The Academy of Modesty and Submissive Behaviour: Part 1

The Academy of Modesty and Submissive Behaviour

by Dave Potter

Copyright © 2006, Dave Potter

This is a long story and so shall be presented in four parts. This first section covers Anna Rosa’s First and Second Terms at the Academy. If you have already read this bit and want to skip on, please click on the link below:

The Third and Fourth Terms…
The Fifth and Sixth Terms…
The Final Part…

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Our young Colombian heroine, Anna Rosa de la Torre, as she arrives at the Academy of Modesty and Submissive Behaviour

Chapter 1 – New School

The girls stood in the middle of the vast hall, their bags by their sides, wondering what was about to happen. There were about thirty of them in total, of all nationalities and races it seemed. Anna Rosa looked around her. She saw some white girls, quite a few Middle-Eastern looking ones, a couple of blacks, some Indians, even a lone Chinese. She herself was from Colombia of course.

Why had her father decided to send her here? What was about to happen to her? What did they mean by ‘modesty’. The Academy of Modesty and Submissive Behaviour. What sort of name was that for a school? Why was she not being sent back to Santa Teresa’s instead?

She knew the answer to that one of course. Her rebellious behaviour and dalliances with the boys from San Tiago’s. She cast her mind back to that night when Sister Maria had opened the door of her room and found Juan in there, just about to get it on. Her father had been called and his face had been like thunder. He’d railed against her, reminded her that she was bound to marry Antonio de Silva, (as if that was going to happen!), and ranted about the disgrace that she’d caused to the name of de la Torre. Then he’d gone off to speak with the Mother Superior alone. When he’d returned he asked her a question: “Are you still a virgin?” She had to answer in the affirmative. A moment later and… but no, they had come just in time. Then he had softened and taken her home for the holidays. But when schooltime came again, instead of Santa Teresa’s, she’d been bundled into the private jet and flown off to this place, God knows where it is, the Academy of Modesty and Submissive Behaviour.

The chattering of the girls subsided as a figure walked into the room. She was covered, head-to-toe, in a black cloak, like an Arab, with only a small slit showing her eyes. She strode purposefully to the front of the room and mounted the stage. Then she spoke in English:

“Girls, welcome to the Academy of Modesty and Submissive Behaviour, the place that is to become your new home for the next few years. You enter this institution as rebellious and badly-behaved young miscreants. You shall leave it as proper women. However, before we begin, you must be shown to your rooms and dressed appropriately. Your present clothes are not suitable for the Academy. Please wait until your name is called and then a teacher shall escort you to your quarters.”

‘Strange,’ thought Anna Rose. The veiled lady started calling out names and she looked around. Inappropriate clothing. What was inappropriate about it? She looked at her own blue jeans that accentuated her hips and T-shirt. Hardly the attire of a prostitute! What was not appropriate about it…?

“Anna Rosa de la Torre!”

She moved to the front and a teacher, similarly dressed to the lady who had addressed them, beckoned for her to follow. She walked out of the room, up two flights of stairs and down a long corridor to a door with 34 on the front. The teacher opened the door and gestured for her to enter. She did so and found herself in a small room with only a bed, wardrobe and chair for furnishings. On the bed was lain out an ensemble of clothes all in black. “Put them on,” said the teacher. “They are your school uniform.”

Anna Rosa looked at the clothes. They appeared to be rather similar to those worn by the teachers. There was a long black dress, some black stockings and gloves and other sundry bits and pieces that she was not sure went where. Reluctantly, Anna Rosa stripped off her jeans and T-shirt until she was standing in only her bra and panties. Then she looked pleadingly at the teacher for help. “The stockings and the gloves,” the veiled woman said. ‘Of course,’ though Anna Rosa, wondering how she could have been so stupid. She pulled them up over her legs and arms. They were thick and warm. The gloves were long too, reaching up to just below her shoulders where they are held in place by tight garters that dig into her flesh. “Now these,” the teacher says. She points to a pair of loose black trousers and a black blouse that are tied at the neck, wrists and ankles. Once these have been secured, the teacher gets hold of Anna Rosa’s long hair and plaits it into two pigtails before wrapping it around her head and then winding a scarf over it so that not a strand can be seen. Then she picks up a piece of material fastened to a piece of elastic which she wraps around her charge’s head and ties at the back. It is a veil that sits just below her eyes, making her face warm and voice muffled. Finally, she picks up a headcovering and places it on Anna Rosa’s head before arranging them all so that they folded neatly.

“You are ready now,” announced the teacher. “I must go now and attend to another student. Please go down to the Main Hall again in ten minutes time. That is the room where you were before. Just in case you can’t remember, you turn left out of here, go to the end of the corridor, descend two flights of stairs and then turn left and then right. Do not be late or else the Headmistress will not be happy and the consequences for you could be grave!”

The unseen teacher left and Anna Rosa sat down on her bed. ‘These clothes are strange,’ she thought to herself. It was true of course, they were hardly like any other school uniform that she’d been forced to wear over the years. ‘School uniform’ meant a blouse, tie, skirt and stockings or tights, not a shroud that covered the entire body, leaving her only a slit to see out of. “These clothes aren’t like a school uniform at all!” she declared to herself. Her voice was muffled under the cloth and when she spoke her face warmed up. “They are more like…” But what were they more like? Anna Rosa racked her brain trying to think. Then she remembered. “They are more like what Arab women are forced to wear in the desert!” Now that was strange! She wasn’t Arabian or Muslim or anything, and this place, wherever it was, was not a desert either. In fact, if anything, it looked much like any of the other boarding schools that she’d been sent to over the years. Well, aside from all the crucifixes that adorned the walls of the others and the Sisters who took the classes. ‘But there again, these veiled teachers look a bit like nuns,’ she thought to herself.

Through the thin slit of her uniform, she looked about her room. It was bare save for a bed with the obligatory crucifix above it. Obviously the veils were nothing to do with Islam then. Aside from that, there was a small bedside table with two drawers, a large wardrobe and a sturdy wooden chair. Anna Rosa got up and tried the wardrobe. The doors, for some inexplicable reason, were locked. She then tried the bedside table. The drawers were open. Inside one was an exercise book and selection of pens. Beneath these was a Bible and then another, slimmer book, bound in black. Anna Rosa got it out and perused the title:

The Handbook of Modest and Submissive Behaviour

Written for the benefit of Young Ladies

N. E. Dorozhkina

“Modest and Submissive Behaviour,” murmured Anna Rosa. “Like the school, what can it mean?” She opened up the book and started to read the first page:

‘The roles of males and females in society are complimentary yet entirely distinct from one another. In all fields of adult life, men are the bread-winners and providers, whereas women are the mothers and homemakers. Any notions to the contrary are offensive both the man and to God.’

