The Woman Within Me
Zoha was an ambitious little girl living in a remote village in Kenya. Her father was a witch doctor who strongly believed the orthodox customs and traditions of the village. Every year during summer a medical camp would be set up in the village for the general care of the villagers but in spite of the camp, none would go to the camp because it was called superstitions and evil.
The camp would come, place it’s tents wait for ten days sit idle and again return back to the Town. Zohas mom worked in the fields as labour , one day she was bit by a snake quickly the nearby workers rushed her to the witch doctor her husband who failed miserably in removing the poison but he blamed his inefficiency on his wive’s so called sins of not obeying him, as usual the villagers accepted this norm.
Little Zoha was sent to the neighboring village to stay with her grandmother as her dad didn’t have the time to look after her ,one day in her Grandmothers village a daily laborer was bit by a snake and the nearby workers quickly rushed him to the nearby medical camp there ,with the timely treatment the laborer was cured and returned to work in a week’s time.
Many medical emergencies were dealt with efficiently by the doctors in the camp which lasted for 15 days in the village every three months, a puzzled Zoha wondered why in her dad’s village these camps didn’t seem to be so effective, were those villagers sinners what about her mom what was her sin working in fields to fullfill her daughter’s little luxuries.
She shared her feelings with her grandmother who told her that it was time she realised that her mother’s death was a result of her father’s foolish belief in superstitions and blind tradition he was also the cause for so many deaths in the village by not allowing the villagers to go to the camp.
She also told her that her mother was aware of her husband’s blind beliefs and was very unhappy about it. Zoha asked her grandmother if her mother was unhappy why did she continue to live with her dad then, a sad grandmother replied ” It’s the woman within her ; a woman who controls our thoughts by her overpowering emotions, she teaches us to subdue to tolerate in the name of love” . A Ten-year-old Zoha spoke confidently ” I’ll never allow that woman to dominate me no no!!”.
After a few days a medical camp came again to the village this time Zoha had taken ill and her grandmother took her to the camp , here she met a very friendly nurse Sarah very sweet who would give little Zoha toffees each time she came, Zoha took a liking to the nurse .one day they both went to the woods searching for wood picking up sticks suddenly Sarah dropped into a spasm and fell down she bellowed in pain as Zoha rushed to her.
She quickly ran into the woods and bought a medicinal herb rubbed it hard and squeezed the juice into Sarah’s mouth she also rubbed her hands and feet , Soon Sarah calmed down. She slowly got to her feet and with the support of Zoha went back to the camp, later that evening she spoke to Zoha ” you have magic in your hands Don’t you want to study and become a doctor?
” Zoha smiled ” In our tribe they don’t educate girls missus , my grandmother sent mom to school in the town and because of that grandfather beat her bad till she had to make mama leave school , I too would love to read and write missus but grandmother won’t send me she says the woman within me will change me later anyhow, I don’t understand it missus who is she to change me?”.
Sarah sadly looked at Zoha and smiled ” Suppose I ask Grandma to send you with me to the Town will you come and stay with me, I’ll educate you, I’m all alone I’ll adopt you , will you come with me?” Zoha silently walked away. The next day Sarah came to Zoha’s hut she spoke to Grandma and Left, after she left, Grandma called Zoha to her side held her affectionately and said “My Child Sister Sarah wants to Adopt you she says she will educate you and if you study well you can become a doctor and that day you will make us all proud my dear, will you go?” With her eyes filled with tears Zoha said ” if I study well ;will I Be able to dominate the woman within and will she listen to me?” Grandma burst out laughing ” Hopefully my love”.
The next day Zoha left with Sarah , Zoha grew up under the care and guidance of Sarah ,as promised she worked hard and completed her medicine she took up service in the K G hospital and was soon famous for her service oriented treatment, very soon her dream to conduct a medical camp in her native village was to be fulfilled just another year she thought , that summer there was a new posting in the KG hospital, Dr. Ben a cardiologist who came on transfer recognised for his succesful number of surgeries many cracked jokes saying that” Any heart would beat in his rhythm”.
New to the field Zoha looked forward to learning and working under Ben as an assistant. Finally one day she was introduced to him by the hospital management members slowly this introduction blossomed to affection and later love even the rumours of marriage filled the hospital campus daily meeting outings ,dates gifts everything seemed so pleasant and exciting Zoha was very happy.
She felt Ben was the right person for her so affectionate , understanding and caring he was passionate towards her every desire being helpful throughout listening to her every word , she was sure she knew where her life was going, all was ready for wedding bells . Just two weeks before her dream to travel back home to conduct a medical camp, Ben sent for her to his chamber a happy Zoha walked in and hugged Ben ” You know how happy I’m dear today Dr. Franklin consented to assign me as the new head to conduct the medical camp, “
A concerned Ben freed himself from her clasp and said ” Zoha we have to drive over to my place , my mom wants to meet you, shall we leave now? ”
A confused Zoha said okay and they drove over to Ben’s house ,it was a palatial building with a massive garden outside; a dream house she thought .After a warm welcome and cordialities Ben’s mom said ” Zoha ,my child I heard your Sarah’s adopted daughter and you are from a remote village, your parents are no more and your grandma too isn’t very well.” Zoha smiled and said ” yes, aunty that’s why I’m keen on getting back to my village to serve not only my grandma but also my village people and I’m sure Ben will be joining me in my goal”
An uncomfortable aunt looked at her ” Well actually Ben won’t be able to come with you because even you’re not going , I don’t want a doctor my child I already have one I want only a daughter-in-law, I hope you understand what I’m saying , my Son likes you because you belong to our caste and tribe , you’re beautiful ,and woman in our tribe don’t work.” A shocked Zoha never expected this her eyes searched for Ben
He was in the garden, she excused herself and went to him she questioned him about his mother’s words ” An Irritable Ben looked at her and said ” Come on Zoha what’s the scene about , what’s your problem in leading a comfortable life ,
I’m rich I don’t need a wife’s income all I need is a beautiful woman to love me whenever I come home, all these days you worked to support you grandma and Sister Sarah I know now I’ll look after them I’ll give you all you want but you must be available only to me always, believe me I will treat you like a queen , ” Zoha rushed out of there she felt a tornado swirling in her mind,
Is this what she wanted, as she sat on her bed she could hear a voice from within “you love him if you behave stubborn he’ll leave you ,you’ll be alone, how will you support yourself you’re a weak woman, tears filled in her eyes she looked at her phone.
It started ringing it was Grandma she lifted it wiped her tears ” Zoha , my dear is it you ? How are you Are you coming home next week dearest ,I’m so proud of you my love I’ve been telling zeena about you ; you know what she says we’re so proud that there’s atleast one working and independent woman in our tribe that too a doctor child I’m proud of you, remember when you were small you asked me if you could dominate the woman within and make her listen to you ,
well my child I Think you are successful in doing so , say something darling,” A confident Zoha wiped her tears cleared her voice and said ” Grandma , I’m coming next week with my camp and yes no woman within is going to control my thoughts and life , and soon as I come im going to give you the best treatment and then bring you back here with me
So we three Sarah mom , you and me stay together forever and believe me, no woman within will ever affect us. Zoha soon became a successful General Practitioner and spent 15 days every year in her village in a medical camp.
She soon purchased a bigger building than Ben and invited him to the housewarming celebration ,the very next week he married another beautiful girl but Zoha had no regrets as she was happy and knew with him she would never be .
So many could be doctors , Engineers, Bank Managers are cleaning houses in the name of the Woman Within , it’s high time we acknowledge talent and Merit in Women too.