Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Volume 5, Issue 10, Tuesday March 4, 2008




Battered and bruised

Another bruise to try and hide
Another alibi to write
Another lonely highway in the black of night
There’s hope in the darkness
I know you’re gonna make it

The story is not about the strength of a woman; arguably it’s about her frailty. It is a poignant tale of a woman, fettered in gold bangles yet it is an account of how she breaks her shackles and becomes free. Emancipated: a spirit with no bounds, except her sound judgment and determination to fight all odds upholding her true comfort and solace. Ratri was a graduate in Management from Dhaka University and had her own business, even before she got married to her high school sweetheart. Her husband was qualified but still remained unlucky when it came to jobs. He worked in a small firm and the early days of her marriage (‘dog days’ as she puts it) was mostly supported by her. Joy was into drugs from his college days, a fact over shadowed by his academic brilliance and completely hidden behind the eyes of Ratri. To add to the agony, Joy was abusive. Initially it was just the violent push, or twisting of hands. And there was the verbal abuse. Filthy, dirty and inhumane. The two children were the only witnesses to the monstrous abuse. Once they begged, crying, screaming and asking him to stop. Stop kicking their mother as she lay on one side of her bedroom wall crying, in pain and humiliation.

She stayed with him. Despite the harsh treatment and the frequent violence. There was still a hint left of him that reminded Ratri of the reasons she fell in love with Joy. And then there were the children. How could she ever leave them? Her precious....

Ratri used to attend a discussion group on Islam. Amidst all the chaos, she found peace in religion. A lady in her group once narrated a story of an abusive husband and her ‘enlightened’ wife. As she continued, Ratri felt a shiver pass down her spine. It was her story. A disorienting tale, which she could identify herself with.

She walked out the next day. Away from everything. Her two children remained…she knew not of their future; not even her own…
And she takes another step
Slowly she opens the door
Check that he is sleeping
Pick up all the broken glass
And furniture on the floor
Been up half the night screaming
Now its time to get away.

Based on a real life account. Names have been changed to hide the identity of the people concerned.
- Pothbhola

Photo: Syed Zakir Hossain

Reader’s Chit

Living the terrible twos

"It is the best of times, it is the worst of times." This is what one parenting book says about toddler hood and I must say that I consider it a very apt description of this phase of life.

I had heard about the "terrible two's" from my dad a long time back, when my sister was around two. But nothing prepared me for what I faced with my daughter, Ibnat. It seemed that almost overnight my daughter had turned from an angel to a mutinous devil. Everything that my hubby or I say is met with an emphatic "no". Because of this trait of hers, we are sometimes tempted to use reverse psychology and it does work...for example on weekends when I want my hubby to take her out for swimming I'll say, "Today I will take you for swimming" and she will promptly respond by saying, "No, no...today baba will take me.".

Mealtimes and bedtimes are of course times of intense emotional upheavals, at least for my tot. Previously I used to be really flustered about my daughter not eating properly. Now I offer her a variety of nutritious foods and I have come to accept the fact that Ibnat will not always be hungry enough to "clean the plate". Thanks to books on toddler nutrition, I now know that children do not suffer from malnutrition that easily.

I did not know that toddlers can be as fussy with clothes as teenagers. My daughter practically brings her wardrobe upside down at least twice a day all because she often cannot decide what to wear. She is nowadays rejecting "girlish dresses" such as frocks and skirts. I am now left with at least a dozen of newly stitched beautiful dresses and I don't know what to do with them! Often, after a lot of fussing my tot will decide to wear whatever her little brother is wearing and she will persuade us to take off his clothes and put it on her.

My toddler is a major "drama queen" and she will throw a huge tantrum over seemingly unimportant issues. She will sometimes shriek and scream over something as minor as a slightly tight shoelace. I also face the proverbial "supermarket tantrums" and it is very tricky to deal with them now that my tot understands the concept of buying things from the shop.

A toddler is a boundless source of energy and his zest for life is infectious. A few days ago Ibnat was nagging for an ice-cream and so I bought her a cone. As the ice-cream on top of the cone started melting in little rivulets, my tot became very excited and made silly faces and started licking the cone very furiously. Only a toddler can be so happy over something as mundane as an ice-cream. It really made my day! My hubby and I also love her pronunciation such as "attim" (ice-cream) and "tot-tape" (scotch tape). I will miss them for sure when she starts speaking like an adult.

These toddler years are over all too quickly and I am going to miss them when my tot grows up. Also, now I am the centre of her universe but that will no longer be the case a few years down the line. I am going to miss that, too...

By Malina Halim


home | Issues | The Daily Star Home

2008 The Daily Star