She was engaged last month, to her cousin who works in Dubai. He is presently training for some army stuff in Dubai. She is the third daughter, amongst 6 children, the youngest of whom is a 2 years old girl . Both of her elder sisters are married.
Two of her mother's youngest sisters have committed suicide. One of them had a love marriage with a Hindu. Both have left behind children, who are dutifully being raised by her mother and her grandmother.
She has studied up to 8th Standard, before she calling it quits. Apparently Marathi was too hard for her to pull through. A friend of her works part time in a call center and is pursuing her studies as well. Though she is confident she can pick up a job in a call center, her abbu would not appove of one. Her granny chips in, in our side woman do not work.
Looking at all the salesmen on the train, she innocently asks me , don't they get pan in the train. I smile and say, No. Then I ask her, does she usually go out in the evening to eat pan. No . She asks for one and someones goes out and brings it for her.
She cannot go outside the house alone at any point of the day. The last attempt, a jovial meeting of the school friends, and perhaps her only attempt ended up in a thrashing from her mother. Though her mother claims that she can go out with her friends. She only need inform her on the phone. But when any attempt is made, it is dutifully rejected and she is given strict orders to march back home. She cannot carry a cell phone, only a married woman may. Most of her time is spent in doing the daily chores in the house and then watching the telly. Sometimes she reads Quran.
She was sitting near the window along with her youngest sister and both of them were singing, Mai talli, mai talli, mai talli ho gayi, among other bollywood blunders.
The names of all the friends indicated that all were Muslim. As she is not allowed to go out, her friends at time drop in, usually when her mother is not at home and help her in her chores. On November 5th 2008 her friends will celebrate a homecoming, as this was the date a few years back when all of them came together. All her friends were cooking something at their house to bring to the get together. When she asked her pals, what should she bring, Her friends said, you just come.
After her marriage she will leave for gulf.
Whenever she goes out shopping or otherwise, she always goes with her family. Mother, Father et all.
Her mother loves the telly as much as she does and would love to have an LCD TV, but her father does not approve of the TV, very like me, and it has to be shut down as and when he arrives at home, usually around 3-4 AM in the morning. He ia a namazi and does not aprove of it. Her mother is a tobacco addict and keeps chewing the gutkha from the small pouches.
I don't know if Ruksar looks out at the future and asks her stars, what does the future hold for her. If I put myself in her shows, I see her deceased aunts, mother, granny and her elder sisters as her beacon holders. I want her to know, they are not all. There is another world out there. Not the world I inhabit, but a world I would like a seventeen year old girl in this country to know exists. And enjoy it.
One of the greates honours of being part of the post '91 era generation is that we have seen India truly change. The flyovers, the Malls, the ever expanding cities, the swimming pools, gyms, the pubs, the metros.
I want Ruksar to walk through these, preferably alone. I would like her to be independent and care free as most Mumbai girls are. I don't care how many siblings she has, what does her abbu think or what her religion is or proclaims.
The pleasure of being a bigot lies in rejecting the concepts like god, religion and nation state, all the while forgetting that these are rejected because one can afford to and one is allowed the convenience to do so. And expect it to be as convinient to all others.
I guess Ruksar is happy in her world, it is just that she is living in this era only though the telly. And I don't hate the telly so much. I don't hate Kareena for getting a Zero figure frame and be a bad role model for all 15 year old girls. For anorexia has not yet India, bur courtest Kareena, it sure shortly will. I don't hate the warring judges at some goddam music shows when rather than peacefully putting their differences on the record. I guess they are also leaving a bad example to our kids. They say it is for the fucking TRP ratings, and the quibbling is all fair and I am a blind man.
Ruksar does not eat well. Her granny is remonstrating , but her mother chimes, What can I do she does not want to eat. Ruksar prefers Thumbs Up.
More to follow.