Arshi Mortuza’s short story is a stark reminder of how women are treated in South Asian countries with a captivating narrative that leaves the reader horrified.
The morning after our wedding, I noticed blood trickling down my bride’s legs. My mother caught me staring and softly said, “It is to be expected,” and went on to grind her spices. Later, I found that my wife had mutilated herself. She had gotten rid of the part of her that she realized she would never need — pleasure. I did not complain.
One day, my wife got into a fight with my little brother. It was my sibling who initiated it, but the blame fell onto my wife. My mother feared that the new bride was under the influence of shaitaan (Satan). What else would provoke her to raise her voice at her precious son? Distraught, my wife cut off her tongue and handed it to my mother who placed it in a pickle jar in our kitchen. “This will be better for your marriage,” my mother consoled me.