I keep struggling with whether or not I should write this down. Is there really a need? I’m not suffering anymore with what I did, so, is there really any point? I don’t know the answers to all these questions. What I do know is that a lot of people will read it. A lot of people from my social circle and some family members might too. Is it worth the risk? To be honest, I really don’t know anymore. Does this deserve the attention? I would have said no if I hadn’t known better, but now that I do, yes. It deserves all the attention it can get.
Yesterday, on 9th of January 2016, Saturday, I woke up and walked out of the sitting room. This is where I had slept instead of my own room because I had just finished my final exams and was too tired to clean up my room and sleep there. As I walked out my older brother was sitting in the living room, he shouted at me about how much my cats have started to stink in the house. How I don’t clean up after them and the smell is killing him and on and on he went.
Still half asleep, I continued on my way to the bathroom, did my business and came out and there he was standing in my face. He yelled at me again about not cleaning after the cats and how much their litter stinks. I told him I do it all the time. I was busy in my exams, I’ll do it, stop bothering me right after I wake up. But since he doesn’t understand simple Urdu, he kept on yapping. When he wouldn’t shut up, I glared at him, warned him to shut up or I’ll start talking too.
He glared back, with his face right in front of mine and said the same to me. I thought, what the hell, he’s asking for it. I yelled back about how much he smokes in the house. It suffocates us too but we never complain to him. And we never get impatient with him like he is being right now. His eyes grew bloodshot. He screamed at me to shut the fuck up. I asked why? at least my cats’ litter won’t kill you, your smoke is gonna kill us.
And I think I heard his vein pop in anger before he pushed me. I got defensive. I pointed my index finger at his face and warned him, “don’t you put a hand on me.” I was pretty serious about it. I had tolerated a lot of his bullshit, his beatings were the last I would put up with. But as I said before, he doesn’t understand simple Urdu, he pushed me back harder and punched me on my shoulder blade.
I hit back, mostly I just hit the air cause he was holding me to his arm’s length and his arms are longer than mine. So basically I kept hitting his bicep while he hit my shoulder and neck over and over. All the while my father was standing beside us, trying to stop him. Now my father is a strong sturdy man, to the point that he carried my 70 kg younger brother on his back when he got really sick and had to go to the hospital. The hitting continued with my father trying to separate us, all the while I kept screaming curses and every warning I had in me. I kept screaming how dare you hit me, how dare you hit me.
At the end he pushed me against the wall with his one hand gripping my neck and started to choke me. his hold was so tight that I finally realized why in all those movies people find it so difficult to get themselves free. He held my neck and choked it with such strength that my father kept pulling him but he failed to loosen his hold. My father punched my brother in the back around four times so that his hold would break but it didn’t. It wasn’t until my younger brother, who is 6 feet and 3 inches tall and weighs around 80 kg now, woke up and pushed my brother in the wall next to us that he let go of my neck.
I ran to the kitchen as I got free and grabbed the first weapon I found, a knife. Sadly the knife had a round tip and could not be used to stab, I could only cut him with it. I flung it around blindly, crying and hyperventilating while my younger brother grabbed me trying to stop me. I hit him a few times then ran again in the kitchen and this time I grabbed the iron tongs to hit him with. I did the same with them and hit his arm a few time as he defended himself and my younger brother held me so I couldn’t reach him.
In the end, my father and younger brother had succeeded in separating us. My hyperventilation got worse and seeing this my pets started panicking. My caged chickens kept jumping and screaming so in that state and I went and covered their cage with a cloth so they wouldn’t be able to see me. I sat on my father’s bed trying to catch my breath, continuing to cry as well. My younger brother watched. After a while I asked him to bring me a glass of water, he did, I drank and as my breathing slowed a little, my father started.
He yelled how much the cats were causing the trouble. If it wasn’t for the cats this never would have happened. How I keep saying that I will give them away and keep stretching days. I was hyper and since him and I haven’t talked in eight years (while living under the same roof, yes), I screamed and started throwing things off the dressing table at the mirror. This was a sign for him to shut up since I couldn’t say it it to him directly. I threw a deodorant on the mirror, then threw the can of olive oil and then I threw the big steel alarm clock with all my force, and ended up breaking the mirror. It kind of felt nice seeing the mirror shatter and break in front of me, so did the silence that it brought from my father.
I got up, got to my room, continued talking how I would throw them all in jail. How they just watch what I do to them, how I’ll call the police if they ever land a hand on me. I was babbling to myself and you know what happened? My older brother shouted from the living room, “do you want me to give you the police number?” “let me give you a ride there”. He taunted me. I screamed at him again, swore at him and started to charge at him as my younger brother held me.
