Teacup Heart U, Me and Coffee Talks...!!: Tabassum - A Smile

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Sunday 2 June 2013

Tabassum - A Smile

There I was sitting by the lake side, gazing at the star-studded night. And trying to get involved with the ambience around me.  I could feel the silence in the surroundings and I tried to feel ‘peace’ if this is what it means. People always say that the best things in the world are felt with closed eyes.. And as soon as I closed my eyes and tried to feel the peacefulness around…The gentle breeze of spring surrounded the cold atmosphere..  And I was about to frame a picture of “Symbol of Peace”, when I suddenly was shuddered by the sounds of sobbing and weeping..

I immediately opened my eyes and looked around.. The moonlight was faint enough to give me a clear view. So I went nearer to the object or figure from where the sobbing sound came..  As soon as I got nearer, I saw a lady in creased synthetic saree, may be in 30’s standing at the lake on a few feet wall that surrounded it and almost on the edge of it. Moreover, I recognized from her bumpy belly that she must have been pregnant. And was standing on the edge of the wall and thinking whether to jump off the wall into the lake or not.. The blue waters of lake of course seem to be calling for her.

I thought to ignore her, scared of not getting involved into any issue like any other normal citizen…(Mango Man/Girl)…But all of a sudden there was something that made me pause. I just made up my mind, went to her and asked her – “Excuse me..!”..

She was scared and was almost shivering and turned around and burst into tears aloud.. I let her cry for her catharsis to burst out.. After few minutes I gave her a bottle of water to drink… And asked her what was she upto and why? And what was her name and all..

She wiped of her tears and told me – “My name is Tabassum. I have come from Kolkata. I am pregnant and …”  

Before she could say further I interrupted… Don’t know for what.. and said – “The father of the kid left you so u r ending your life? Why? What is the fault of the kid that has not even born? U can’t give punishment to an embryo for the crime done by a father naa? And blah blah blah..”

But ya after Tamanna, again a name I fell in love with Tabassum – A smile…

She dint utter a word and let me speak. Once I was done with my questionnaire with no answers given from her. She told me – “I don’t know who the father is.. ” And she gave me a stare..

I looked her straight into the eye. For some reason I could not take my eyes off that tearful hazel eyes which sparkled more with tears.  All of a sudden I was shaken with cool breeze and by assembling words very difficultly I asked her.. “uuuuhhhmmmm… what do u mean?”

She took a deep breath and told me – “I am Tabassum. I have come from Kolkata. I am pregnant. I was born in one of the slum areas of Kolkata.  I was malnourished as a child. But recently I come from a place where there are bright tungsten lights at grocery shops and high volume pop music playing at the tea stalls. And between those tea stalls, are the narrow lanes where young girls with heavy makeup and colourful clothes get lined up. The girls of various ages, religions, caste, etc that try to draw attention of men by laughing, chuckling and pulling their hands..”

I suddenly felt the tiny droplets of perspiration on my forehead inspite of cold weather and my hands shivering and going numb. And I was almost about to say .. “So u r a prostit***”.. But I hardly can be that blunt ever so I decided to keep mum and asked her to continue.

She continued – “It was a mandatory contract that we were to serve atleast 10-15 customers each day .. When I went there for the first time, my dad took me there and left me when I was 12 years of age… I felt it all very gaudy and dirty and denied to do what Sardarni asked me to do…(the brothel owner).. But my dad had left me there for good and there was no escape and dint know way to my home..  So I was forced to serve a customer at the age of 12 and I was bleeding and crying…”

She was almost into tears as if it all happened yesterday.. I patted her on her back and asked her to drink some more water..

She continued- “ I used to serve customers one after another whole day and night .. almost 20-25.. And If I denied to do that I was not served food for that day…”

I started shivering now. I asked her – “What is ur age?”

She said – “I am 18 years old now”… And I was shocked .. Because she looked in 30s..

