All I remember is a feeling;
I was hit on the back of the head.
My eyes closed, I fell. I was dead
Before I even knew it.
If you ever find my killers, felicitate them.
They were hidden till the final moment,
Even beyond it. I still don’t know who they were.
Was it the man who stared at me
Every time I walked down the street?
Did his hand strike the blow?
Or was it someone closer to home,
Who felt I was overstepping the bounds
Marked by family and community.
Was it a disappointed relative,
Who felt I wasn’t bringing home
Honourable tales of my actions and words.
Or was it an ordinary woman like me,
Bound by the ropes of patriarchy to outdated ideals.
If it was her, was there a choice?
Did she consent willingly to those thoughts
That willed her to murder another?
Did her hand strike the blow
Because she believed I deserved it?
Was she the master of her own actions?
I have a lot of questions for my murderer.
The most important one is – why me?
What value was created by taking a life?
I wasn’t given a chance to defend myself.
They didn’t even look at my face,
just attacked before I even thought to protect myself.
Death makes people forget things.
Hovering invisibly above the crowds to watch others,
I forgot whatever I knew about myself.
How old was I when they came for me?
A newborn babe, a young woman or
An old crone waiting for salvation?
And is it salvation that I have gained after death,
Or only a set of questions for the afterlife –
Did I do something wrong or was being a victim
the sole purpose of my existence as a woman?
Priyale Chandra is a freelance journalist and student of Convergent Journalism at AJK MCRC, Jamia Millia Islamia. Her areas of interest include literature, international relations and history.
Featured picture credit: Reuters