Anna Rosa couldn’t believe her ears. What planet was this person on?! And what century were they living in? Such claptrap sounded like the sort of rubbish her dad would come out with when he was decrying how immoral and misguided the world had become.

A bell sounded and Anna Rosa remembered. The Main Hall! She snapped the book shut and replaced it in the drawer before exiting the room and turning left down the corridor. She reached the stairs, descended two flights and then turned right and then left. She came to a doorway which did not look like the one from which she had left the Main Hall before. ‘Must be a different way in,’ she thought. She opened it and walked inside. What confronted her was a most perplexing sight. Around twenty students, dressed in blue, not black veils, were kneeling prostrate, their foreheads pressed against the floor, whilst a teacher stood watch over them. Absolute silence reigned. When she entered, the teacher looked up, but not one of the students moved a muscle. “Erm, Miss, I’m, erm, sorry, but, err, I wanted the, err… Main Hall,” stuttered Anna Rosa.

“You made a mistake said the teacher. Her voice was grave and forbidding. Not one of the students even fidgeted. “Retrace your steps to the stairwell. Then it is left and then right.” “Thank you and erm… sorry… Miss.”

The teacher did not reply, so Anna Rosa quietly shut the door behind her and walked back down the corridor, thinking how stupid she was to have confused the rights and lefts and furthermore, intrigued yet also a little frightened at what a weird place this new school seemed to be. Why were these girls in blue? And why were they kneeling as if in prayer?

She found the Main Hall and slipped inside. About fifteen other students were there, all dressed as she was, stood in the middle. A couple more came in and then a big black figure strode purposefully across the room and commanded, “New students of the Academy, please sit on the floor!” They all did so silently before listening to the Headmistresses introductory speech; the strangest and most frightening speech that Anna Rosa had ever heard in her entire life.

Chapter 2 – An Unwelcoming Welcome

“Ladies, once more may I bid you welcome to the Academy of Modesty and Submissive Behaviour, the institution that is to become your home for the next few year and indeed, until you marry and thus enter the abode of your husbands. My name is Miss Dorozhkina, Miss Natasha Evagelina Dorozhkina and I am the Headmistress of this establishment. The more observant of you may already recognise my name as being the same as that of the author of the black book which all of you have along with the religious text of your parents’ choice in your bedside table. That book, by the time that you leave this school, you shall know off by heart. It is to be your second Bible. Within it are outlined all the principals of Modest and Submissive Behaviour that we adhere to in this academy and that you shall adhere to for the rest of your lives. These principals can be summed up neatly with the four ‘U’s – Unseen, Unheard, Unquestioning, Unimportant. Four ‘U’s you see, ladies, make a ‘W’ – Woman. The perfect woman is submissive and modest. A servant to her husband and God. All that we do here is instruct you on how to achieve that feminine perfection.

This may, I know, sound shocking to some of you. It should not of course, but the evil ways of the modern world are such that many females get ideas above their station. Naturally, such notions will not be tolerated. You may not agree with what we teach here, but you will abide by it. Any ideas to the contrary will be met with the sternest punishment. The Academy of Modesty and Submissive Behaviour is revered as being the best in the world in providing this type of female education. It is frequented by Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs, Christians and Buddhists. It is chosen by them all because it achieves results and it achieves results because it is strict. I shall not inform you of what the punishments here are like, but I will warn you, that they are not what you would call ‘bearable’. That is all that we shall speak of on that matter.

Now, moving onto your curriculum, I cannot give any details here and now, for one of the strengths of this particular establishment in relation to others of its type is that we do not have a general curriculum for the whole school. Instead, before entry, the future spouse of each of you is interviewed and a suitable individual curriculum is formulated with their input. However, it is standard for all pupils to receive basic Purdah Training and Womanly Arts. Everything above that, you shall find out for yourself in due course. However, what I can inform you of here, is that your uniform will change with time. What you are all wearing at present is the standard First Term Uniform. As you can clearly see, all of you wear the same and this is mandatory at all times save whilst sleeping. Anyone caught out of their uniform will be very seriously disciplined, as indecent exposure is ranked as one of the most heinous of crimes here at the Academy of Modesty and Submissive Behaviour. After the First Term ends, your uniform shall change. Here and there you may notice slight differences in the Second Term Uniform of pupils, but they are easily recognisable as being all in green. The Third Term is in a standard Yellow, the Fourth in Blue, the Fifth in Pink and the Sixth in Virginal White in preparation of course, for marriage. Any pupil who stays on after the Sixth Term – and although few in number, there are some – are thereon clad in Red.

Finally, before you all go to your classes, I shall mention the subject of friends and acquaintances. It is the policy here, in order to prepare you for a life of the strictest purdah and submission, to not allow any fraternisation between students as such fraternisation ultimately leads to dissension, rebellion and indecent behaviour. Consequently, although you shall be living and studying together here until you enter married life, you shall not be getting to know one another. However, this rule is waived for the allowance of one ‘friend’, designated of course, by us. This exception is to help you all learn that when in future life, your husband commands you to like or serve someone; you are to do it without question. Furthermore, it may also be likened to the fact that you will have no choice in who your future spouse is to be, but you will be expected to love and serve them forever more regardless. Thus it is, that your new friend is the girl in the room adjacent to your, No. 1 being friends with No. 2, No. 3 with No. 4 and so on. That is all girls, you may depart in silence. Nos. 27 to 37 please go to Room 7 and Nos. 49 to 61 to Room 8. Goodbye.”

And with those words, she turned abruptly about heel and walked purposefully out of the room. Anna Rosa on the other hand was shell-shocked and did not know what to do. What sort of hell was this that her parents had sent her to? Future spouse? Purdah? Submission? What was to become of her? She glanced about uneasily and saw the eyes of the other girls, peering through the thin slit in their school uniforms, like frightened animals all. This was a bad dream surely! Please God, let me wake from it!

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Two students in their First Term Uniforms

Chapter 3 – Purdah

“The word ‘Purdah’ is the Persian term for ‘Curtain’ and it is used to describe our mode of living because in ancient times curtains were used to screen women from the gaze of men.”

