This young girl did not know whose name she was shouting out aloud in the street.
My mother was very young when she got engaged to my father, barely sixteen years old.
At that time they were living in a large ancestral house in the village. They had a manservant working for them. Everyone called him “Said-am-li.” Mother did too. She had always assumed that, that was his name.
A few days after her wedding was finalized, she was standing outside her house calling out to the man to run an errand for her.
“Saidamleee…saidamlee” she shouted loudly.
An old woman from the opposite house walked across and asked her,
“Why are you SELLING your husband in the streets?”
My mother said, “What?” not understanding the woman.
“Saidamli is not my husband’s name” my mother refuted vehemently.
“It is,” said the old dame with a toothless grin. “A contracted version of your husband’s name”
Then it hit my mother that, ‘Saidamli” was indeed a shortened version of her fiance’s name and she had been loudly shouting out that in the street, at an age when Indian women did not tell or call their husband’s name OUT aloud.
My mother was so much overcome by shyness that she closed her face with her dupatta and ran into the house, while the old woman cackled delightedly.
My father’s name is indeed ‘Saidamli’ which is a shortened version of the name, Seyed Ahamed Ali!
Story By: Fouzia. Written By : Gulsum Basheer@talkalittledo