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An Ode to Hajra Khan #anygirlanywhere

to be born in the chaos we call Karachi, cradled in its humidity, with lullabies of traffic and violence, but raised a girl so taught to be silent – to be from a city as loud and fast, but still be able to raise your voice will always be a reckless choice

to have a mirror held up to your face as justification for why you’re covered under garbs of heavy clothing and the weight of expectations because you were born a woman – to face your reflection yet still strip down to bare knees and sticky jerseys, makes your choice all the more worthy

to replace the aroma of home-cooked food soaked in your dress, with streaks of green and stains from the earth as you fearlessly dribble across large fields past your fellow players, past those who called it a man’s game, past all those who only came to remind you of your duties as a woman of this city – to dribble past them so effortlessly as you drowned out the noise at the young age of fourteen, was a commendable choice and a remarkable feat

to push past all the reasons a female athlete will remain a funny juxtaposition, to prove that societal norms are just an imposition, to be a role model we didn’t know we craved to be the reason so many other girls dared to be seen at fourteen and eventually play for Pakistan’s national team, to be a captain and heroine, to stack 3 World Records in just a weekend – to be the sun shining above glass ceilings as proof of how they’re meant to be shattered, your choices have made young girls everywhere feel like they matter

and yet, to come home to your loud, chaotic bosom see the unchanged tapestry and see how you may have shed your physical covering but the city still hides you away like a cautionary tale afraid to own your success as if it rains on our parade of celebrating only religion and bearded men, unless it taps into our white complex – despite all your progress & all the choices you made I’m sorry you come home to a country that would rather celebrate a man for his twenty-seven year old claim to fame but close their eyes at the mention of your name –

to be comfortably compliant to our regression and blind to such brilliance is a debilitating choice we make daily out of sheer ignorance.

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