Anna Rosa’s hand ached as she tried to keep up with the words of the teacher. Upon entering the room, they had all been directed to sit on the floor in front of a low table and upon each of these, an exercise book and pen were placed. “Write your name and number on the front,” the teacher had instructed. Immediately the girls had begun to murmur. “And silence!” she had quickly added in a loud voice. “Any speaking or sound results in harsh punishment.” The murmuring stopped and they were all as still as shrouded black statues. “Copy down every word that I say,” the teacher had continued. That was easier said than done of course. English was not Anna Rosa’s native tongue anyway and writing in silken gloves was difficult as the pen kept slipping. She thought about removing them but then remembered the Headmistress’s words. She would rebel of course, but not now. First she would suss out just how things worked in this crazy place.

“In the modern day and age we have many more sophisticated methods than mere curtains, but the principle of Purdah remains eternally the same. Women are to be kept separate from men for the good of both sexes. Many believe this to be an Islamic notion, but Purdah predates Islam and is widely practised amongst Hindus although it is most common in Muslim countries, particularly those of the Gulf, Afghanistan, Pakistan and the Arabian countries of Northern Africa.

Women need to be kept separate from men, or at least, all non-Mahram men, because of their allure which the Qu’ran calls ‘Awrah’. Awrah is the attractiveness of women. When men see a shapely female figure, gaze into the bewitching eyes of a houri, hear a pleasant female voice or see even a slender finger or well-turned ankle then they can be incited to sexual thoughts. This is the woman’s Awrah, her black magic, and with it a pious man can become a sinner. The good husband is tempted in his mind to sleep with a woman other than his wife. Thus it is, that a woman’s Awrah must remain entirely hidden at all times. This is achieved through covering her so that he may not view her attractions and silencing her so that he may not hear them. Both are essential ingredients of Purdah and by following both we shall cease to become temptresses like Jezebel and instead become holy like Mary.

The main method of covering is of course our clothing. Muslims call basic headcoverings and loose clothing ‘Hijaab’ and regard such as mandatory for the female followers of their faith. However, Hijaab is not suitable on its own for a Purdah life, although of course it is an essential ingredient. Instead we must go further, covering the face. This is called ‘Niqaab’. Our First Term Uniform which is hardly suitable for Purdah, being very revealing, involves wearing a veil which reaches up to just below our eyes. This is a ‘Half-Niqaab’ and whilst suitable for young ladies in a cloistered environment where no men are present, is not apt for the outside world. Instead, there ‘Full Niqaab’ is required; namely a veil which covers all of our face including the eyes.

Full Niqaab veils come in a variety of styles and colours, from the burqa to the khimar and later I shall list these. Now however, I shall refer to opaqueness. Many ladies wear Full Niqaab that can be seen through to some extent. A flimsy gauze harem veil is technically Full Niqaab yet it hides even less than our inadequate First Term Uniforms and indeed can even incite men rather than dull their sinful thoughts. Thus it is that such veils are not appropriate. The rule is that nothing of our facial features may be revealed through the veil and so if our niqaab is too transparent, then we must add another layer and then another until it becomes suitable opaque. Comfort and heat retention are of no importance whatsoever as it is not our feelings and thoughts but the feelings and thoughts of men that count.

Now I shall list the main types of veil that are worn by women living in a happy state of purdah:

1. Khimar with Full Niqaab

This veil is the same as our First Term Uniform except of course that our uniform is inadequate, having only a Half Niqaab faceveil. The Khimar is a headcovering that originates from Turkey and is worn over an Abayah. It is simple yet – if made in suitably thick material – entirely effective. The most common colour is black.”

The teacher stopped and went to a projector. She turned it on and a gigantic image of a woman shrouded in black in a garment similar to their uniform appeared on the screen. “Copy this image,” she instructed. They all started to do so and Anna Rosa had almost finished when the bell rang. “Stop and close your books and proceed to your next class in Room 14!” commanded the teacher. Dutifully, they filed out, the silent and anonymous Anna Rosa in the midst of all the other black ghosts.

Chapter 4 – Womanly Arts

“My name girls, is Madame Ozal and I am your teacher for the subject of Womanly Arts. Many of you I am sure, do not know yet what I mean by this ‘Womanly Arts’, but you will soon learn. It is in fact, a vast subject, governing how you should act and behave in all rooms of the house and – if you are allowed to do so – when you venture away from the sanctuary of home. However, the key to it all is quite simple and is outlined of course, in Madame Dorozhkina’s fine book. Pick up your pens please, open your new exercise books and copy down the following words in bold, beautiful letters on the front page of your book. These are the teachings of a very revered Harem Matriarch from my country and you are to learn them off by heart and then bide by them at all times. Copy please!”

Anna Rosa picked up her pen and started to write. ‘A woman has only to please. Your job is to make a man happy. He does not want to know what you think! A man does not want you to think at all, only to be pleasing, beautiful and feminine. Then he will reward you with jewels and beautiful clothes and affection, and you shall reward him with a big, healthy boy-child. And the secret of it all is to be biddable.’

“Biddable, yes girls, biddable. That is the secret of it all. Oh, so great was the wisdom in my country in the old days, before that Satan-worshipper Mustafa Kemal came along… but, that is by the by. Biddable girls, biddable. Repeat it!”

“Biddable,” the girls echoed.

“Good, good. So, biddable is the keyword and one must strive to be it at all times. However, there is much more to Womanly Arts that biddability. Womanly Arts are there to instruct us on how to become accomlished women which is important as our accomplishments can please our husbands. In my country for example, an accomplished woman knows many things: how to dress hair, for example, and how to make coffee. A girl’s future can be decided on her ability to make an excellent cup of coffee and serve it with her eyes suitably downcast. Then there are the arts of choosing the right clothes, moving gracefully, removing body hair, and decorating the hands with henna. And after all these, there are of course the womanly arts that relate to bedroom conduct, which some, although not all, of you shall be learning. Today however, we start with something simple: making a cup of coffee. It sounds straightforward, but it is not. You girl, No. 28, come up to the front!”

One of the black ghosts rose from the floor and walked to the front of the class. Anna Rosa was intrigued. Despite the sexist overtones of this, (and indeed all her classes), turning such mundane activities as coffee-making into an art sounded worth watching.

“Now girl, here is the stove, the coffee beans, the pot and the glass. I wish you to make the beverage and then give it to me. You are to pretend of course, that I am your husband and master. Begin!”

