Autobiography of an Asian Girl
I have endured incidents in my life which most people will find unbelievable. This piece of writing will take you through my journey from being a 14 year old child bride to an independant careers woman.
I am going to take you on my journey from a 14 years old child bride, to an independent woman. I know that I have had incidents that might seem too unrealistic to you. As you are a caring and responsible person of the free world. I am not telling you my life story so as I may gain sympathy from you. Infact I am in some ways, luckier than most, I have lived to tell the tale.
I was born in a tiny village at the foot of the Himalayan mountains which separate India from Pakistan. Our village was in India. The name of this village was Rahiyaan, which means (in the middle of nowhere). It was and still is, heavily populated by the punjaabi speaking Muslims of India.
The household that I was born into was rich and powerful. My grand father and his four sons, with my father being the youngest of his sons, were all tradesmen in the gold business. My home was a huge mansion, which stood proudly on the edge of a small stream. It was built away from the rest of the village, what with being the residence of the most powerful man in the village, my grand father. He was rich, respected, feared and came from the highest caste, the Maharajas, the Rajputaans. So I was born into this royal household and they named me Saiqa Rani. 'Saiqa' is a Persian word for 'heavenly rainfall', 'Rani' is an Arabic and Hindi word for 'Princess'.
When I was about 4 years old, I began noticing some kind of uneasiness around me. The women of the household, including my mother, fought all the time. They would bang pots and pans and then take their anger out on one of the servant girls by swearing at the poor woman or slapping her silly for no apparent reason. There were lots of money, gold, diamonds and pearls but there seemed to be no love in that huge mansion.
My father's 3 brothers turned against him because they felt that their father was not being fare to them when it came to sharing his property,animals, land, gold and money. So they ganged up on my father and it went to such extents that my grand parents had to beg to my father to leave India and his home and go into another land where he would be safe.
I was 5 years old. My mother had given birth to 2 more girls in one year. She was not very well and the thought of leaving her home and going into the unknown made her so unhappy that she cried all the time. I stopped getting any cuddles from her. I would just sit in a corner of the huge mansion and just wait for someone to come and cuddle me. But no one came, no one ever came.
Then one day, I found myself in a huge airplane and we flew all the way to England. We came to Leeds, in a huge dark, damp, ugly, scary, cold and wet house. Dad was a virtual prince back home so he wanted to be a prince in this country too. However, he soon found that things were going to be very different now. He had to find work. A man who had ordered others about, was now going to be working under someone else. He couldn't speak English very much. He didn't want to work. He had to though. Someone found him work at a carpet factory in Dewsbury. He was to work night shifts. Little did I know that my hell had started right there.
Working nights, under a White manager and not being able to growl back at the manager because of lack of English made my father into a very angry man. One day, I was crying before going to school and my mother told me to be quiet, that dad had come home and wanted quiet. I told her that I was being bullied at school so I didn't want to go. Dad heard my cries and came down stairs. I thought, good, now I will not have to go to school today. Daddy was here now and he will make everything better. Daddy stood near me and asked me to stop crying. I wiped my tears and told him about the bullying. He said that I was being silly, that this sort of thing went on all the time at school so I should go to school. I opened my mouth to protest and that's when it happened for the first time. My daddy's left hand flew up in the air and landed flat on my cheek. I was stunned for a second, then I let out a shriek. Daddy held my face and told me to shut up. I was very frightened. He said that if I didn't shut up and go to school then he would slap me again.
I went to school. From that day on, I became my daddy's punching bag. Every time he was stressed, he would find an excuse to beat me. I loved and still love him to bits though. I am sure he hit me because he didn't know any better. As the years passed, I understood that my mother was a typical Asian woman who felt that her job as a good mother was complete as long as she had done the cooking. She never spoke up against anything that my father did. She just went along with everything that happened around her. Therefore, I did the same.
I was 14 years old. I loved school. I loved studying and dreamt of becoming a teacher so that I would stay in a school all day long. Daddy, by now had links with quite a few Dons of the underworld, and he was back in the gold business once again. He had bodyguards and I would often sit behind the door and peep into the room where daddy would be having a meeting of some sort with some huge Black men. I began dreaming of being with a black man later on in my life.
