JUDGEMENT DAY by Farah Ghuznavi, Bangladesh.

I’m not crazy, you know, even if they’ve sent me to you for an assessment! My husband wants me committed to a Rest-and-Reprogramming facility “for self-protection”. For his own protection, Jai means…

The consequences of marrying a much younger man crystallized with my daughter’s arrival; Jai didn’t want to be a grown-up, let alone a father.

Indian cultural conventions still favour women marrying ‘mature’ men. But I’d realised men never grow up anyway, so their age at marriage is irrelevant.

I chose Jai because I’d made more money from my robotics patents than I’d ever spend, and I yearned for a family, for motherhood. Was that so strange?

My male range-mates were all married. Most had multi-stage families by then – their wives continuously getting younger, until some had daughters the same age as their latest marital trophy. Little was said beyond the inevitable eye-rolling that accompanied the “men will be boys”-type comments. Yet Jai was considered my aberrant consolation prize, the rich female singleton’s ‘joy-boy’.

Dowry violence and female foeticide are fragments of past shame, but some attitudes linger on. Once I held Anandita, I didn’t care. I’d used frozen eggs, but carried her internally instead of seeding a bio-capsule for ‘risk-free reproduction’. Why do it, if you feel nothing?

“Judgement Day” will be continued in our newsletter, LITERARY DELIGHTS, along with a classic short story and a writing tip that illuminates technique as employed by the author, news, and FREE STUFF. To sign up, CLICK HERE.


Farah’s work has been featured in magazines and anthologies in the UK, US, Singapore and Bangladesh. This story, “Judgement Day” was Highly Commended in the 2010 Commonwealth Short Story Competition, and another was awarded second place in the Oxford University GEF Competition.

Her short fiction features in the recently published anthologies “Woman’s Work: Short Stories” (GirlChild Press, USA), “The Rainbow Feast” (Marshall Cavendish, Singapore) and the “Journeys” anthology (Sampad, Britain) launched at the Birmingham literary festival in October 2010. Farah is a contributor to “From the Delta”, an anthology of stories from Bangladesh, and a columnist for the Star Magazine in Bangladesh.

She draws on her experiences as a development professional for inspiration in her writing, and remains an unrepentant idealist. She has worked for NGOs in Bangladesh, Britain and Africa, as well as with the United Nations, and the Grameen Bank, famous for its collateral-free loans to poor women.

To visit Farah’s website, please CLICK HERE.

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