Dutifully No. 28 made a cup of coffee and handed it to Madame Ozal. She seemed, to Anna Rosa’s untrained eye, to do it quite satisfactorily, but at the end, to her surprise, the teacher declared, “And that girls is how not to do it! Quite terrible and unfeminine indeed. Now I shall instruct No. 28 here how to do things correctly. Firstly girl, whilst you fill up the pot and heat it on the stove, what should you be constantly doing?”

The girl was silent for a moment and then squeaked a tiny, “I don’t know.”

“Dear, dear, this is terrible. The answer No. 28, is that you should be constantly looking at me. You gaze at the coffee beans as if they were more important and attractive than ME!! I am you husband No. 28, and NOTHING is more important and attractive to you than ME! Do you understand? I am your Alpha and your Omega, the centre of your attentions! Do it again, but this time, look at me! Begin!”

No. 28 again started to make a coffee, this time glancing up constantly at the teacher. “No! No! NO!” cried Madame Ozal. “Look at me as if you want me, respect me, fear me! Not as if you’re angry that I asked you to do something for me. Your whole purpose is to do things for me! Start again No. 28!”

For the following hour No. 28 made and remade coffee for Madame Ozal. Every gesture, glance and movement was scrutinised and evaluated. At every turn a woman’s subordinance to her man was stressed. It made Anna Rosa feel sick. She had never been passive or submissive and had always striven to make her voice heard. The philosophy of the Academy was against everything that she believed in. She was fast beginning to realise that she would have to do something.

Chapter 5 – Mealtime, Freetime and Bedtime

When Womanly Arts finished, the girls were instructed that they would be eating their first meal in the Academy. They filed down the corridor to the Dining Hall, a large room filled with long tables. On each table, a term group was seated. They were easily recognisable by the colour of their garments, although – as Dorozhkina had said earlier – not all the garments were the same and it interested Anna Rosa to spy out the differences.

What was most disconcerting was that all the other students save the First Termers wore the ‘Full Niqaabs’ that had been discussed earlier, so that even their eyes were covered. Anna Rosa guessed that wearing such a veil would be most annoying, (her own veil was annoying enough on its own, it getting quite hot under there and causing her to sweat a little), and as for the thickness of the veils of some of the older students, well, she wondered how they saw through them at all. Furthermore, not all of them wore standard faceveils, such as she and her friends donned. Many, particularly those in the older classes, wore strange garments that appeared to be fastened onto the head by a small cap and then fell to the floor. Sight was gained through s mall mesh grille, or pair of grilles and they were embroidered at the front. The garments looked an improvement on her own garb beauty wise, but Anna Rosa suspected that they were most difficult to wear or see through. What also intrigued her, was that the higher up the school one went, the more layers one seemed to wear under one’s top clothing, so much so that the students dressed in ‘Virginial White’ seemed absolutely huge, their many layers billowing out all around them. What was most disconcerting however, was that most of the girls in the higher classes did not appear to have any food in front of them, nor plates on which to serve any. Were they not to eat? Were they only here for form? Anna Rosa suspected that she did not want to know the answer.

The food, when it was served, was a simple snack of rice and salad with a small piece of chicken. Strangely, no cutlery was provided, but then the maids came round with a thick black rubber glove which each girl then put onto her right hand. “You are to eat using your gloved hand, passing your food under your veils and not revealing a millimetre of flesh!” a teacher commanded. Anna Rosa considered this more barbaric than ladylike, but as she was hungry, proceeded nonetheless. Afterwards she drank her glass of water in the same way, before they were ordered to file out and reassemble in the corridor. Once done so, the same teacher announced, “Now girls, this is your free time, for one hour before you are put to bed. You are to spend this time with your designated friend. Thus, the girls with an odd number will host tonight and the girls with an even number will visit their friend’s room. No talking is allowed until you have entered the chamber and the door is firmly locked behind you. Remember, even when you are inside, you may not remove your uniforms! Now, go to your rooms!”

They were led to their rooms by a maid and, as the teacher had explained, instead of going to her chamber, Anna Rosa followed No. 33 into hers. Once they were inside, the maid closed and locked the door behind them. At last, at long last, she was allowed to speak.

“Sit down please,” said No. 33.

Anna Rosa did as she was bid. Then, being a naturally forward person, she said, “My name’s Anna Rosa, what’s yours?”

No. 33 sat beside her. She had large dark eyes and tanned skin, not too different from Anna Rosa herself. “I’m Nazreen,” she said. “Are you, are you… a Christian?”

“Yes, I suppose I am. Well, I’m a Roman Catholic anyway. You must be a Muslim.”

“I’ve never met a Christian before,” said Nazreen. “I was surprised that my father sent me to a school with non-Muslims, but he knows best I suppose and they say that this school is very good.”

“Do they? To me it seems absolutely beastly and sexist and old-fashioned. I hate it and want to leave already.”

“Do you? But maybe that’s because purdah is new to you. It isn’t to me. In Pakistan where I come from, it is quite common. I have lived in purdah all my life. In fact, this school so far seems quite lax and free to me. I’ve never been allowed to speak to a woman who was not of my family before, let alone a Christian!”

Anna Rosa was surprised, and horrified. “My life has been very different,” she replied. “I’ve had every freedom. I’m used to wearing normal clothes, jeans and T-shirts, even a bikini, not all this. And I can talk to anyone, and more.”

“I pity you, but thankfully you can have a good life now.”

“Do you mean to say that you like all this shit?!”

“Anna Rosa, your language!”

Anna Rosa realised that she had offended this girl, who was to be her only friend. “I’m sorry,” she said. “It’s alright. I forget that you have had a very different life to mine. But, to answer your question, it doesn’t matter what I like or not, but only what Allah… and my parents will, and they will that we live in purdah. Besides, it is good sometimes. We are safe and pure.”

‘Jesus Christ!’ thought Anna Rosa to herself, ‘I’m stuck with Osama’s daughter!’

“So do you mean to say that you wear stuff like this at home then?”

“Oh yes, and more. This is the first time since I was twelve that I haven’t worn full niqaab. I feel almost naked in it. At home we always wear a burqa or full faceveil and we are not allowed to speak in the presence of any men save our brothers and father. In fact, father decrees that whenever we leave the house or when there are strange men present, that my sisters and I wear a gag to remind us of our obligation to be silent.”

“A gag!”

“Yes, of course, do you want me to show it you?”

Anna Rosa was intrigued. “Yes please.”

Nazreen rooted about in her beside drawers and pulled out a small rubber ball connected to a loop of elastic. Anna Rosa took it in her hands and imagined wearing such a thing. It was barbaric! “May I put it on?” she asked.

