The girl who was once 19.
“I am still accused of things. I am still left to fight my own demons. Every now and then I suffer the consequences of things I never did and dreams of the past that still haunts me in my sleep. I lose patience and self-control when these thoughts come gushing like high-speed water – and I just simply get carried to a far, distant and lonely place. It is in these moments I learned to be strong.
I was accused and let down by people I loved. My dreams were called ‘agendas’ because I married a wealthy and a much more settled person than me at the age of 19. My love was being questioned. It was wrapped under the fancy cars he had, and the awards and the stature he held at that time. I was a no one. My words were always misinterpreted because they were not as polished and as evolved as they are now. I was called selfish and heartless when I decided to give up on the marriage. I made the decision that my son and I will never meet him again. It was a heartless, but logical decision. What is one left with when a loved one tramples your heart?
I was 19, in the second year of college, when I decided to run away and break all ties with my parents to succumb to the so-called ‘love and courtship’ of a mere 6 months. The person I married was already divorced and 15 years elder to me. Soon enough I realised this isn’t the right thing to have done.
Since I ran away from my family and they were upset with me, I couldn’t muster the courage to tell them that I want to come back. So I played along. I also say that marriage is a two-person game – if one gives up, then both lose. In my case, we both made our share of mistakes. I didn’t want to demean anyone since everyone has their reasons. Those reasons cost me a lot. It made Kabir (my son) and I suffer through hell and if asked today, he would conveniently put the blame on me as it happens and is the rule of their universe. But I don’t blame him. These adversities made me who I am today. And I don’t want Kabir to grow up and read how I spoke about divorce. There are enough and more nasty stories around it. I would like to be poised and talk about my road from there. Maintaining my dignity, I decided to move out.
I set out for a new world. A world where I was called a ‘divorcee’. Honestly, I never thought that just this change, which is a very personal one, would affect the whole world and they would come raging at my existence. Some even called me a thief, saying I have fled with a large sum of money, which they are sorry about saying, now. Some decided to bully, some took advantage, and some were worse than crocodiles. Because crocodiles simply kill and eat you. These people decided to love me first. So I decided to write about it. I cried and wrote. Cried more and wrote less initially. The more I tried to explain, the more I was accused. The more I tried to seek peace, the further I was criticised. I was told I was not replaceable and yet I was replaced every day by other so-called important things. I was told that I wasn’t cheated on, and yet my emotions were cheated upon every day. Sometimes by myself and mostly by others. This ‘bad, selfish, inhuman girl’ I was accused of being was created by people who don’t hold any accountability. Whenever I opened my heart to men who claimed to love me, I was shown it’s ugly and full of personal agendas. Every time I wanted to plan a life with someone else, they never wanted to take responsibility for my son. They all wanted me, but minus him.
Every day changed me and made me harder on myself. I cried but no one heard. I wrote but no one read. I changed but no one saw. I starved and no one fed me. I was vulnerable but no one came to stand by. And then I was told by these wolves, ‘What more do you want, don’t you feel loved already?’ And in those midnight tears, I laughed at myself. And decided to tell them what I deserve. I remember someone from another relationship telling me, ‘You should be happy, at least I am taking off one major thing in your to-do list by marrying you!’ I dumped him. There was another guy who had a tiff with Kabir because he changed the TV channel and had thrown away the food plate on the ground in front of my son. These were men who called themselves ‘mature’ but didn’t know how to handle a broken child and a broken woman.
I decided to become a storm. A storm makes its own way and people see from where it passed. I left those people unattended and craving for my attention and I moved on. Some wrote back in the hope they would find an entry again, but I patiently wait for the day when they would realize every single tear they caused me and my son. Then they realize what it is to feel broken and then broken again on top of that. It’s not right to make people who love you survive on the bare minimum and expect great things out of that relationship. It’s not okay to treat and meet someone on your convenience. It’s not okay to expect love without putting any effort in, or putting it somewhere else. It’s not okay to disappear on people or lead them in with no intentions of walking together. And most importantly, to expect loyalty without any commitment.
I decided to change, to rise, and to soar. I decided to go for everything they said I could never have. I stopped waiting for love around the corner and started planting seeds of words in other people’s hearts. And today there are more than 100 thousand people who love me. I write every day to give myself strength. Honestly, I don’t write for anyone but myself, but I put it out there so just in case it makes sense to someone else, and makes them feel understood, that’s a bonus. From being jobless to a senior creative director, from a no one to the Modern Sufi on social media, from a vulnerable single mother to an iron woman, I have chosen my words as my weapon of choice.
My son is my world and the man I completely trust. I use his name as my surname after divorce. Vani Kabir. And then on my journey, I was captioned ‘The Modern Sufi.’ Because I think Sufi and behave modern. People often remind me I am a single mother. I tell them, ‘I was a single mother even when I was married.’ And to raise up a child single-handedly is going against the current. From the school admissions where they look at you like, ‘Will you be able to afford his education’, to Kabir’s peers who tease him for not having a father, and all the mother-in-laws you gain after you are divorced in form of neighbours. They all play their exquisite role in your life.
Love is a fragile thing. Relationships are the ground on which our society stands. Respect it, value it. Don’t put anyone in a situation where you can’t see yourself in because, believe me, if you do, put them in hurtful shoes. They are going to come right back at your face and with a bang!!!
I am Vani Kabir – and this is a part of my story. I am writing it as I move along.”