Letter to Esma

Updated: Jun 8

Dear Esma,

Had a nice stroll down the memory lane when I first came across this interesting manoeuvre. Rummaging through every movie and TV show I have ever watched, every novel ever been read, I couldn’t find anyone worth dedicating this letter to, until the book I recently finished ticked in my mind.

Lovely Esma, you were more of a side character caught between sympathizing with your mother and constantly living on the edge as you prayed that your brother didn’t come home angrily. You were subdued, yet you were the most relatable character to me out of the whole book. You challenged your mother when you witnessed her being unjust to you while she favoured her son. That’s something I would do. Though, not agreeing with her most of the time, you never stopped being by your mother’s side when she needed you. Whenever you locked eyes with her, the pain of solitude danced through her eyes. And sometimes, you felt it too. When the whole world turned against her, you were the only person who gave her the benefit of doubt. And you understood her when everyone ceased to. You set the most ideal example of being a daughter. You were also the perfect sister to your brothers. A role model to your little one. Helping him through life when everyone else was busy in theirs. Offering a listening ear to make him feel valid and heard. You were no less exemplary when it came to your elder brother. Sticking by his side through each of his mistakes, suppressing the hatred and anger you felt only for him to have a home, and to experience the sweetness – the good parts of this world, you played the role of a solid brick holding the whole family together.

Despite every adversity you endured for your family, you never were good enough for them. When your brother thought you were scribbling aimlessly on a piece of sheet, you were actually plying to become a published writer one day. And so you did. You were goal-oriented – among the society that wanted to see you despondent, imprisoned within four walls. You questioned the norms and even though often got disappointed by them, in the end, you managed to bend those norms according to your will. As I skimmed through your story, I saw my own self reflected in the book I was holding. It’s people like you and me, who keep trying to be enough for the people around us, to nourish each loved one with selfless love, to push past the barriers that do not let us grow. This constant struggle to prove ourselves exhausts us. Your character was more of a reassurance to me. Because in the end, you became the best version of yourself. You created your very own family – with the man who adored your existence. You let go of the conventional practice of your mother and loved all your children equally. You kept bestowing love upon your mother and your brothers despite everything.

You, dear Esma, were the epitome of selflessness, full of compassion. You were a small-town girl who nurtured into an exemplary woman.

Your forever well-wisher,

Bazigah Murad

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