My misery, my struggle against myself

Published: December 24, 2012

What could she say to her counsellor? That every time she looked into the mirror, all she saw was an unattractive, ugly social outcast staring back at her.

Her pace quickened- her water bottle dangling from her arms and her school bag bumped about her shoulders. She inhaled deeply as she started to get out of breath but she did not stop running.

A few strands of her hair came loose from her pony tail and brushed against her cheek. She tucked them behind her ear, but she did not slow her pace. Finally, at the sight of her school, she heaved a sigh of relief that she would be safe for at least eight hours now.

She made her way to her class, and buried her face in her counsellors’ arms. Miss Syra stroked her wet face as Aliya broke down into tears and inquired, concerned;

“Did she hurt you again?”

Aliya stammered her face moist with tears.

“Not today,”

During break time, Aliya removed her shoes and perched herself comfortably in an isolated bench beside the garbage can. She was the only one in the whole school who sat there day after day, with no one to accompany her as she ate her usual apple while her eyes roved around enviously towards the girls playing hopscotch in the playground.

And as the bell rang, Aliya made way to the classroom without any company.


Home again, Aliya lay down on her bed and stared up towards the ceiling at the fan moving in circles.

Again, Miss Syra had approached Aliya right after school ended.

“Aliya, you have to tell me what is going on. You were the top student of our school but now, your grades have fallen. You claim that a girl hurts you everyday but you won’t tell me who she is. I know you have taken your parents’ divorce to heart but, honey, I care about you. Please confide in me,” Miss Syra sat across from the desk with encouraging eyes and urged Aliya tenderly to speak to her.

But what was there to talk about? She wondered.

What could she say to her counsellor?

That she hadn’t seen her father in three months because, as usual, he was away on business trips abroad and she was left at the hands of two nannies and a dozen checks?

That she was highly embarrassed and humiliated; being the only student in school whose parents couldn’t make it to the plays or recitals and thus, she had eventually stopped taking part in every event?

That her grades were falling only because there was no one to appreciate her hard work or celebrate with if she achieved good grades.

That last month, a group of girls had invited her to a party and told her that they would pick her up at five that evening. The clock struck five, then nine and finally ten, when Aliya, who was waiting beside the door to pick her up, realised that she was part of their practical joke.

That every time she looked into the mirror, all she saw was an unattractive, ugly social outcast staring back at her.

That at times, she would just blank out and wake up a few hours later in another location she was unaware of. At such times, she would know how she got there and would be stunned to find her arms bleeding, caused by cuts someone purposely made on her arms.

Enough of this, she thought.

As she stood up to change her clothes, Aliya collapsed to the floor, moaning in pain, clutching her head with both her hands. She felt like someone was slicing her head into pieces. She took heavy breaths to stave off the pain but nothing she did led to relief.

Tears slid down her cheeks and she closed her eyes.

Suddenly the pain in her head vanished altogether and she stood up, laughed flirtatiously and moved confidently towards the mirror.

The oppressed and dejected girl had suddenly turned into a confident individual with a mischievous twinkle in her eyes. Her stride was stronger now, her poise, her posture, more confident, more in control.

You see the anger in her stride, the evil in the twinkle of her eyes. When she spoke, she did not stutter, like she usually did.

“You are worthless. You embarrass me. A complete waste of space. You humiliate me with your pitiful ways and hurting you clearly wasn’t the way to instil sense into your thick head.”

She turned to her backpack and fished for the Bic razor. She ran the tip of her finger over the edge, and felt the skin peel back in an onion fold.

With exasperation apparent in her eyes, she guided the blades over her wrists. Closing her eyes, she scored the blade over her left wrist and sucked in her breath. The blood was rich and bright against her palms and at the same time, she experienced the same headache she had an hour ago.

Aliya opened her eyes, her head pounding with pain. She gasped only to realise that her clothes were drenched in blood. Her own blood.

Oblivious to what had happened a few minutes ago, her jaw broke open and she screamed for help as the pain started to become more and more excruciating. She fell on the floor again, looking through unconscious eyes, the door being kicked open and a chaos of activity commence as her nannies started to panic, trying desperately to prevent the blood flowing uncontrollably from her wrists. She heard someone screaming for the driver to take them to hospital.

