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Hold The Light

About Sufia Khatoon

Sufia Khatoon is an Editor, Translator, Author, Poet, Artist, Illustrator, Designer, Social Activist and Philanthropist, Curator, PR and Event Manager.
Her Poems and short stories have been published in various National and International anthologies.
Her Bengali poem got featured in Tollywood Movie ANTOR SHOTTA starring Soumitro Chatterjee recently
She has Co-Founded Rhythm Divine Poets group initiating poetic movements globally.
She has received recently Amio Santa Award 2017 for her social efforts.
She is an Art Curator, Artist and Illustrator having exhibited her works in more than 20 group shows in reputed art galleries and widely appreciated for her solo show on Peace and Voices. She has illustrated International Poetry books of repute.
She is the owner of Sufi's Touch, a lifestyle designing brand that focuses on artistic products and recycling art.

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I was phasing out again. It wasn’t a pleasant scene for anyone to see. Like the rotten fruit that a tree sheds every fall, I was shedding my inhibition to carry on with drug abuse.

Tonight when I locked myself inside while the world celebrated the ‘light’ festival, I felt I was breathing again.

I groaned and howled in the loud noise of firecrackers. No one was listening to my calls.

Our demons are ours alone to deal with and the world is a mere spectator. Later it felt like my soul had passed out after a long abusive relationship with me. I didn’t know until tonight that even the soul can take such a call. It left me behind in pain while I struggled, not to inject myself with ecstasy.

Forced addition leads to solace sometimes but solitude only comes to the peaceful.

I wasn’t at peace.

I saw a tiny shadow of a lantern flickering on my window pane.

It was in such a haste to find a place where it belonged; perhaps it belonged to the darkness of souls like me, I thought.

“How could you do this to yourself?” I remembered my mother giving away her pent up rage of all these years in the hospital last summer, while breaking down on the corridor.

A daily dose of alcohol had ruined my ovaries. At twenty eight I was just a body catering to the needs of the world. I was not some woman who had a pleasant past to shape her future with.

I was quite sober when the first attack happened but I had been struggling with a memory; a memory which still haunted me.

I was abused and I abused myself later, the only difference between the two was that I knew not who I was after abusing myself? And I knew not who did this to me after I was abused?

I remembered his touch, his feel on my throbbing genitals that night of Diwali, ten years ago. He kept licking it while my throat was parched with his ceremonial bondage. His craving for my lips, his hands circling my breast while he thrust himself hard inside me, I had felt it all.

I was pined against the wall while I tried to shout. He took my hands and stroked his manhood in his haste to climax. His vengeful bites on my thighs, my breast, my self respect and my womanhood had stoned my soulful pursuit of life.

I was shaking with pain till I experienced my first orgasm. It was nothing like I had experienced before. I wanted to kill him after he was done, but I just couldn’t. He had an ethereal expression on his face as if he had experienced the darkness of the unconscious mind.

This escapade into the ecstasy world had continued for a while till that night faded away into the deep hollows of non-existence.

The light of ‘his’ shadow embracing me on those terrible lonely nights made me cry with anger but I loved his touch.

I am a woman now; I know everything, the good and the ugly. The lie that hides our follies is covered in our masked smiles.

I was a curious child always asking questions that had twisted answers to it. My mother would fondly introduce my frailties to the old aunties who were looking for a bride for their equally twisted sons.

The innocent knows only the ethereal world not the real. I wish I knew about the real then.

The pain was now intense; my stomach could feel the gallows of hellish fire burning my insides. I walked up to the window to see the light one last time.
I wasn’t sure if I could make it alive the next morning but I had to try to feel my heart one more time before the night took me in its warmth.

………………………..

“Mummy,

Why do we have hair on our body?”

“The tiny cells in our body die and grow out of our skin forming hair which helps our skin breath” Mummy had amusingly answered.

I was six. .

“Why do I bleed so profusely?”