One day, I got home from school to find my mother crying, which was not unusual. There were a few other men of the family. Daddy asked me over to the phone. He said that I must say 'yes' when I was asked a question. I said my salaams to the person on the other end of the line. He asked, did I take 'this' man to be my lawfully wedded husband? I was confused and looked at daddy. He nodded and I said 'yes uncle'. At that moment I was a married girl, without knowing it. It was not my father's fault though. It was the fault of my eyes. Whenever there was a family feud, I would hear the other person say to my father that if he gave Rani's hand in marriage for their son then they would end the feud. Everyone liked my eyes. So anyone with a son wanted to have me as their daughter in law, just so they could show off that they had a girl in their family who had the prettiest eyes in the land. I guess they all forgot that the girl had a heart and feelings too.
Nothing more was said about this marriage until I turned 16. I was very excited because I had just got my 0'level results. I had sat 7 exams and passed them all so I was very pleased with myself. I told my mother and she waved her arm as if saying, 'so what'? Just after the results, I was back on a plane along with the family. We were going on a trip to India because grand dad was deathly ill. At least that was what I was told.
Once there, I was 'given away' to my 'husband' who was at the time 39 years old. On the first night, he came into the room and lifted up my veil and said. "Listen to me carefully, you might have these big pretty eyes but you are my wife and that means, you are only nearly as good as the dirt on my shoes. If I find at any time that you are not obeying me in any way then I shall wipe you away as I would wipe away the dirt on my shoes. Are you listening to me?" I was very afraid of this huge, ugly, 39 years old man. He then proceeded to strip me of my clothes, my innocence and my virginity and he tore me apart so that I would not stop bleeding for 2 weeks, which didn't stop him from tearing me apart every night.
We came back to England after 5 weeks. I found myself pregnant with twins. Beast boy (husband) came over within 7 months. I was in a lot of pain and I had put on 3 stones. I had already been told that my babies would have to be delivered for me. I went into hospital when I was 8 months pregnant and the babies, both girls were delivered prematurely the following week. I had committed a crime. I had given birth to not one but two girls. My mother in law was furious. Beast boy was beside himself with anger. I was either hexed or a witch. At the age of 17, I gave birth to two girls and put the family's name to shame.
I couldn't understand what all the fuss was about? I had given birth to two beautiful and healthy humans but no one was appreciating them. I loved them both dearly. The doctors told beast boy that I was not to become pregnant for at least 3 years as the wound of my operation was so big and deep. I knew that this advice would go to waste. It did.
My twins were 5 months old when I was taken into hospital with abdominal pains. I was expecting once again. Due to lack of rest and brutal intercourse as well as having two little babies to take care of, my first wound burst open. I was admitted to hospital with my family having to reluctantly take care of my twins. The doctors stapled my wound. I came home from hospital but I was told that this wound may only now heal after the birth of my child.
I bled for the next 5 months from my wound and then my child, a son was delivered by yet another operation. I had got myself a councillor while I was at hospital and I was nearly 19 years old now and much more understanding of my surroundings. I began to feel that somewhere something was not right. I brought home my son and took full responsibility of my twin daughters. I changed my lifestyle to fit in with my babies. I slept when they did and awoke when they were. My mother said that she had washed her hands of me now and that I should sit quiet and raise my family as well as keep my husband happy in every way. That was the honourable thing to do for me now.
I fell in love with these 3 innocent lives that were completely dependant on me. However, the anger and confusion that had been within me for the past years was now beginning to surface. I would get very angry very quickly. I told beast that I hated him. I just told him to his face. He smirked. He told my parents and I got told off for being a bad wife and trying to destroy the family honour. I had already done that by giving birth to 2 girls.
In a bid to stop having any more babies, I went on the pill without his knowledge. I kept it a secret until 4 years later when he found out and threw away the pills and beat me up so badly that I was black and blue for weeks. Mum said that it was my own fault and that I deserved it.
