An Inanimate Object

By Nisar Bostan

I wake up to the sound of the Adhaan,
reverberating through each and every wall of the house,
I make my way to school against the unsteady terrain,
the warm glow of the sun creating a silhouette;
young in age and youthful in appearance,
there is no difference between me and you.

As I enter the train station, I tighten my scarf;
head bowed, I make my way to the platform;
oblivious to the surreptitious exchange of glances.
A man towers above me, scrutinizing my appearance,
the lust in his eyes conspicuous to all.
I look out of the window, the ocean appears;
a vast expanse of water, as I reach out to it
it disappears,
there is no difference between me and you.

I make my way unnoticeably through the scores of people;
the distinctive sound of rickshaws hooting in the distance
accompany me on my journey.
A woman waits tentatively on the side of the road;
her short skirt attracting the attention of the passers-by,
there is no difference between me and you.

I walk past a couple of young men cavorting in the middle of the road,
swinging an empty bottle threateningly at those who dared to intervene.
I could feel their eyes burning down on me.

As I turn sharply into a slender boulevard,
the caressing grip on my school-books waning,
incoherent murmur and tacit footsteps haunt my intermittent heartbeat.

Come on. Come on.

Perspiration breaks loose from my forehead,

the beads of sweat palpable to my fear.

 

I desperately try to pull down my scantily clad uniform,

the ruckus and anarchy of the city left behind in my wake.

My scarf gives way first, an object in the wind…

A figure hurries past me; a sheepish look his only sympathy,
dragged into a desolate gali, I give up.

I look up at one of them; a fleeting meeting of the eyes;
is there a difference between me and you?

Glossary

Adhaan:  The Islamic call to prayer.

Bazaar: A market.

Rickshaw: A small two-wheeled cart for one passenger, pulled by one person.

Gali: Avenue.