Stories Seeking Shelters

Asad Gabi Rahji



I was born to a porter father and a jobless mother who had no business except to raise her ten children: nine girls and an only son. I never went to weddings with my mother, occasions which were considered a prime chance for marrying off girls. The destitute life I led with my family put me off the mere idea of marriage or family making.

The one son was my father’s long-life dream, after my mother failed nine times out of ten, bearing him daughters instead. Those failures were accompanied by high blood pressure, joint pains, insufferable moods and consistent bouts of anger and complaining.

I remember once screaming in my father’s face about the terrible fate he forced on us when he brought us into this world. I recall it was right after my sisters and I were diagnosed with vaginitis because we could not afford sanitary pads and were forced to use pieces of cloth instead. Pads were a luxury we couldn’t afford on my father’s meager salary, by the way.

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