I was 20 years old now and busy bringing up my 3 children and then suddenly I fell pregnant again. My in-laws saw this as another chance to oppress me. I received a lengthy letter from my mother in law telling me that this time, it had 'better' be a boy 'or else'. She 'ordered' her son to take me for a check up so as to determine the sex of the baby. I was taken to a hospital in Leeds and we were told that I was carrying a girl.
All hell broke loose. Beast rang his mother and she told him to force me to abort the child. By this time I was strong and determine to put right all the wrongs that had been done to me. I refused to harm my perfectly healthy baby, which I saw as a gift from the Lord God Himself.
At 4 months pregnant, he pushed me down the stairs. The baby and I both survived. At 8 months, he put something in my food. To this day I have no idea as to what it was. I just remember eating a plate of rice and chicken before passing out. I awoke at the hospital with so much pain that I thought I was in labour. The doctors told me they couldn't quite put their finger on what had caused this but it seemed that the plug to my womb had become loose and I was loosing a lot of blood because of it. I asked if my baby was ok. They said, for now, yes. I desperately wanted to save my baby and at the same time I missed my children.
After the check up, I was left alone in the room. I looked around that room and I thought of everything that had happened in the past 6 years. I thought of my helpless children and my baby girl who was being punished for being a girl even before entering into this world, and that's when it happened. I held my stomach and let out a cry. It was so loud, so very loud, as if I was trying to make the Lord God hear me through all the clouds and through all the skies. I wanted Him to hear me and help me in a way that only He could. For there was no human being who could have helped, only Him alone could help me. If I was alone then I would have wanted to die but I had 3 other innocent lives to think of so dying wasn't an option. It happened. So suddenly it happened. The Lord God helped. I suddenly felt this rush of energy within me. It came from deep, deep within me. I felt as though I had just gone through a rebirth. Suddenly, I was not afraid. I was not feeling scared or in pain. I was feeling energetic and as if I could fight the whole world. God had put the strength in this mother, enough strength to fight the whole world. This baby will be born. I will give birth to this little girl and love and nurture her and make her feel very special.
I stood up from my bed, wiped my tears and rang at my mother's. I phoned to say that I wanted to have my children with me. My children were brought to me and I talked with doctors and other appropriate people at the hospital and an arrangement was made, where by my children could stay with me all day and then only go to my mother's at night to sleep. They even had break fast with me as I wouldn't eat without them. Beast played no part in bringing or taking the children. My sister did all the transporting.
I didn't tell anyone the exact date of the deliverance. My healthy beautiful baby girl was born on the 8th of February 1993. I was 21 years old. I asked the doctors to take out my womb so as I couldn't have any more children. They said I was too young but I insisted and I faked beast's signature and so when my baby was 5 days old, I went through a final operation and was sterilized. None of the family knew about this.
I came home and I didn't let harm touch my little precious girl. Me and my 4 children. We were happy and well, thank Allah. Emotionally, I became stronger and stronger as time went on. When my youngest went into nursery, I got myself a job as a support assistant at the same nursery. I never looked back. After a further year, I became a Bilingual Liaison Officer at a high school and also I started some voluntary work at the local community centre, working with battered and abused Asian girls and women. This gave me a lot of know how and I came into contact with many strong women, MPs, doctors, teachers, police persons and lawyers. I became friends with Ann Cryer, the MP for Bradford West. I also started a degree course in South Asian Communities Studies. This would give me the qualification to become a teacher. The family were furious. Beast was beside himself with anger at having a wife such as I. My mother cursed the day I was born to her. I was ruining the 'family honour' by getting an education. However, none of this deterred me. I passed my first year with flying colours and received a letter from the then Secretary of Education, Diana Cavannah.
By now I was nearly 26 years old. I had learnt to drive and I passed my test. My father was too busy to know me. Beast was beside himself with anger and always threatened to beat me if I ever thought about going to college. But by now, he knew I was too strong to take his beatings. It was the love and protection for my kids that had made me so brave. I was like a mother eagle protecting her eggs. I never felt safe in my own home. I was always alert.
Then, we had a phone call from India. His mother was very ill, or so I thought. She wanted to see her grand children for one last time before her death. I was told by my parents to be a good daughter in law and a good wife to beast and take the children. I was reluctant because I just had this gut feeling that something was not right. I could and can take anything happening to me but if anything was to happen to any of my children, then I would and will burn down this whole world. A mother does have that strength. I know I do.
