A panjabi’s tale | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, May 21, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, May 21, 2020

A panjabi’s tale

The cupboard creaked open, revealing his gleaming face. With sheer haste, he began to shuffle around the few shirts he had, discarding and throwing them on the floor as if looking for something very specific. His eyes shone up as he held a black shirt aloft. He mumbled, "She would love this."

A sharp, womanly voice interrupted him. "Sameen, tidy your clothes before you go," she asserted. He replied, "Not now, ma. I'm running late." She stared blankly at him as he sped past her, buttoning his shirt as he went. The cupboard doors closed, revealing a thin ray of sunlight. I looked around, marvelling at the freedom my neighbours possessed. Ever since I was gifted to Sameen, I have been imprisoned inside this transparent barrier.

The tweed suit, a prized possession of my owner, jeered at me as he exclaimed how useless I was. Existential crisis encroached my mind. The store tag on my neck whispered, "You have what he does not. Look at your beautiful embroidery. While your colour may not be the best thing in the world, it is our imperfections that make us the perfect version of ourselves."

Days passed by. My dream was about to come true. One such afternoon, Sameen, much to my amazement, picked me up. Taking me to the same woman as before, he stated, "Ma, I will wear this for Eid." She asserted, "Beta, there is still one week for Eid. Besides, I am not letting you go outside." He smirked, saying, "We have Discord." After one long journey around the house, I was rested back to my humble abode. I was elated, as a glow of smugness radiated from me.

It was a couple of nights before Eid. Sameen's joyous screaming had broken the cold silence inside the cupboard. The door opened, revealing his face, as he placed a packet above me. I now had a competitor. Atop me was a dark blue kabli. The air around me felt heavy due to the presence of this intruder. I couldn't help but feel suppressed under the weight; weight that was definitely not physical. I comforted myself by realising that I was indeed Sameen's first choice.

The following night, Sameen picked both of us. He folded us in half and pressed it against his body, standing in front of a mirror. He stood still for a minute. He then looked left and right as he nodded and mumbled inaudibly. Suddenly, he threw me on the bed. I flew towards the bed, as I watched him speeding towards the other room. All my hopes shattered with the blink of an eye. Guess the tweed suit was not wrong about me.

Two years have passed since the incident. I have no hopes whatsoever for often it ends in pain for me. Why am I like this?


Osaman is one such guy who has caused such pain to many panjabis before, with some of them ending up as tablecloths. To send a hypothetical high-five, poke him on fb.com/osaman.binahmed

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