I asked – “But u look much elder than your age?”… And I was still not believing her age.. I thought may be because she’s from slum area, she might not be knowing her perfect age but half the age??

She told me – “When I joined I was malnourished. So I was given injections of ‘Oradexon’ – a steroid in order to gain weight, appear healthier and more attractive to clients.. And this drug can be found on any tea stalls or grocery shops around the brothel.. We don’t require prescription for it..”

And I was like numb now.. I asked her “Is this the same drug that farmers use to fatten their cattle”.. and she agreed to it.. Now I was speechless..

She continued – “ We are given 300-500 rs per day… But I don’t know how much I actually earned because Sardarni used to take away all my income and in return she served me food for 3-4 times a day. For me, that was enough.. Food and shelter! .. May be because some customer might not have used precautions so I got pregnant and my sardarni left me.. Because she knew that I was of no use to her since I would not have been able to serve the customers… I came here with one of my friends who brought me here… But I lost her on the station… And now I am pennyless and jobless and shelterless.. If I can not survive, how will this kid survive? .. And even if I survive and give birth to a child and if it happens to be a girl, due to poverty it will again be the next Tabassum? ..i don’t want it… ”

I just asked her if she knew all household work.. She agreed to it.. I told her to save her ownself and the kid as well by working as a maid at various places..  She can earn her living and also bring up her child in a better way. She was lost in thoughts for sometime…

Then she agreed to it and decided to stand on her own feet… I gave her food and some money and left from there…

Again… as soon as I turned.. she gave me a voice.. “Memsaab… Thank you for saving mine and my kid’s life..” and she smiled… 

I just told her – “God bless u and the kid and keep smiling!”

A Smile – A Tabassum was back on her face which had faded and crushed long before…


  1. and for the first time i' m speechless.. ;)
    awesome is an understatement for this article ..:)

    1. oh my god! .. m really happy to see this comment.. U made my day... Thank u so much for the compliments... <3

  2. I am just so proud of u barkha..! Glad to have a daughter like you.. The way u have written such a sensitive issue.. I agree awesome is an understatement for sure..!!

    1. Thank u Mom...<3 .. yup its sensitive.. its the first article that has left me numb and into tears..

  3. my sensible dii lov you :)

  4. Barkha.. You are great writer!!! I dont have words.. Nice story!! 😊

    1. Thanks Urvi.. U made me smile with ur comment.. Thank u <3

  5. amazzzzing write up...

    this issue needs to be addressed to the whole country.... till the time there is sooo much poverty n population this shall happen.... literacy shall lack ... we shud jus b thankful to GOD for making us live the life the way we chose... God Bless us ALL

    1. Yup aashaka.. I being a girl really feel blessed to have such family... Thank u so much <3

  6. Totally Speechless....
    Amazing... :)
    U shud write up a buk abt it so dat the world knws abt all dese... (Y):)

    1. hahah.. thanks tanya.. thank you so much for the compliments... its my mom's dream too that i should write a book...:D.. <3

  7. I'm speechless!
    Another awesome article for your avid readers(Y):)

    1. haha. thank u so much for such a heart felt comment... M happy it touched u.. <3

  8. Keep up the good work Barkha. God bless.

    1. Thank u soooo much.. Am so happy getting a comment from the National Bestseller Author.. Almost Jumping with Joy... Thank u sooo sooo sooo much.. <3

  9. Well, commenting after Novoneel bro...doesn't make sense. :)
    Still- Here is my take.
    It has got a strict resemblance with reality and as far as writing is concerned, it is best when people could connect to it.
    And this article really escaped from the little world of people to connect with the dark reality of a society which we call civilized.
    A commendable work indeed.

    It's really nice. It was long I didn't get to read things pointing out to social issues...
    and this was a perfect blend...emotions...ambiance...everything in the right place...

    1. Thank u so much Sobhan.. Ur comment has made me feel humbled.. Thank u so much really... I am glad it stirred up the emotions... of many people...


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