“Because one day you will be a mother like me dearest.” She had explained with love.

I was thirteen. .

“Mummy,

Where can you find the light?”

“You will find it in your soul if you look for it with clarity in your thoughts.” She had replied curiously.

I was fifteen.

I was playing jump ropes with my friends in our society park below. Mummy always kept a constant watch on my naughty pursuits towards a fun filled day.

A lollipop packet unwrapped in his hands; I looked longingly as I heard him opening it.

This longing to end the sweet pang in my mouth led me to him. He licked my lips as the coloured sweetener trickled down to my chest. When no one was looking he touched it, circling it while imagining full plumed breast of a woman. He was lonely, his wife had left his genitals to dry out in sex-less nights quite recently and I was to be his bed mate.

I didn’t understand it then, the mating game.

But I do now, the foreplays, the bondage, the pain and pleasures.

It was going to be a long lonely night while I looked for him again.

‘Him’. My destroyer or my lover? I wanted the answers.

I heard the crackers popping out in dark sky, dancing and rejoicing. My agony was it’s muse.

I had to hold the light that greeted my window in the early hours.

But how did one ‘hold the light’ when one had nothing to look forward to except the emptiness. I had to know ‘him’ to end this illusion of darkness.

I threw away the injection – my ecstasy, a loyal friend when he was around; I had to make my journey to meet my end and I couldn’t do it being in another world.

…………………………..

They say when you have lost your way, giving in to your faith helps your soul to feel peaceful. A spiritual journey could lead me to my answers.
But a constant shaking of my belief in ‘Him’ always left me speechless.

The Sufi singers in Khwaza Garib Nawaz Shrine chanted ‘His’ name loudly in their daily evening sermons. I sat in one corner dazed by the spirituality of the surreal world that controls the fate of all. God controlled my fate too. If I knew about the horrors it had stored for me, would I ever come under his shelter to ask for peace?

I had left  a letter explaining my remorse and the cause that made me leave the delusional world and live in Ajmer. I know it would have broken my mother to realize that my step-father, Mr. Srikant Desai, a bank manager and a pervert , had  ”used” her daughter for 10 years.

I had also admitted that I enjoyed what he did to me because I was emotionally drained and lonely. I would look for a chance to go in front of him when she wasn’t around. While he forced himself on me I would feel I wouldn’t have to deal with my demons for the time being. Sleeping alone in my room would often leave me  out of breath. The darkness never let me live in the beautiful daylight and feeling his lusty hands on my body each night made me feel complete. After all, our bodies get used to darkness, it never understands the difference between love and lust; all it wants is a strong hold on itself before it breaks free.

Confessing to her wasn’t easy; I couldn’t do it right on  her face, not until I was at peace within. I knew my mother; she was  stronger than me. I got to know from Diya, my friend, that after reading my letter mummy had broken down completely in front of Manju aunty, our neighbour. Later that night she got Srikant arrested after punching a good blow on his face and of course his throbbing genitals. It must have been a good climax for him that night, maybe his last; I thought.

A year had passed in the darga and I was beginning to forget my past life. The darkness eventually was fading. I had mended my broken esteem and I felt he had relieved me from myself.

My mother tried contacting me; I gave in finally after several attempts of avoiding her.

She only said “Siya” and cried. I listened to her wails, I had shed my share of tears, and it was her tears that healed my pained heart. She had forgiven me or I think I had forgiven myself. I had accepted my demons and nursed them to see the light. The festival of lights came this year too and I lighted a lamp in the entrance of Khawaza’s darga while the sea danced on the rocks.

I would sit every night listening to the sea and call out ‘His’ name.

The almighty had no name, no forms, and no conditions but ‘He’ had light and I could see through it clearly. My journey to hold that light had begun.
The sufi singers sang ‘Mere Maula’ and I began whirling with the darvesh.

The sounds faded, the faces hazed out, the world began moving faster, faster and faster.

I finally saw the Divine light.

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