I was 18 years old when I got married. And this thing I am sharing for the very first time on an international level.
I was 18 years old when I got married. I belong to a very conservative family, a Baloch family where good daughters never say “NO” to their parents.
My father wanted me to get married and all I said was if that makes you happy, I will say ‘YES’. And of course, it was never a happy marriage.
Just about after 2 years of getting married, about 9 years ago, I met a car accident. Somehow my husband fell asleep and the car fell into ditch. He managed to jump out, saved himself. I am happy for him. But I stayed inside the car and I sustained a lot of injuries. The list is a bit long; don’t get scared. I am perfectly fine now.
My right arm was fractured, the wrist was fractured, shoulder bone and collarbone were fractured. My whole rib cage got fractured. And because of the rib cage injury, lungs and liver were badly injured. I couldn’t breathe. I lost urine and bowl control. That’s why I have to wear the bag wherever I go.
But that injury, that changed me and my life completely as a person, and my perception towards living my life was the spine injury. My pre- vertebrae of my backbone were completely crushed. And I got paralyzed for the rest of my life.
So this accident took place in a far-flung area, in the outskirts of a very small province Balochistan where there was no first aid, no hospital, no ambulance. I was in the middle of nowhere in that toppled car. Many people came to rescue. They gave me CPR. They dragged me out of the car.
And while they were dragging me out, I got the complete transaction of my spinal cord.
And now there was this debate going on, should we keep it here, she is going to die, or where should we go, there is no ambulance. There was this four-wheeler jeep standing in the corner of the street. They said, “Put her in the back of the jeep and take her to the hospital which is 3 hours away from this place”.
And I still remember that bumpy ride. I was all broken. They threw me at the back of the jeep and they rushed me to the hospital. That is where I realized that my half body was fractured and half was paralyzed.
I finally ended up in a hospital where I stayed for two and half months. I underwent multiple surgeries. Doctors have put a lot of titanium in my arm and there was a lot of titanium at my back to fix my back. That’s why people in Pakistan called me the ‘Iron Lady’ of Pakistan.
Sometimes I wonder how easy it is for me to describe all this all over again. And somebody has rightly said that when you share your story and it doesn’t make you cry, that means you are healed.
Those two and half months in the hospital were dreadful. I will not make up stories just to inspire you. I was at the verge of despair.
One day doctor came to me, and he said, “Well, I heard that you wanted to be an artist, but you ended up being a housewife. I have a bad news for you. You won’t be able to paint again, because your wrist and arm are so deformed you won’t be able to hold the pen again.”
And I stayed quiet.
Next day, doctor came to me and said, “Your spine injury is so bad you won’t be able to walk again”.
I took a deep breath. And I said, it’s all right.
Next day doctor came and said, “Because of your spine injury and the fixation that you have in your back, you won’t be able to give birth to a child again.”
That day, I was devastated. I still remember, I asked my mother, why me, and that is where I started to question my existence: Why am I even alive? What’s the point of living? I cannot walk, I cannot paint, fine. I cannot be a mother and we have this thing in our head being women that we are incomplete without having children. I am going to be an incomplete woman for the rest of my life. What’s the point?
People are scared that they think I will get divorced. What is going to happen to me? Why me? Why am I alive?
We all try to chase this tunnel. We all do this. Because we see light in the end of the tunnel which keeps us going.
My dear friends, in my situation, there was a tunnel that I had to roll on but there was no light. And that is where I realized that words have the power to heal the soul. My mother said to me, “This too shall pass. God has a greater plan for you. I don’t know what it is. But he surely has.”