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Neelam was a 16-year-old girl, born and raised in a broken and poor family. Her mom was a teacher and Neelam was raised to believe that education is the most important thing in a woman’s life. She was and A grade student since day 1, she always managed to stay on top in school and all extra activities in school.
She was doing very good with her life until she met Farhan, a 19-year-old boy who she met at a tuition center. Farhan was a good looking guy and all he ever talked about was girls as he was very popular among them. Neelam had no interest in him as she was focused on her studies only.
That didn’t stop Farhan from stalking Neelam everywhere she went. After the tuition center when Neelam would be walking back to home, Farhan and his friends would follow her on their bikes, but Neelam could not say anything about it to her mom as she would get scared and stop sending her to school.
One day when Neelam was on her way to the tuition center, Farhan’s friend Moazam pulled over by her and asked for five minutes of her time. Neelam was hesitant, but she knew the only way to get rid of Moazam was to just talk to him. Moazam told Neelam that Farhan was crazily in love with her and he wants to go on a date with her. Neelam refused and started walking again, but Moazam did not want to quit yet. He pulled over again and told her that Farhan can not eat or sleep and that he really needs to talk to you.
Neelam refused yet again and walked away. She made her way to the tuition center as fast as she could and when she got there, she saw Farhan sitting with his head down all sad with the puppy dog eyes. Neelam thought Farhan was cute, but she was scared that she would lose the focus on her studies, and if her mom was to find out about this, she would beat her senseless. Neelam decided to talk to Farhan face to face and ask him to back off. Even though she was tempted, there was no way anything could happen between them.
Neelam walked up to Farhan after the class and asked him to talk, she told him she can’t talk to him and nothing could happen between them. But Farhan was an expert when it came to girls, and he somehow convinced Neelam that she was safe with him and nothing bad would ever happen. Farhan told Neelam to meet him before the class tomorrow and that they would ditch the class and go to Moazam’s apartment to hang out and talk. He promised Neelam he would not lay a hand on her.
Next day Neelam got all dressed up for her very first date in life. She put her long wavy hair into a braid which fell all the way down to her hips and stole her mom’s perfume. Even though she was determined to not let anything happen with Farhan, she was still a 16 years old girl with feelings and infatuation.
Farhan picked her up from behind the tuition center, and they both walked into Moazam’s apartment. The apartment looked like it was only used to smoke cigarettes, as there was no furniture but one little mattress in a corner and a rug covered with cigarette burns. Neelam was scared, but she soon got distracted by Farhan’s sweet talking. And, before she could bring herself back to senses, Farhan started kissing her, she pushed him away and backed up from him. She started yelling at him, “you promised me nothing would happen, why are you doing this? I trusted you!!” she kept yelling at him until Farhan jumped on her covered her mouth shut and molested her.
She kept crying quietly until it was all over. Farhan put his clothes back on and gave her a hug. He told her he loved her and he would always have her back no matter what. Neelam was still disgusted by what had happened and didn’t say a word. Farhan dropped her home and kept telling her that he loved her and this wasn’t just a one-time thing, but Neelam was still in shock and didn’t say a word.
She walked into her house and laid down on the small mattress she shared with her sisters. She cried all night in pain and horror, she kept recalling everything that happened and how it had completely destroyed her. The next few days she stayed home and stopped going to the tuition center and everything was back to normal until she missed her period and started puking every single day. She was scared that she might be pregnant, and she had only one way to find out without her mom finding out about it, ask Farhan for help.
One day Farhan took her to the doctor and they found out she was pregnant, both Neelam and Farhan were shocked and scared to death. Farhan suggested that Neelam should get an abortion right away so no one will ever find out about it, but Neelam was scared of doing that so she decided to talk to her mom about it.
A mother, her own mother, she would understand her situation, right? Parents all love their kids, they do what’s better for them. That night Neelam gathered the courage to talk to her mom about the whole situation, at first her mom didn’t say a word but then she got up and went to Neelam’s room. She was shoving everything that Neelam owned, into a bag. Neelam got scared and asked her mom,” What are you doing mom? Are we going somewhere?” but her mom didn’t even mumble a word, she just kept on packing the bag.
She grabbed the bags and Neelam and threw her out on the street, she said, “Call that guy to come take you! You are dead to me!”, she shut the door on her. Neelam cried and screamed, ” Let me in please, I have nowhere to go mom please” but she got no response. Their neighbors peeked through the windows to see what was happening, but no one offered any help.
Neelam kept walking with her bag until she found a public phone. She called Farhan as he had enough money to own a landline. He rushed to her house with Moazam to pick her up. They took her back to the same apartment where it all had happened. Neelam was scared and unsure of her future as she had always been the kind of girl who knows exactly what she wants to do next with her life, but everything had changed and life for Neelam would not be the same ever again.
Farhan got Neelam some food as she was starving, and told her that he had an idea on what to do so it can all go back the way it was. He offered her help with the abortion, and said, “I have talked to a nurse who used to take care of my grandmother and she has agreed to help us abort the baby. She is very experienced and you would not even feel a thing. We just have to wait a couple months for the baby to grow before she can perform the procedure on you” he explained.