Under immense pressure from parents and phone calls from India, I agreed to go to India with my innocent children so that their grand mother could see them. The twins were nearly 10 years old, my son was nearly 9 and the youngest was 5.
As soon as we got to my in laws' house, I knew straight away that history had repeated itself. The grand mother was not ill at all, she was not dying. I decided there and then, that this was as far as history would go because there was no way on earth, my daughters were going to become child brides. The illness was all a trick to get my innocent twin girls to marry men who were over 20 years old. I went mad. I went ballistic. I wanted to tear everyone and everything limb from limb with my bare hands. I screamed and shouted and argued. My children were like little lambs in a land of wolves. They had no one but their mother, me, a 5' 1" woman.
The in laws didn't like that I was objecting to their demands. My mother in law didn't want to look at my face. Beast slept with his mother from day one. I was given a room with a back door to it. This back door had all suitcases and furniture in front of it so it was not used. The house was a mansion but not as big as the one I was born in. There were 17 rooms, in a semi-circle and there was a sitting area in the middle. That was like a courtroom and in the evenings, beast, his parents and his 5 older brothers along with their wives and children, would sit and talk until the small hours of the morning. My children and I would be in our room and I got the in laws to put a big television and got Disney videos for the kids.
I wanted to come back to England and the in laws were determine to have their way with my twins, so we didn't speak to each other very much. I spent all my time with my kids. 2 weeks into the trip, it was a Wednesday. I was feeling quite ill. The night before, my kids were not feeling well either but on this Wednesday, they slept. My children were sound asleep. I was quite puzzled that they were sleeping all through the day but then I thought it was better for them to sleep then to be bored or to be ill.
The house was fearfully quiet. The 9 servants were given 2 days off for some reason. What was it? This fearful feeling within me? I couldn't quite put my finger on it and on that Wednesday at around 5pm, I drifted off to sleep.
There was only one huge bed. I would have the kids behind me because I felt that if anything or anyone was to come and harm us, then they would harm me first as I was nearest to the door. There was always a power cut after 10pm so I always kept an oil lamp slowly burning. My children didn't like the dark. I was asleep. At about 3am, I awoke with a start. The power had gone. The oil lamp was burning very weakly. A lizard ran across the wall and I followed it with my eyes. Then I felt someone was trying to open the door, the door to this room that I was in with my children. I looked in that direction. Then to my horror, I saw a knife slowly, ever so slowly come up to the latch and undid it. The door was now open. In the weak light, I saw a huge figure. The figure was breathing very heavily. I tried to get up and found that I could not move from the neck down. I could only move my eyes. When I tried to scream, no sound came out. I was too weak. Something had been done to me to get me in a position where I was helpless.
Trying to turn my eyes to my sleeping children, I thought of what was about to happen. Was my brother in law here to kill me? Was he here to snatch away my twins? Was he here to rape me? NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO. I began praying to my Allah, my God, the only one who could help me, save me and my innocent children.
As the brother in law got nearer and nearer to me. I began working through my body to see if there was any part of me that could move. I managed to wiggle my toe. He got nearer and tears streamed down my cheeks as I prayed and tried to gather all the courage and strength a mother could gather. He was now near enough to touch me. He put his right hand on my breast and that's when He helped. All of a sudden the power was back on. The lights came on and at that moment, with all of my strength, I lift my leg and kicked the brother in law very hard. He fell back and I stood up and picked up the oil lamp and brought it back on to his head.
He was bleeding and yelling, calling me every name under the sun. The whole household was in the room and my mother in law said that I was a very bad girl for 'first calling her son into my room for sex and then pretending he was here to rape me'. I said that I wanted to ring my mother. I rang mother who told me that it was my battle and I should fight it, alone.
In the morning, I was still shaking from the experience. My children slept through the whole ordeal and the funny thing was, they were only barely awake now too. I said that I wanted a doctor to see my children but was told that until I agreed to the marriage of the twins, there would be no help of any kind for me or my children. Beast was in on everything that was happening.
