Very seldom have I seen a woman as simple souled as her, a woman whom the right man would have cherished and loved. A woman who would have given her life and everything she had, if she had received love and respect in return. A personality so true, honest and real, the beauty of her heart shining out so brightly that it dazzled my eyes.
Uzma was a bright girl, the youngest of three sisters and the apple of her father’s eye. She was a bright student, and she loved to study. When the story begins, her two elder sisters were married and living happily in America, while she was immersed in her studies.
On an ill-fated day, some relatives of her mother lost their way and ended up at her house, where in a regular conversation they asked her father about Uzma’s future. On his replying that she was still studying, they asked for her hand in marriage for an acquaintance’s son. They brought over the family that very day, and they formally put in a proposal. Her father conducted his formalities and eventually, they decided to go ahead with the engagement.
Uzma realized immediately, on her wedding night, what a dark pit she had fallen into. Her husband was mentally and physically abusive and her inlaws’ behaviour was extremely disturbing. 22 days into her wedding, her husband asked her to participate in a very disturbing and suspicious activity where they would blindfold Uzma and ask her some questions.
Fearing for her life, Uzma fled with her few possessions she could carry. To save his own hide, her husband sued her in court, claiming that she had stolen stuff from his home. The case dragged on for two years, which turned out to be extremely taxing on both her mental and physical health.
After her khula, Uzma turned to her studies again. She was determined to turn her life around but life had other plans. Soon after, her uncle sent in a proposal for Uzma for his son. Since they were relatives, who lived in another city, her parents thought it would be a good match and agreed. Uzma was very hesitant, her past experience had left her wary. However, she agreed to the match to please her parents, who were very worried about her future.
The marriage turned out to be an unhappy one, her husband turned out to be a very disturbing individual. He was a very insecure man, with a filthy tongue and was very abusive by nature to everyone around him. Though desperately unhappy, Uzma was determined to make her marriage work. She felt sure that if she ended up at her parents’ this time, the whole world would blame her. Day after day, she put in the effort to please her spouse, to do what was expected of her and to adjust in their house. Her efforts bore no fruit and her husband continued to rage at her daily for no reason.
The only bright part about these years was the birth of her son, whom she loved dearly. Uzma went through major ups and downs in the next few years, which broke her heart more times than she could count. She strived on for her son, her spirit broken but a woman who loved her offspring more than her own life.
When faced with financial difficulties, Uzma and her family shifted to Lahore to be near her parents, who were well settled. Her father gave Uzma’s husband a senior post at his own firm but his manipulative behaviour refused to die down. Her husband’s malicious streak came out in full force at the workplace and he took advantage of every situation to cheat his father in law. Uzma and her parents continued to forgive and forget, in the hope that things would get better. However, things began to get worse with each passing day. Uzma had borne physical abuse at her husband’s hands several times in the past fourteen years she had been married to him. But things came to a bursting point one Eid when her husband exploded on both her and their son.
Things became extremely ugly with her husband spewing venom at everyone, not even sparing his own parents in the process. The matter took a turn for the worse when he became physically abusive and started using his fists on Uzma and everyone else who had rushed in to dispel the situation. Uzma’s brother in law, who had stood by her in all her troubled times, tried to make her husband listen to reason but he was out of control.
That day, something shattered inside Uzma. Her son, though only fourteen, stood tall beside her, the strength on his small face evident to everyone around them. He declared that he and his mother no longer wanted to live with his father. Uzma had worked hard to raise her son to be a child of integrity and respect and she too no longer wanted him under his father’s influence. Her heart ached bitterly, but they had taken the decision and they stood by it. She wanted a divorce from her husband.
Uzma’s father whose health had been deteriorating rapidly for the past few years, supported his daughter. Her brothers in law dealt with all the formalities and Uzma was finally free from this sorry excuse of a man after more than a decade. More troubles followed after the divorce and over stricken with grief, rage and guilt she could not place, Uzma went into depression, with bouts of crying and helplessness that kept her awake every night.
Her son was grief-stricken at his mother’s troubles but was determined to pull his mother out of the hole she was sinking into. One night, he stroked her face and talked to her gently but firmly.
He said to her lovingly, “Mama, if we had wanted to cry all our lives, we would have stayed with baba. I have started afresh, mein nai ek nayi zindagi shuru kar dy hai, (I have started a new life) and so should you.”
Her son’s words struck a chord in Uzma’s heart and she realized he was right. This was the day for which she had been waiting all her life, this support and love from her son made her realize that he was the biggest blessing in her life. Taking help from the people who loved her, Uzma began to grope her way out of the dark tunnel that had encompassed her from all sides.
Her father was very supportive and he took care of all her financial needs. But Uzma was now determined to stand on her feet and to show her son that she would do everything for his bright future. She wanted him to know that a woman could be strong and independent when the need arose and it wasn’t necessary to while away her whole life for a toxic man.
Uzma started her own page on Facebook by the name of “Uma’s Wardrobe”, https://www.facebook.com/umaswardrobe/, a small scale clothing line where she sold branded and original dresses. She acquired contacts from sellers and worked hard. The page flourished and Uzma was very happy in her small setup.
Her father was overjoyed with his daughter’s renewed vigour in life and also at her flourishing business. He suggested to his daughter that they should set up a physical retail outlet by the same name, “Uma’s Wardrobe”. Uzma loved the idea and started her research on feasibility and investment.
A lot of things are still in the pipeline, but Uzma dreams of opening the doors to her own retail shop in a couple of months. She has invested her life savings into this venture and the passion with which she talks about it speaks volumes about how far it will go.
Today, she is a strong woman determined to make it work. She has had upheavals in life that would crush a person’s spirit but she has risen up above them all, by the grace of Allah. She is indeed a woman who can inspire.