“No, I’m sorry, but to do that you must remove your uniform and you know that that is not allowed.” “Hmm,” said Anna Rosa. She was not intending to take of the Academy’s stupid rules seriously and was hoping that her ‘friend’ would be the same, but it seemed that such spontaneity was not going to come easily. Instead she asked Nazreen to tell her all about her life.

Nazreen Afridi was born some fourteen years ago in a very strict part of Pakistan and had rarely left her father’s house since then. Since nine she had lived veiled and since twelve in full purdah. She had never spoken to a man other than her father and brothers and was engaged to marry the mayor of a small town some two hundred kilometres from her own. She had never met this mayor, nor had she been to his town, but she had been told that he was a most pious gentleman of some thirty-eight years who already possessed one wife. The town where he lived was one of the strictest in Pakistan and followed some extremely barbaric customs, the worst being that women were only allowed out of the house if they wore a veil that blinded them completely so that they had to be led about by their menfolk. And if this wasn’t enough, then within the walls of their house, they were compelled to wear clothing more extreme than the Academy Uniform; namely veils that only allowed a very thin slit for the eyes, the width of the pupils only. Furthermore, the only women they were allowed to talk to were relatives and co-wives and consequently, a gag of some sort was standard at all times. It was to prepare her for this life of the strictest purdah, that Nazreen had been sent to the Academy of Modesty and Submissive Behaviour.

“And what about you?” Nazreen had then asked.

Anna Rosa explained that she was just over fifteen years old and came from Colombia where her family were very important, being dealers in coffee and… other things. Her life hitherto had been quite free, although she’d always been sent to strict Catholic schools and her father possessed some rather strange and old-fashioned ideas regarding the position of women in society. She had been engaged since birth to marry one Antonio de Silva, the son of another extremely wealthy ‘trading’ family, and prior to her entry into the Academy, this had been her one complaint ion life. Antonio was only four years older than her, but he was a bore, not particularly handsome and she suspected possessed a rather nasty and old-fashioned streak in him. That’s why she’d attempted to lose her virginity to the sexy yet slightly annoying Manuel de Souza, (as Antonio insisted upon a virgin), but that plot had failed and now, for no reason that she could fathom, she was in this crazy place, the Academy of Modesty and Whatever.

Anna Rosa was going to say more, but then a strange wailing filled the room and Nazreen said, “You’ll have to excuse me.” Then the Pakistani girl rolled out a mat on the floor, knelt down and started to bow up and down, obviously in prayer. There was nothing Anna Rosa could do but watch and it was actually to her relief that several minutes into this performance, the door was unlocked and the maid escorted her next door to her room.

“Now it is time for bed,” the maid said. “Please undress down to your underwear, gloves and stockings.”

Anna Rosa wondered about this, since the clock only said eight, but she said nought, glad of the opportunity to rid herself of her veil and heavy khimar. Whilst she was doing this, the maid went to the wardrobe and retrieved some garments from it. “Now we put on your nightclothes,” she announced. Anna Rosa wondered, as these were not like any nightclothes that she had ever worn before, but she decided once again, to follow orders until she had learnt the full story. First the maid took her arms, crossed them in front of her stomach and then wrapped a sleeve around them which, when secured, meant that her arms could not be moved. “What?!” Anna Rosa asked in surprise.

“If you speak No. 34, I shall be forced to silence you,” was all that the maid said. Anna Rosa decided to stay quiet for the moment and the maid then draped a semi-transparent grey cloth over her which she secured onto her head by means of a round cap in black and gold. Then a collar in the same colours was tied around her neck and Anna Rosa realised that there was no way in which she could remove the garment. Then, she was led to her bed, lain down and the bottom of the robe fastened together as if it were a bag. She was sealed in! Finally, the maid pulled a thick duvet over her, closed the curtains and left the room, locking the door firmly behind her, and leaving a distressed Anna Rosa to contemplate her predicament.

Engraving of Armenian Women by Le Hay

Night dress at the Academy

Chapter 6 – The Second Day

Anna Rosa did not sleep well that night. Her bedtime bondage irked her, as too did the cloth pressing against her face. What was worse than all that however, were her forebodings for the future. Just a day at the Academy had taught her that the future year or two that she was to spend there was only to be feared, and then after that… The talk of ‘future husband’ worried her. She assumed that that referred to Antonio, as he had always been her intended. She’d known this since she was a small child yet until that day. She had never really believed that it was going to happen. She would find a way out somehow. Yet, trapped here in this school from hell, where they were quite plain about training her for marriage and that release would only come with marriage, then how could she ever save herself? She imagined a life with the boorish, domineering Antonio and shuddered. Then she recalled all that she had been taught about purdah and women’s roles in society. She could imagine both he and her father agreeing with all that crap. Yes, it was obvious that those too between them had cooked up the idea of sending her to this school of sexism. And what special course of study might have been mapped out for her? She did not even want to think about it. One thing was for certain, she would be escaping, and sooner rather than later. It would not be easy, after all, she didn’t even know which country she was now in, but she would escape somehow.

At long last though she fell asleep and dreams wiped the unkind reality away, but only for a few hours, for at five a bell started ringing in her mind and she opened her eyes to discover that it existed in reality also, being piped into her room by loudspeaker. ‘Must be wake-up time,’ she thought to herself, as she lay there in her bonds and veils. A minute later a maid entered, released her and ushered her into her en-suite shower where she washed and refreshed herself. Then, the hateful First Term Uniform was presented to her again, and after donning it, she was led by the maid through the corridors of the Academy to a very familiar-looking room. It was a small chapel and in it were sat around twenty veiled girls. A bell sounded and they all stood up. So, it was early morning Mass. Obviously all religious traditions were respected here.

After Mass they assembled for breakfast, which followed the same procedures as dinner had done the night before, and then it was lessons again; Purdah Study and Womanly Arts. In today’s Purdah Study they continued where they had left off the day before, listing a learning about the different types of veils and clothes that they were allowed to – and in future must – wear. One that took an ordinately long time to explain was the ‘burqa’, a garment which, according to the teacher, came from Afghanistan or Kashmir and was one of the most serious of the full-body veils. The teacher showed a picture on the screen that they were told to copy and Anna Rosa recognised it immediately as the strange garment with a grille to see through that some of the older girls had been wearing in the dining hall. Then, each of the girls was presented with a black version of the same garment which the teacher informed them was theirs to keep and must be carried around with them at all times. They were then instructed to put them on, this being easy as one simply fitted the cap on the top of one’s head over the khimar and let the rest hang down, and lessons were given in how to walk in and manage the burqa. Immediately, Anna Rosa found that she particularly disliked this new addition to her wardrobe. It was hot and heavy and the grille limited her sight significantly. She found that wearing it, she could only see straight ahead and thus her walking had to be modified somewhat to save her tripping over unnoticed objects. All in all, she was glad to take it off at the end of the lesson.

