The girl’s hands have been painted with henna by her mother in anticipation of tomorrow. Tomorrow is Eid, and mothers paint their girls’ hands. All the relatives, uncles, aunts, and friends will go to each others’ houses and each family will adorn their tablecloth with different dried fruits and fresh fruits. After that all of their relatives and friends will visit each others’ house for three days and they will all pass their time with love and happiness.
Girls and boys will play together. Couples will go with their children to the parks and their parents’ homes and see the other relatives. Everyone will wear new clothes and women wear makeup. And everybody thinks about love, forgiveness, and happiness.
But in our house there was violence and beating and shouting and crying and tears, and nobody came to this girl’s house when they knew about her father’s attitude and behavior. But the girl forgot that she has an angry father, and that Eid would turn into a bad day because of her father. The Mehndi painting on the girl’s hand was like fresh, colorful flowers of the spring, but seeing so much violence had frozen her heart. She had to hide her little hands from the angry eyes of her father.
The girl’s hands were painted as each year passed with coming Eids. She remembers the Eids that were full of pain, full of beatings of her mother by her father, full of violence against her mother and her little painted hands. They were prisoners of her father. She remembers the sound of the whip and seeing her mother’s blood where the whip struck. She is still broken by the pain and tears of those days. She hid herself behind doors to be far away from the angry voice, but she couldn’t escape. Those days are like a nightmare that will never end.
Years passed and her eyes still await the coming Eid with its happiness and love. She wishes for Eid to recognize the true color of her painting. She was married to an old man. She wanted to celebrate Eid with him, but it was like a bad dream because he was like her father, an angry man. She was sold by her father to that man because the man wanted her to bear his child. She experienced all the Eids of her life with pains once again and she assumed that it was normal that women should be like slaves for men.
More years have passed and still she is searching for an answer. “Will I have a peaceful Eid or not? Will I celebrate it or not?” Her hands were never painted again, but her heart was painted by different colors of pain. For her, the color of henna is not the meaning of Eid. The flowers and painting of henna are not the meaning of the spring season.
The girl is grown up now and pains and hardships come day by day but she is stronger than in the past. She has a child who is her dream. She is awaiting her destiny in hopes of Eid. Because of all the hardship in her life, she is lonely, tortured by the domestic violence of her father and husband. She knows she has to possess three qualities to deal with her hardships: strength, more strength, and the strength of her voice. But she has optimism for the future. She has encouraging friends and she works hard. She focuses on her child, a success in school, the key to her optimism, her sunshine after the dark night, her dream for the future. It helps her forget the past nightmares. And finally, she can use her voice to advocate for women’s rights. She works hard for her own dreams.
Photo by Ehpien.