I shut the door and sat quietly with a candle lit near to me. I looked up in the air and tried to find my Allah, my God and ask Him to help me get out of this hell, if not for my sake then for the sake of these 4 innocent children. I had a little phone book with me that I kept under my pillow all the time. I rang my mother's brother, who has no children and is a very, very kind human being. I begged him to help me and my children. He said he will help. It was Thursday afternoon. My uncle came to see me. He closed the door and told me that he had managed to hire a mini van and that I should not say a word if I am to take my kids out of here alive. He said that he needed me to clear the way of the back door but do it so that no one suspects anything. I asked if we could leave tomorrow. He said yes, tomorrow, 1am, I should be ready.
My Allah was with me. Beast and his 3 brothers had gone to Lahore, Pakistan, for the day. This meant I wouldn't have to worry about him walking in on me while I was clearing the way for my escape. I got my little girl's back-pack and in it I put mine and the children's passports. I put in it £4000. That money was to be turned into rupees but beast had not got round to doing that yet. I then sat and thought about what would happen if I was to get caught or if someone should suspect and I get caught while on my way to the airport. No, I would rather kill myself and the kids then let my kids live a life worse than hell. With this traumatic and horrific thought, I went out of my room and went straight for the kitchen. I went for the cupboard with a huge box of rat poison. I came back to my room. The kids had been asleep for most of the past 2 days. I should be worried but as things were, I would rather they slept through then awake and cry in pain as they were getting and looking very weak. All they drank was coke and all they ate was bread. I brought the rat poison into the room and opened up 5 coke bottles. I put lots of poison in each of the bottles and then closed them tight. If I found myself surrounded by these people after being caught on my way to the airport then the children and I would drink this coke and be dead before anyone could hurt us any more. This was it. It was all or nothing, life or death.
I lit a small candle and sat with the little light from that flickering candle. I prayed to my Allah and asked Him for his protective shadow as I was going to need it more then ever now. I knew if I got caught, there was only death that would save me from these people. I had already disgraced the family's good name by not agreeing to my twins' marriages and also I was doing a degree course which was unheard of. I was a very bad daughter in law and a bad daughter but something inside me told me that I was a good mother. A mother with a lot of strength and a lot of will power. Enough will power to fight to death for the sake of her children.
I was in a land of butchers and my children and I were the lambs. Lambs to the slaughter. No matter how much we would have screamed, no one would have come, no one ever came. Even after putting poison in the coke bottles, I didn't shed a single tear. I didn't want to scream out at the thought of killing my own children. I don't think I had any tears and screams left within me. There was only one goal what I needed to achieve and that was, to somehow get out of this hellish place, alive with my children. There were mountains all around the huge house. Servants swarmed the place.
There were cows, sheep, dogs, cats, birds, horses and donkeys all over the place. There was a stream near the house where the servant girls took the clothes and washed them by the stream. If a foreigner was to go there, the place would look no less then paradise to him. It was only if you were a woman and had some self-respect that you realised how many satans occupied that place. They weren't satans, they were the Pharoahs of this world. However I knew that if these Pharoahs caught me leaving their land with these innocent children, no rivers would open up to swallow them, so that was why I had the rat poison with me.
As no one visited my room, it made it easier for me to slowly move the table and chairs away from the back door and make just enough room for myself and the kids to get out. Now I waited for nightfall. 1am was good time because the mother in law awoke at 5am to pray each morning. I went into the kitchen and brought some food for myself. The kids were moving so I got them some bread. We all ate very little and the kids lied down again.
At around 1am, when all was quiet, I heard a very, very soft knock at the back door. It was all I needed. I picked up my bag of passports, poison and money and I went and put it in the van first. It was very old. I then came back and quietly awoke the kids one by one as I took them by the hand and led them into the van. They went quietly, as if they knew this was it. I then ran back for the last time and brought out 2 throw overs and covered my children with them as they went back to sleep again.
We started off. I prayed and went over all the verses of the Qur'an that I knew. I knew it was only the Lord God who could now see me through and if those people were to catch me then I would know that it was the will of Allah that I end my children's and my life. Clutching the bag and touching my children softly I prayed.