Afterwards, it was again Womanly Arts where the whole rigmarole of making coffee was gone over again and this time all the pupils were ordered up one by one to attempt the task. Anna Rosa, although not perfect, did not do too badly and only had to repeat the process four times.

After Womanly Arts it was lunch and then after that there was a surprise. Anna Rosa and her classmates were led to a large room full of stainless steel cylinders, some two metres or so in height and one metre in width. Each cylinder had a door. “Pick a cylinder for yourself,” the teacher commanded and once inside lock the door behind you. Then strip completely and put on the clothes provided in the cylinder. Over these put on the black burqas that you were presented with this morning.

Inside her cylinder there was nothing save for a light at the top and a bench built into the wall. On the bench were some folded garments. Anna Rosa stripped naked and then looked at her new attire. There were a sports bra and panties which she put on and then an item which astonished her at first. It was a small rubber ball on a piece of elastic. She had seen one only the night before. So, she was going to have an opportunity to try one of the gags that Nazreen wore after all! Reluctantly she placed it in her mouth and then turned her attentions to the final item, a full lycra bodysuit which covered her entire body save for a thin strip through which her eyes could be seen. She climbed into it and zipped up the back. It was a perfect fit and moulded all of her curves. It was not comfortable although she could imagine its heat-generating capacities. Last of all she put the burqa over her head and tried to exit the capsule. The door would not budge. Then the voice of the teacher came through a loudspeaker in the roof. “No. 34, do not try and force the door! I will attend to you at the allotted time. Please sit on the bench and wait.” Without any choice or ability to answer back, Anna Rosa decided to obey so she sat down and waited. Some five minutes or so later, the door slid open and the teacher stood waiting for her. “No. 34,” she announced, “please follow me.” Anna Rosa exited the silver cylinder and followed her instructor through to another room, also large, which was filled with gym equipment. “Here at the Academy of Modesty and Submissive Behaviour,” the teacher explained, “we recognise the importance of keeping our pupils’ bodies in tip-top shape. After all, what man desires a fat and shapeless wife? Consequently, exercise and physical education lessons are an important part of your curriculum. Come to this bike and mount it.” Anna Rosa did as she was bid. To her left was another girl, dressed similarly in a black burqa, pedalling away silently. Once she was on the bike, the teacher knelt down and fastened straps around her ankles, before moving up and doing the same to her wrists.. She tried to move them but found that she was now tied to the bike! “You will not be allowed off until you have pedalled fifty kilometres,” continued the teacher. “If you fail to do this in three hours, then you shall receive a punishment. Begin!”

academy04

Anna Rosa in her black burqa.

And so she began, pedalling away. At first it was easy. Anna Rosa liked to exercise and keep herself toned, but she was not used to doing so much and what’s more, wearing such attire. As she’d suspected, the bodysuit soon heated up, whilst the burqa – which the teacher had draped carefully over her and the bike so that her feet or hands could not be seen – caused even more heat and its grille irritated her eyes and collected the sweat. But, there was no release, nor any way of knowing how far she had done, so all there was left to her was to keep on pedalling at top speed and hoping. By the end of the session, she was drenched, nearly blinded by sweat and exhausted. She felt like embracing the teacher when she came to release her from the bike and escort her back to her capsule. In there she stripped and as she did so, water cascaded from the roof. So, it doubled as a shower as well. When the water had finished, then a dryer came on and when she was dry, the lid of her bench, (which she then learnt was water-sealed), flew open, revealing her First Term Uniform. Wearily, she put on her veils and went down to dinner.

Chapter 7 – An Unpleasant Surprise

And so poor Anna Rosa’s life continued. Everyday she was woken at five for Mass and then it was a day of tedious lessons, silent meals and gruelling exercise, punctuated only by her time every evening with Nazreen. Nazreen was not a girl whom she would usually choose as a friend. To be frank, Anna Rosa found her boring, a little stupid and at times, brain-washed. But, as they say, ‘any port in a storm’ and the fact was, within days, she began to long for her time with the young Pakistani.

And so matters continued, through the rest of the week and then Saturday also. Sunday however, was of course, a day of rest and so after Mass at six, breakfast, Mass at eight and then Mass at ten, Anna Rosa left in her room to read either the Bible or Mrs. Dorozhkina’s book, (she being unable to visit her friend, as Nazreen’s day of rest had been Friday and so she was at lessons that day). After Mass at six however, she received an almighty surprise, when she was led to the room with the silver cylinders and ordered to change into her P.E. attire and burqa. ‘What, exercise today, on a Sunday?’ she thought to herself, unable to voice those thoughts of course.

After several minutes, the door opened and she was led out, but not to the exercise room but instead a room that she had never entered before. It was long and thin and along one wall were a series of small booths, several of which had veiled girls kneeling in them. Anna Rosa was led to an empty one and ordered to kneel down there. As soon as she had done so, bars shot across her back and behind her legs, preventing her from getting up and moving. Then her teacher’s voice was heard, coming from a small speaker near to her head:

“No. 34, every Sunday here at the Academy of Modesty and Submissive Behaviour, we take a tally of all your mistakes committed during the previous week and you are punished accordingly. Every girl receives an obligatory five points weekly for the crime of being born female not male and thus disappointing her parents. Then, there is one point for each mistake. You have accumulated eight points this week. Three for false starts in coffee-making, one for attempting to exit your changing room without permission, one for entering a classroom mistakenly on your first day and three for lack of concentration and effort in Purdah Studies. Consequently, you have accumulated thirteen points this week and these will be administered as thirteen paddles on your derriere. As you are being punished, please reflect on your bad behaviour and the dishonour that this has brought on the good names of your father, your future husband and God.”

Then, to her horror, her burqa was pulled up and her bodysuit unzipped and her panties pulled down. Thirteen painful paddles were then duly adminsitered, causing tears to well in her eyes, each thwack causing her to hate her father, Antonio and the Academy of Modesty and Submissive Behaviour more than ever before. At the end, her clothing was replaced and she was left there to sob in silence for an hour or so whilst the other pupils were similarly chastised.

