Her smile tried to hide the evident pain in her eyes. While adding sugar to her coffee she said ‘I was fighting for his daughter’s education but he tried to kill me twice.’ She talked about her other hardships with the same ease. Did she become numb to her problems or speaking about them with this ease made it less painful?
As I wondered topic changed and we talked about our beautiful college structure and the recent trip to Sikkim we had. Suddenly there was happiness in her eyes as she spoke of her trip to Assam. She showed pictures from her phone and shared her experience. The sorrow redeemed her eyes as she plainly said how she regrets for not being able to study in a proper college with the constant nervous smile on her face.
She further spoke about the education of her sons, what they are pursuing etc. However, sons are not so much into her literature side. In this moment it was difficult to read her eyes, she looked glad and a bit taken back at the same time. She said they are proud of her work but don’t really sit back and read it all. None of these emotions held her smile back.
As I had written about her mother after watching the documentary, with lot of courage I asked Salma about the bond she shares with her mother. She answered with ease that there is lot of love, only that mother is still very innocent. She said her mother doesn’t understand human rights etc, she still lives in a small world. Till date my mother eats only after my father has food. I cannot blame her, it’s the way she is brought up, it’s the way maximum of the girls there think.
I further asked how she is so different. How did her idea of life change? She immediately replied, ‘it’s because of what I read’. I read a lot and understood things about the world, not everyone there in my village got such understanding.
Salma is a strong woman with an amazing emotional intelligence. She managed to be warm to us in spite of the cold fountains within. Her eyes didn’t hide any emotions but her smile always won it at the end.
Read Salma’s poetry at http://www.poetsalma.com