Dear Timergara

Dear Timergara,

As a woman, I am trying to find something positive to say about you. Your snow capped mountains and the gorgeous foliage were spectacular but it seems superficial to point this out. Perhaps I cannot make a fair assessment, having known you only for 1 week but I do think about all the women I observed closely in the maternity ward for days. I heard about their lives from the midwives and it scared me.

The lives of women really scared me. 

I heard women have little agency over their lives because they belong to very conservative communities. I observed that they can’t travel even in emergencies to the hospital without a male chaperone. Tell me, why is it better for a female to die of complications at home rather than be saved at a hospital if the men of the house are at work?

I asked several women recovering in the wards to describe everyday life and picture they painted was bleak; they bear children, eat leftovers after serving their family and in-laws dinner, they cook, clean and keep having children till they can’t anymore. A large number of women put up with domestic abuse, marital and non-marital rape, multiple miscarriages and many other traumas due to poor healthcare. None of the 50+ women I came across were literate or had ever attended school. This is their life- there is no choice about it.

Timergara, are your women oppressed? Or is that question judgmental? Do they know they have equal rights to education? To have a say at home? A right to their own bodies and every other privilege men enjoy? The female hospital staff who moved from Pindi and Mardan say they miss their freedom. What is the idea of freedom for your women, Timergara? It has been hard to process the stories the female mental health practitioners told me. I learnt that most of the men work abroad as laborers. The wives they leave behind are often raped by their husband’s brothers. How can men be so cruel to their brother’s wives?

In his Ted Talk, Morgan Spurlock says that there are always 3 sides to a story; yours, mine and a third side that he calls the ‘real story’. So, I know there must be more to you, Timergara, there has to be. But, from my side of the story, you scared me.

#streamofconciousness #women #deartimergara #reflections #pakistan