Chapter 8 – Escape!

It was that session of chastisement that finally convinced Anna Rosa that she had to leave the Academy as soon as possible. As they were obviously not going to let her do that of her own accord, it did not take her five seconds that she was going to require a plan of escape, and a very good one at that. Consequently, the following week as she wandered around the corridors veiled up to the eyes, she kept a sharp eye out for any clues as to the exact nature of the institution in which she was imprisoned.

She knew that she was faced with several, very serious, obstacles. First and foremost was that all students were kept very closely under surveillance, being either locked in their rooms, at their lessons or chaperoned the corridors by a teacher or maid. The only time when she was left to her own devices, (save for her time with Nazreen, but she’d known from Day One that the Pakistani would be no ally to her), was when she was in bed at night, but then of course, she was restrained in a locked room.

Then of course, there was the problem of her having no idea of where she was. She had flown in by private jet, and in retrospect, suspected that she had been given some mild sleeping pills in her drink, as on arrival she had been drowsy and had taken little notice of her surroundings. Consequently, she hadn’t a clue as to where in Colombia she was or even if she was in Colombia at all. ‘Still,’ she thought to herself, ‘that is a distant problem, and if I get out, I can deal with that then. First things first, leaving the Academy.’ That however, again presented obstacles unknown. Firstly, the students were never let out of the building, so she knew not the exit nor what lay beyond the walls, for all the windows in the Academy were of frosted glass. ‘My initial task therefore,’ she declared to herself, one evening as she lay bound and motionless in her bed, ‘is to get a look outside.’

Even that though, was easier said than done, but her opportunity came one evening when, as she was being undressed and dressed for bed, she ‘accidentally’ tripped on a fold in the rug, (put there with some difficulty and much shuffling by herself that morning whilst she waited for a maid to wake her), and fell against the window, causing it to crack. Immediately the maid had become most flustered and had rushed to the wardrobe for a piece of cloth ‘to keep the chill out’. In the thirty seconds or so that she had though, she learnt enough. They were in a cold country, and the Academy was surrounded by lawns, beyond which was a high fence and beyond that, endless forest.

That Sunday she received five paddles for the trip, but she enjoyed each ‘Thwack!’ knowing that it was a necessary price to pay for her impending freedom.

The evening following the punishment, she was sent to the bathroom to balm her sore derriere. Whilst doing so, she also decided to shave her legs to keep them smooth, ladylike and pleasing for her future husband. No one saw her snap a corner off the razor and embed it in the soap, before replacing the blade in the ladyshave and giving it to the maid to put away.

She was dressed in her bonds as usual, put to bed and the maid left. Then she waited an hour or so for all the other students to be put away and as darkness fell, embarked upon her plan. She wiggled out of bed and across the floor into the bathroom and in the pitch black managed, (with considerable difficulty), to locate the soap. Then, she bit into it with her veiled mouth, filling that said orifice with a horrible soapy taste and once she had located the razor, (with even more difficulty), grasped it with her restrained hands and used it to saw away at her bonds.

It took over an hour, but eventually she was free. Then she her hands to tear off the other clothing and went over to the wardrobe. That was of course locked, but she was a smart girl and one who had not shied from acts of petty criminality in the past, and so used the razor to pick the lock. She had long wondered what was inside that vast cabinet and now she knew. Row after row of oppressive clothes, burqa, khimars, abayahs and much much more that she shuddered to think of ever wearing, was arrayed before her. She grabbed an abayah and threw it over her, and then an Iranian chador with full faceveil. Black was good for the night. It stopped one from being seen! Then she took a thick skirt, wrapped it around her hand, walked over to the window and punched it hard. The glass shattered, loudly it seemed to her, but in reality, the sound was much muffled by the cloth. She looked out. She was two storeys up, but there was a way of getting down. She hung off her windowsill and her feet touched the lintel of the window below. Within five minutes she was down. Not a light was on in the building, (which looked like an old army barracks to Anna Rosa), so she sprinted across the lawn to the fence. Now the difficult part! It was not electrified, which was a relief, but it was high and barbed wire capped the top. Steadily she climbed up, and when she reached that top, she flung the thick skirt over the barbed wire. Slowly, she hauled herself over it and then jumped down. She was free! In jubilation she began to run. Naturally she never saw the single strand of electric fence. She felt the shock though and the world went black.

Chapter 9 – Wakey! Wakey!

Anna Rosa de la Torre opened her eyes. The world was hazy and grey. She knew what caused that immediately. A veil! Then it all came back to her, the soap, the razor, the window, the fence, the shock. The veil told her the next installment in her tale of woe. Evidently, she was back in the Academy of Modesty and Submissive Behaviour.

“No. 34, so you are awake at last!”

She knew that voice too. It was the Headmistress, Dorozhkina. She tried to reply with a defiant ‘Yes’, but nothing happened. Her voice wouldn’t work. And it wouldn’t work because there was an intruder in her mouth!

“That is a Full Purdah Gag,” said the Headmistress as if reading her thoughts. “Normally, you wouldn’t be introduced to it until your fourth term, but since your situation is… special, then you’ll be wearing it for a month now. It’s just a part of your punishment for the outrageous behaviour of last night. There will be more though, do not worry. Now, get up!”

Anna Rosa tried to do as she was bid, but found herself hindered, by her clothes! Her legs were pinned tightly together somehow, whilst her arms were handcuffed in front of her. Furthermore, it all stuck to her and was heavy and… strange.

“A rubber purdah suit,” said Dorozhkina. “It is all in one piece from your head to your ankles. Come here!”

Anna Rosa shuffled across to the outline of the Headmistress. She was then taken and forced to kneel on the floor, her head touching the carpet. Then, a slight breeze on her bottom made her realise that the suit didn’t cover everything. “Ten paddles daily for the duration of the punishment, which is of course, a month.”

They rained down. Thwack! Thwack! Thwack! Thwack! Thwack! Thwack! Thwack! Thwack! Thwack! Thwack! As each blow fell, tears filled her eyes and she longed to scream out, not only in pain, but also humiliation and because her hope for the future had been destroyed. “Escape from the Academy is impossible!” the Headmistress cried as she flogged her. “Your role in life is to be hidden, submissive and modest!” and then “You will never escape it!”

And the tears flowed because Anna Rosa knew that it was all true. She might hate it, but purdah was something that she was going to have to accept.

