18 years may not seem like a large amount of time spent in this volatile world however, I believe I have already gone through several phases in my life. Naturally, this is the age when views begin to form and we begin to see things in our own distinct way. At adolescence we are kids by heart, adult by constitution and a down-right mess by fact.
When I was 12 I had a strong fear of the dark and I had to sleep with the lights on with my mother. The fear still exists but has been sidelined and weakened by what I would qualify as “adulthood” although the truth is 6 years have taught me new fears as this age usually does.
The biggest of these being the fear of “loag”. The literal translation of this word being “people” but not humans oh no these “loag” are something else all together. You never see them, you do not know them and they most certainly do not know you. They are monsters created by the South Asian society that exist purely to judge with all-seeing eyes. These “loag” have a say in all matters that occur in the society we live in. They have been given a divine right,by God to speak whatever they want to. Or perhaps they are gods that have the right to dictate how we live our lives.
When a Pashtun singer was killed by her brothers in Peshawar, Pakistan because of family honor I saw these “loag” as the real culprits. “loag” who were not a part of this family, who didn’t know the girl, who didn’t know the brothers but whose point of view on all of them was so important that the brothers found it legal to slaughter their sisters. These “loag” are evil and satanic, yet we listen to them.
When some sane people try to speak against them, they are shunned by a brain-washed society. The “loag” are strong so strong that religion cannot break them. They find a way to molest everything so it obliges with their sick mindsets. Indeed India’s daughters a movie on Delhi gang rape in 2012 was banned in India because of these “loag”.
I have become so used to hearing the term “loag kia kahain gai?”(what will people say?) that I have stopped wondering who these people are. I have stopped wondering who exactly justifies the abandoning of mentally imbalanced patients. Or who agrees that it is correct to comment on the lives and marriages of people. Or who claims it is the victim’s fault in rape. I have stopped wondering if they have a heart or if they even exist. The fear of “loag kia kahain gai” is not a fear anymore it is an autobiography. Listening to these “loag” is a way of life which has been imposed on us, particularly if not only girls.
I am terrified that they will come to me, that my parents themselves won’t care about what I want or what I can do or what I want to do but rather what “loag” want me to do even if they don’t know me at all. But what I am most terrified about is the fact that unknowingly, unwillingly, by sheer misfortune or due to the nagging of the same “loag” I will become one of them.