The world around her started to blank out. It was only a matter of time at the hospital that the doctors declared the cause of the death to be a suicide case.

In reality, no one ever found out that there was another girl residing in Aliya’s body who hated her for being a social loser and who had been the cause of her death.

No one ever found out that Aliya had split personality.

Read more by Javeria here.

Javeria Khalid Petiwala

Javeria Khalid Petiwala

A student based in Karachi, an ardent debater, and a Master Chef fan, she loves writing and travelling.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Parvez

    Nicely written but…………………….depressing.Recommend

  • Nadia

    I haven’t read such a good and such an unexpected short story in a long time. You are an amazing writer, Javeria!Recommend

  • faizan

    just one word for this blog, “Amazing”. Presenting topics like these and that too in the form of a story is really wonderful! BRAVO!Recommend

  • Sat

    Tribune. Publish more of these stories!! Such a goood read. Recommend

  • Hamza

    Thoroughly enjoyed reading this!

    Great writer, and we need more like her to continue contributing!Recommend

  • Sanaa

    A brilliant story written. I was literally still for a minute trying to grasp what just happened. It was definitely a very unique story.Recommend

  • sattar rind
  • RTZ


  • Regina George

    A good blog on Tribune. Finally!Recommend

  • Sarah

    Wow. Just wow.
    Excellent use of words. Gave me goosebumps.Recommend

  • Maria

    OH GOD!
    Never thought she would have split personality in the end.Recommend

  • Girl

    @javeria You are one talented writer, young ladyRecommend

  • ayyaz

    best blog to date….. u r an amazing writer Javeria. Recommend

  • Aniee

    extremely depressing Recommend

  • The Only Normal Person Here.

    A good read indeed. Your protagonist is very well crafted.Recommend

  • Hitler

    Drama hour is over,,,!!! ET come on, stop this Recommend

  • Ali

    I found this story to be really entertaining and very well written. A GREAT EFFORT.
    NICE WORK DONERecommend

  • Que

    The end was breath taking, the part where she commits suicide and how you’ve given a valid explanation.Recommend

  • Salma

    Really really liked it!Recommend

  • Sera

    Nice……..a true mysteryRecommend

  • AAA

    Beautifully written. well done.Recommend

  • Insaan

    In reality, no one ever found out that there was another girl residing in Aliya’s body who hated her for being a social loser and who had been the cause of her death. No one ever found out that Aliya had split personality.

    There was no other girl residing in Aliya’s body. Aliya’s imagination created that social looser.
    This social looser concept was conditioned and was made a default program which always made her depress.

    If you feel you have another girl residing in you, don’t listen to her and let her control you.Recommend

  • SSS


    Firstly, if someone has split personality, then the person having it doesn’t know that she is being controlled by another person. For the time being the other personality is active, Aliya was completely blanked out.
    Secondly, you cant help be controlled by another person. It is not in your hands.
    This disorder can only be discovered through therapy, otherwise the person having the disorder isn’t even aware she has it.Recommend

  • ali rizvi

    such happenings are at a rise in our societies. may it be west or be it east, the globalization is not merely of ideas and culture, but of the epidemics too- psychological disorders playing a havoc. it becomes more and more severe as we advance forward and dintance ourselves from our religious values…Recommend

  • Ayesha PErvez

    I like your stories, Javeria! You should write a book!Recommend

  • Girl in Veil

    This dialogue is superb:“You are worthless. You embarrass me. A complete waste of space. You humiliate me with your pitiful ways and hurting you clearly wasn’t the way to instil sense into your thick head.”

    But as we know we can overcome our inabilities and our depressions so there is nothing in this world that remains uncured. So, not only try to console your own soul but also the people around you it will not only become a blessing for one but for all.

    Lastly, very well written Javeria! the way you weaved the whole narrative shows that you have unique skills.Keep it up:-) Recommend

  • Javeria Khalid

    @Ayesha PErvez:
    Thank you! Hopefully one day I will.Recommend

  • Insaan

    Oh puhleeese!! Predictable from start to end……why do they ALWAYS have to commit suicide in the end? Exceedingly inspired from Indian Dramas and self pitying girls…….I’m DYING to hear somthing new….Recommend

  • person

    Excellent write up…Keep them coming…You deserve to be in International magazines….Go ON…YOU HAVE SUCCESS COMING UPRecommend