My faith is wavering…
My parents tell me to write something – anything. They tell me to not stop dipping my pen in ink.
But I can’t because my voice is lost in the noise of hate. I can’t seem to make anyone listen. I can’t seem to make people stop being scared of me, of my name.
The wound I have within me has become too deep. Every time it starts to heal and crusty scabs emerge, a new wound appears.
My heart has been bruised and beaten and I can’t seem to gather courage and hope anymore.
The drums of hate are unstoppable, and my heart quivers at their beat. ‘Love jihad’, anti-Romeo squads, lynchings, ‘corona jihad’ and statement like “your father’s name sounds like a terrorist’s name” are calls for a death sentence against people with names like mine.
I was walking through a mall when I met a middle-aged man who asked a question in Gujarati. I answered in my broken Gujarati. He smiled and the conversation continued for a couple of minutes. He asked if I’d ever visited Gujarat. I replied in the negative and he the told me, “You should come to Gujarat Dikra! It’s so safe for women and completely Muslim free!”
My heart shuddered. Any comfort I had felt vanished and I now stood before him quaking in fear and suffocation. He then asked me what my name was.
I looked for an escape.
I feel suffocated, the flowers of hate and violence are blooming and the tree of love and humanity is slowly withering. The sunlight has been blocked, and the water to help it grow has stopped flowing.
The place I called my home doesn’t feel like my home anymore.
I don’t know how to deal with this fear. I want to vanish because I can’t seem to stop make anyone listen.
My faith is wavering and I can’t seem to hold onto that hope that there are good people in the world, that love always wins in the end. How can I when the world says differently?
My mother becomes the optimist in the house then. When my faith wavers, hers strengthens. When my father can’t seem to shake off the worry he feels for his daughter who lives in a different state, when he reads the news and fears for her, my mother becomes the pillar of faith and optimism that everything will be okay.
We will be okay.
Will we be okay though?
Zeba Vagh is from Mysore, Karnataka.
Featured illustration: Pariplab Chakraborty