The transformation


I was waiting out the exam hall for the entrance exam to start.  I heard someone call my name in a very soft voice. 

A girl clad in burqa walks towards me and says “You are Boiling, right?”

I could not recognize her. She was covered in a black burqa head to toe. Wore glasses.  Was soft spoken.  

“I am Ada. Remember me?” she said. 

I was shocked. Before, I could react, they called us in for the exam.  

Ada! She was my classmate in Primary School. Ada whose family females did not wear burka. Ada who did not wear glasses. Loud mouthed and bossy Ada. She used to bully me.

I slunk away after the exam without talking to her because I could not reconcile with the transformation. She was not the Ada I knew in my childhood.

It is amazing what growing up in a traditional society can do to a woman. They rob them of their personalities and make them into drones – obedient wives and daughters.

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10 thoughts on “The transformation

  1. I also have a friend from Jordan. Their family has settled in the US for a long time. Her mother and her sisters do not wear a hijab and dress in Western clothes. She has always worn a hijab, ever since I knew her. I never asked her why she is wearing one when clearly she is not being pressured by her family/peers. I’m uncomfortable asking this question. But it does make me wonder. Many hijab wearing women say they are doing it for their religion. But all the major religions of the world (including Hinduism and Christianity) do not treat women as equal humans. All of these religions were spread by male dominated, feudal societies. Why are we still clinging to them? Or at least take the good from the religions (love, compassion, etc.) and leave out the bad?

  2. I can understand your discomfort…however, perhaps she wanted to wear the burka and cover up? I was talking to a lady at the weekend. She wears the hijab and she told me she was fed up of people who assume she is oppressed. It made me realise that we may be wrong to judge a woman for both: wearing too many clothes or none at all. What do you think?

    1. Well, it is not only the Burka. It is the complete change in personality from a loud mouth bossy girl to docile soft spoken woman.

      Why do women feel the need to cover up? Do men feel the need to cover up? She is blindly defending the system just the way women also support and defend patriarchy.

      1. I find it difficult to assume that all woman choose to cover up because a system tells them to. Yes, a gender imbalance exists whereby women cover up more than men but this should not automatically translate into them defending a patriarchal system.

        Re your friend, it could well be her choice, her interpretation of her religion…we don’t know. In fact, we won’t know until we know her story.

        You may find it useful to read / watch the Danger of a Single Story, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: http://ssw.unc.edu/files/TheDangerofaSingleStoryTranscript.pdf

        Applying a Single Story to this case, it could well be that your friend has feminist values, but we deny her a chance to participate in the debate if we assume that she is a docile woman in a burqa. Obvs, I wasn’t there so can’t judge the said level of docility myself 🙂

        1. Nobody need to tell you, it is the norm we as a society imbibe and spread that modesty, clothes, covering up all have to lie with women.

          Nobody tells women not to go back to their jobs after having a baby in a “developed” country like Japan but 97% of women will not go back to work because Japan is a patriarchal society.

          Most women in patrairchal societies are so deeply conditioned that they do not see anything wrong with sexist comments + misogynistic acts + perpetuate gender inequality themselves. They will not question because women are not meant to.

          And they have to defend honor of the society, religion and family. Of course they will claim that they are not supressed.

          And being feminist is not 0% or 100%. Women may be 30% feminist. They may cover up (aka give in to patriarchy ) and demand to work?

  3. It is so interesting to hear how things change. I wonder what happened to her in her life. She obviously got more devout, or maybe she married a conservative man…?

    1. Marriage to a conservative man seems likely. I did not really keep in touch because we were not friends and she used to be a bossy girl [oops, am I not supposed to say girls are bossy now?!]

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