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Nia Zamana is a great magazine; a valuable voice of liberal and secular values in Pakistan.
They print articles written by prominent intellectuals of the country about what is happening: actually an inside view.
1998 Lahore, Pakistan
I had just rented a room in a shabby low-cost hotel and was preparing to “enjoy” my first morning in the city that someone slipped a folded sheet of paper below the door. I was surprised to see the paper slipping, stared at it for some moments, and then opened the door to see who did slip it but found none. After closing the door, I picked the folded sheet and saw that it was a letter without any envelope. The letter was bearing only this address: “To Mr. Akhter”. I asked in all the rooms of the hotel if there was any Mr. Akhter and the response was “no”.
At the evening I kept it safe in my box without reading it and, after some days, forgot about it because I could not find any Mr. Akhter.
Today, after almost eight years, I was searching some old papers when I found the letter and read it. During reading the letter, I came to know that it was not only a letter but a complete story that talks itself in words. This is the story of the most women of our men-dominated and women-slaved society. And here is a translated version of the letter:
My dear sweetheart
I hope you are fine and I inform you that we are too no bad.
What happened? If you were not coming then why did you tell me that you would come tomorrow? What is the problem? Are you alright? I know that you get out of temper in a moment. They had told me that you were coming on Thursday but you did not come. Ok, behavior me as you like, I am not but a shoe for your foot, you can wear the shoe when you want and throw it away when you like. That is your right because you are a man.
You think why to come home if I spoil your temper, but my sweetheart! I can’t put up with the scene; I feel my life is ended. I feel I am snatched. If you leave me here how my days and nights will be passed? All the day I do nothing but weep. You don’t know, all my life passed thinking about you. I tried several times to control myself but I don’t know how to do it.
Dear Akhter! If I have got some love in my life that is from you. As a girl, my parents and brothers hated me and every time I tried to love someone he went far away from me.
Akhter, today I want to discuss something with you. When I wanted to discuss this with you face to face I saw your deep beautiful eyes and they made me scary. I don’t know why this happens to me. You are like a god for me but you never asked what my heart wanted. Every woman has desires in her heart and a man should not run away from this.
My dear sweetheart! I have so many desires in my heart. And now I want to tell you about them. I wish God listen the cries of my heart. I want to tell you that my greatest desire is to live with you. I have heard that if a man goes to his home tired and his wife welcomes him smiling and sits with him he forgets all the tiredness. When I hear this, I become angry at myself. Why am I deprived of this? It hurts when even a tiny desire like this is not fulfilled. So I began to curse myself.
I want to discuss some more things with you but every time you are in hurry. How will we tell our desires to each other? Now I wish may God bless me with a child. I wish this because I think I will be thus honored to live with you.
And there are talks of people. I am afraid of those cruel people. If some one said any thing badly about me I will be dead because I can’t talk and explain myself to any one.
The other day a neighbor girl said that if I did give birth to a son she will name him Ihteshan Akhter Ali. I liked this name.
My dear sweetheart! My desire from the first day is that I want to live with you, I want your support and I want to live by your hands. Rest assured I am nothing without you. I swear you, I say with my folded hands and I beg you to call me to Lahore with you. Think how can I live without you and without my parents?
Please forgive me for this letter because I am very compelled. Forgive me in my life otherwise I would be not able to bear this burden to the grave with me.
God bless you
Don’t forget that I will be waiting for you.