These eyes, the beautiful eyes, were so very full of fear and pain. The lack of sleep, ever since that night of the rape incident hadn't helped either. The corners of my eyes were sore and every time I closed my eyes it would sting. I had to keep these eyes open. I just looked back all the time. I would shudder every time a truck was nearing our van, thinking it was them and the grip on the bag with the poison would get tighter.
It was a 3 hour journey from Raheiyaan to the airport. Finally, the airport was in sight. The kids were squirming by now and wanted a drink. I asked them to wait. The poisonous coke was all I had and I was never giving them that unless it was absolutely essential.
We quickly got off the van and half ran and half dragged the kids inside. The final announcement was being made for Manchester. God, Manchester, the promised land. Just as we approached the check- point, a man came upto me and my uncle and asked if we needed any 'help'. I knew what he meant. He wanted money but I also knew that if I gave him a lot of money then he would see to it that I reached the plane quickly and safely. I didn't fuss and gave him as many pound notes as my hand would allow. His eyes lit up and he told my uncle that he would take it from here. I thanked my uncle and again ran towards the huge plane which would take me and my children out of this hell. As I ran I threw the bottles against a wall so that they broke and all the poison spilt away. We dragged the kids up the staircase and I saw the two ladies close the door. My hell was over. I had managed to bring my kids out of India and back into the free world, back to life, back to hopes, dreams and happiness. I smiled softly for the first time and closed my eyes when a single tear dropped from my right eye.
3 weeks later, beast came back and again my life became a misery. The children and I were nearly over our trip but for me another hell broke loose. Beast had returned from India with an illness. He was for some reason, impotent. He blamed me. He said that there was something wrong with me and I had given him this illness. My mother scolded me day and night and my in laws didn't want to know me any more because I had put the family's name to mud by running away like that.
I was much too strong for him now. I didn't let beast come near me. However I did have to go and get tested to see if there was any sexual disease that I had, which made beast become impotent. I was fine. I kept that test result. Beast got more aggressive as the days went by. My father was called to India by my in laws to 'settle' some matters. I didn't know which matters.
After my father left for India, beast demanded that I sleep with him. I objected and he suddenly took the phone receiver off the phone and put the cord around my neck and I began choking. I had my mobile in my hand and I pressed 999. He let go and said I shouldn't tell anyone what had happened. The ambulance came and I told them what had happened. They called the police. My sister took the kids and I was asked to explain again as to what had happened. As I was talking, I felt dizzy and then collapsed. I awoke at the hospital with wires coming out of my body. It seemed as though I had had a stroke of some kind.
Murder and Divorce
I came back home 2 days later. It was the 1st of April and mother got a phone call saying my father had been murdered by my father in law. At first we thought it was all a big joke. As it was April fool's day. It was no joke. Dad had been poisoned and he was buried before a post mortem could take place. My mother blamed me as it was my fault that my in laws were angry so they took revenge by murdering my father. I went ballistic. I swore and swore for the first time in my life. I pushed beast so hard he fell to the ground. I told everyone who was listening that this marriage was now over. I said it 3 times. My mother disowned me. That was ok because I was not going to spend another minute with the son of the guy who murdered my father, not to mention the hell my children went through. My hells were over.
Today, 8 years later, my children are all grown up. The twins are 18 years old, very beautiful and intelligent, with handsome and hard working boy friends. My son is 17 years old and he is doing a diploma in performing arts. My youngest, the little madam, is 13 years old and has a special talent in music. She is gifted and talented. I love my kids. I love my life. I love everything around me. Today I have my own home, a promising career, a healthy bank balance, my freedom and my kids who respect me. I have won numerous poetry competitions both nationally and internationally. I dance and hummm all day long.
My children will be grown and flown soon. I sometimes think of what it would
be like when my kids all have their own lives, how I would feel?? Loneliness might not be too nice but I do like the quiet in my life though. When I feel alone, I smile and look up through the skies and ask my Allah. Is there a prince charming in the story of this princess??? Only time will tell ... ... ... ... ... ... ..
Thank you for taking the time to read my story. God bless you.
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