, are passing through same verbal, psychological and physical suppression. Human being is gifted with tongue to communicate and express feelings but this prize is, I think, worthless for women. I have found no changes till the level of my Masters. I think what I am tolerating in my country, the rest women from different parts of the world are going through the same situation.

[wpdevart_facebook_comment curent_url=”http://ashvamegh.net/2017-issues/xxvii-april/short-stories/kamana-aryal/”
title_text=”Did you like this story? Comment below:” order_type=”social” title_text_color=”#1e73be” title_text_font_size=”18″ title_text_font_famely=”monospace” title_text_position=”left” width=”100%” bg_color=”#d4d4d4″ animation_effect=”random” count_of_comments=”7″ ]