I started to get my stuff and wanted to pack, my father seeing this, kept telling my younger brother to put the stuff back. Since I kept going, my father toned it down a little. Started talking nicely that shit happens, families fight, you don’t leave home. Your home is your home, this is where you live, no one leaves, everyone makes mistakes, you forgive and move on. I kept scoffing on the inside.
When I knew they wouldn’t let me leave, I called my friends. Told them everything and asked them to come home and help me pack since my ‘family’ wasn’t letting me. They came instantly with bags and everything. It was three guys. Some of my closest friends, I opened the door to my house and they came to my room and started packing my stuff. You would think that seeing three big guys, my family would be intimidated. But my older brother started threatening them. He said that he would make them disappear. He would accuse them of robbery. He would tell everyone that his sister was involved with three guys at once and get all of them killed in the name of honor (including me).
I kept telling them not to listen to a word they say. Then my father started. Told them I didn’t like how you guys came inside without even greeting me as I’m you elder.
He was mad that my friends, in an attempt to save me, forgot to convey him salam (the Muslim greeting).
My younger brother (Samad) all this time had kept begging me not to leave the house. He is also the only one I talk to anyway. He tried talking to my friends. When the threats continued and my older brother (Sohaib) kept giving them death threats, I told them that these people won’t let me leave like this.
For around two hours my friends sat and listened to all the bullshit my family spewed about me. They showed their real face to them. They showed them how much they hated me. At one point they were mad that I’m cruel to my cats and I don’t give them food, then the next second they spilled the shopping bag that had cans after cans of cat food saying I waste a lot of money. They said that I waste money on cats, get them to the vet and waste 2000 rupees in one go when I don’t have money for my tuition fees (which by the way, I pay on my own).
They said that it was outrageous how I had cut my hair short in front of my paternal grandmother and aunt. How I wore jeans on shirts (the length of shirts being till my knees and sometimes even below them, with dupattas mind you). My father tried gaining sympathy by telling my friends how much he has paid for us. He said ‘I paid 55 thousand rupees for Samad so he could prepare for his university exam. I paid 1.5 lac rupees for Sohaib so he could give his CFA exam’ and I swear to the cosmic powers that I believe in, I was laughing on the inside when he said that.
My friends knew that my father doesn’t give me a single rupee to spend. One of my friends tried bringing up how my father didn’t pay my university fees. I tried to shut him up because honestly, I don’t care anymore. My younger brother told him to carry on and so he did. He asked my father why he didn’t pay my fee. He answered that she dropped out and ran away from home after 3 semesters. Why would I invest on someone who is a waste to me?
Mind you, Samad paid 55 thousand rupees twice because he couldn’t pass the university exam in the first attempt. My three semesters that lasted over a period of a year and a half costed a maximum total of 50 thousand rupees since I studied in a government university, University of Karachi. I was enrolled in the Psychology program there and dropped out when I ran away from home to escape the abuse that kept going on.
I came back only because my paternal family from India was visiting and my younger brother had begged me to come home. He had promised me he would take care of things, he wouldn’t let me get hurt. But as he was sleeping yesterday when all of this happened, he couldn’t help me. My older brother and father kept fumbling around with things to accuse me of. When nothing worked, they played the religion card. They complained how I don’t pray or recite the Quran (*rolls eyes*). I intervened that this isn’t about that. This about an attempt to kill me over the smell from the cats’ litter box.
My brother proudly declared, why aren’t you dead if it was an attempt to kill you. How come you’re alive? Stop exaggerating. If it was an attempt to kill you, you wouldn’t be standing here. My father said the same, tried defending my brother by saying she talks back to her older brother, she hit him too. I punched him too. I even made him apologize. Samad has been crying in front of her begging her not to leave and look at her. The disgrace she is, it would have been better if she was dead.
I told them, hey, if you can’t deal with me, then let me go. My older brother goes, if this wasn’t Pakistan, I’d drop you off myself. But since we have to follow the customs, we have to tolerate you. I told my friends that my condition for staying here is that they would never hit me again. When we put this condition in front of them, my father goes, conflict happens between siblings, they fight even after they get married and have kids of their own. Fights happen. This will happen again. And listen studs, you can’t blackmail me in my own house. What are you gonna do? Call the cops? Who would they listen to? Me, the owner of the house or you, three random men who forcefully entered my house and sat alone with my daughter?
In the end, me and my friends decided that nothing can come out of this at this moment. So, they pretended to agree with whatever my family said. I agreed that I won’t leave the house again. But to be honest, I’m looking for a safe way to get out of here and live my life without fear.