Why a couple more months? Neelam did not see the sense in this, she had seen her mother give birth to her youngest siblings when she was 7 years old and knew that this could not be normal. Scared to death, she had no other option. She started living in the empty apartment for a while and Farhan would come visit her all the time. She was just starting to warm up to the thought of actually loving Farhan as he was taking care of her and actually showed up to rescue her when she was in need.
Farhan introduced Neelam to his grandmother who would bring Neelam food and supplies to get through this every week. She was very supportive and started talking to Farhan to actually consider marrying Neelam as the poor girl had no one but him left in her world and it was all because of him, because of his lust. But, Farhan wasn’t the kind of guy who would give into commitment so early at the age of 19.
Finally, the day came, when Neelam was 2 months pregnant and the nurse was ready to abort the baby. It was around 12 pm and it was so hot it felt like the sun was getting closer by every minute, which made the bike ride even harder for Neelam. As they made their way towards this small colony where instead of buildings they had huts made of clay and the whole area was filled with garbage, Neelam started feeling sick and very scared.
An abortion? A surgery in this dirty place? she thought to herself, “ if this procedure doesn’t kill me an infection might”. Farhan looked at her and told her she was going to be fine and that she needs to accept that none of them are actually ready for a responsibility this big. She walked into the hut with the nurse, who looked quite scary. She had a judgmental look on her face as she looked at Neelam. She looked like she did not even care for the patient she was about to perform a surgery on.
She said it wasn’t going to be very complicated and gave her an anesthesia. The anesthesia might have been mixed with other stuff as it knocked Neelam out in minutes and when she woke up, she was bleeding, so much blood that she got scared. She yelled at the nurse ” what have you done??? what is this?? Why am I bleeding like this?” the nurse simply told her that the bleeding will stop soon and she had mistakenly cut her lining around the vagina to get the fetus out.
In extreme pain, Neelam still managed to grab her clothes and walk out with Farhan, who was very quiet for some reason. As they got back to the apartment, Neelam took some painkillers and went to sleep for a couple hours. When she woke up she heard some voices in the next room, it was Farhan talking to some girl. Neelam sneaked up behind him and saw them making out.
She knew in that moment why Farhan had said he wasn’t ready for the responsibility yet. He was not done fooling around with different women every day. Neelam went back to bed without saying a word, no idea of what would happen with her life and what she was supposed to do, she just laid there crying all night long.
When Neelam finally had the guts to confront Farhan about the other day when she saw him, he told her that, “they are just my friends. I like fooling around with them and I am just trying to enjoy my youth days”. Neelam was disappointed with the only person she had thought about. She made a big mistake of trusting a teenage guy.
She thought about how a man wants to enjoy his youth, flirt with different girls, date and have sex with women he does not intend to marry and then when it his turn to choose a girl to get married to, he wants that one girl who is a virgin, never been touched by another guy, but is also very modern and open-minded towards things. How is that fair? Is a man really a man if he does this?
Neelam still had nowhere else to go and Farhan’s grandmother was not going to sit idle while Farhan fooled around in front of Neelam every night. She talked to both the families and decided to marry them to each other even if they did not agree to it. She said they had made their choices when they chose to go on a date, with that they were both forced into a marriage which everyone knew would be a huge mistake.
From day one, Neelam was despised by every family member of Farhan’s family except for his grandmother. When a year passed by and his grandmother got really sick, things started to accelerate. Farhan was sent to work against his will so he can be able to provide financial means to Neelam, which made him hate her. And, while he was at work and with friends after work for long hours, Neelam was left alone with the strangers she had accepted as a family.
Farhan’s dad and brother would pick fights with Neelam over very little things. His sister and mother would call her ugly and dirty all the time. When Neelam would try to fight back to these comments and little arguments, they would beat her. One day, things got so heated that Farhan’s dad and brother ripped her clothes and threw her out on the street.
She would always find shelter at the neighbor’s house as they loved Neelam for her kind heart but above all, pitied her situation, but that wasn’t enough. Neelam applied to a university and got into it. When she started to study, everything would go away. She was doing something productive, something she was proud of.
She was a class topper again and managed to ace every exam and test no matter what Farhan’s family said or did, to put her down. She had found her motivation again and she was used to all the beating and abuse she had to deal with when she got home every day. The beating temporarily stopped when she got pregnant again as this was going to be the first kid of their oldest son. That’s when they all stopped harassing her.
When she had the baby, a beautiful little girl, everyone was happy. Neelam was happy that she had someone other than Farhan to look after now. Everyone loved the baby, but as soon as Neelam got back into shape they started beating her again. As the baby grew up to be a little girl in that family, always looking at her mom getting beaten up by her uncles and granddad that she loves so much, she felt scared, and she thought her mother had done something bad.
Neelam started taking her baby to the classes with her to keep her close to herself. But, as Neelam started succeeding in her career, she started drifting away from the baby and years went by like this until the baby was 7 years old, and was pampered by every single member of the family. That was the day when Neelam realized she could walk away from the family, all the abuse, and she could leave her child with this family because they seemed to love her a lot and had more financial means to provide for the girl.
Neelam soon got a scholarship and left Pakistan for good. Her education saved her, one bad decision destroyed her, but in the end, she was able to provide her child with proper support, a loving family even if it had to be without her.
Educated and strong women are the ones who make and build families, not the girls who you cut off from education and marry off to a stranger as soon as they turn 18. Every woman deserves a good education and every woman deserves to choose her husband. If men can do it, so can women.