After the chastisement, Mrs. Dorozhkina explained the Full Purdah Gag. “Not a sound in and not a sound out. Its rubber seal, pear-shaped intrusion and elastic covering make it a perfect fit. Breathing is now through the nose only. You shall wear it for a month solid. Your diet shall be liquid only. A tube runs through the gag and down your throat. Here’s feeding time No. 34!”

And she picked up a canister of green mush, plugged a tube into Anna Rosa’s gag and switched on a motor. The mush was slowly pumped down the tube and into the Colombian girl’s throat. She never tasted a thing, only felt it go down and fill her stomach. When the canister was empty, the Headmistress smiled, and announced, “And now let us get you properly dressed!”

Over her full rubber purdah suit and full niqaab, Anna Rosa was dressed in her usual First Term Uniform. Consequently, to the outside, she was identical in appearance to all the other students, save for the fact that no eyes peered out between her veil and headcovering. To her surprise though, once she was ready, instead of fitting her normal shoes, Mrs. Dorozhkina produced a pair of lace up boots that had heels of some six centimetres or so. These, added to the minuscule stride allowed by the purdah suit made walking a real trial and the most that she could do was shuffle along at a snail’s pace, but that of course, was part of her punishment, her reminder that to attempt to escape was but futile and not worth the effort.

Anna Rosa’s month of punishment was sheer hell. Wearing the rubber purdah suit caused her to heat up and sweat profusely, but as the sweat had nowhere to go, she just got wet and sticky. And because the purdah suit kept all moisture and odours locked up, then her clothes remained clean so there was no reason ever to remove them, for the whole month! At night her maid simply lay her in the bed and pulled a thick duvet over her charge. The heat was intolerable.

It was also at night that Anna Rosa realised the full genius of the high-heeled boots, for after she had put her to bed, her maid then knelt down and started fiddling with her boots. Wondering what she was doing, Anna Rosa soon learnt when the maid stood up and showed her the two heels that she’d unscrewed. Anna Rosa would be walking nowhere that night – or indeed any night – for who can walk on two pointed cones?

And then in the morning she was woken, fed in her new humiliating fashion and then taken to the toilet where her maid would wipe her bottom, powder it with talcum powder and then fit a nappy around it like a baby. And that nappy was necessary, as she was not taken to the toilet again until she went to bed that evening, yet constantly ‘watered’, (to combat the dehydration caused by the rubber suit), throughout the day. Then she was expected to attend Mass, (though not receive the sacrament of course), and her lessons, where she sat mute and helpless all day long. Indeed, the only lesson that she did not partake in was P.E. as she could not mount the bike wearing the purdah suit, but instead she had her First Year Uniform removed, a huge inflatable ring of black rubber, some three feet in height, reaching from her chest to her knees, wrapped around her and inflated, a black burqa with dense mesh thrown over her head and she was carried to the Academy’s swimming pool in which she bobbed about for the entire session, almost blinded by her clothing.

And then of course, there were her daily punishment sessions of ten paddles, and her times with Nazreen which were also terrible as although Nazreen was her ‘friend’, the Pakistani girl could not fathom out why a female should ever be disobedient and thus only felt pity for her ‘poor misguided Christian friend’, and as Anna Rosa was entirely mute, the conversation was completely one-directional and one-directional conversations with someone who had rarely left the four walls of her father’s house and had only spoken to about ten people in her entire life tend to be extremely boring.

The muting was in fact, probably the worst aspect of it all. Aside from the fact that the new gag prevented any breathing through the mouth and caused her to constantly panic about suffocating, she found that when she was mute she was present yet not present at the same time. Muted, people talked about her in her presence and on the few occasions when Nazreen or others deigned to speak to her, they spoke as if she were a dog or a baby, unconsciously using a patronising and childish voice. It was unbearable.

It was unbearable, indeed it was unbearable. The mincing steps that caused her to fall behind her peers, the talks given by the teachers on the fate of girls who try to resist, the patronising attitude of Dorozhkina and the pitiful tones of Nazreen; the veil forever blurring her sight; the aching toes, hurt by hours spent with all her weight on them; the endless punishments; the inability to be herself; the humiliation of having her bottom wiped and cleaned by a maid; the greater humiliation of having it smacked like that of a naughty little girl afterwards; the lack of speech, movement and the intense, never-ending heat. Nightly, she cried herself to sleep and nightly did she pray to the Mother of God for deliverance.

But that deliverance did not come, or at least, not before the allotted time. The Anna Rosa de la Torre who emerged hot and sticky from her cocoon at the end of that month however, was a different girl from the one that had entered it. Like a wild horse, they had broken her. The seeds of submission had been well and truly sown.

Chapter 10 – First Term

After her month in punishment bondage, Anna Rosa felt positively free and unfettered when she returned to life as a normal First Term student at the Academy of Modesty and Submissive Behaviour and indeed she could now fully comprehend why Nazreen had referred to the school as somewhat ‘lax’ during their one-way conversations in Room 33.

Suitably chastised, she was now anxious not collect anymore bad marks and from rebel she turned into star pupil, always attentive in lessons and suitably modest and submissive. These days her bottom only received its obligatory five blows most Sundays and if there were any extra ones, they were for careless mistakes that she regretted deeply.

Anna Rosa’s only aim now was to pass through her time in the Academy as quickly and as trouble-free as possible. If she thought about what life held in store for her after the six terms, (as she occasionally did at night), then she grew fearful and depressed, so instead she just tried to blot it out of her mind and concentrate on the then and now. It was not that she had accepted her forced purdah as Nazreen did, only that she had realised that it was something that she could not escape from.

Purdah Studies continued in the same boring, yet relevant way that it had begun. After they had finished looking at veiling and clothing, there had been lessons on how to walk silently and in a ladylike manner so that one appeared to glide (at a snail’s pace) yet not disturb one’s master. Then they had moved onto the subject of ‘Voice Awrah’, by which it was explained that Muslims believed that a woman’s awrah extended also to the sounds that she made. The sound of a young lady talking and singing, instantly caused men to have a case of fitna and thus it should not be allowed. Various types of gags – including the fearsome full purdah one that Anna Rosa had worn during her punishment – were introduced and explained and then the girls were asked to try them on and advised on how to avoid gagging and panicking about loss of breath and other unpleasant side effects. Then, they were ordered to spend a full day wearing each type of gag, pear ball, inflatable and others, so as to get used to the feel, another added burden that Anna Rosa resented as during their evening sessions together, Nazreen refused to remove hers nor allow Anna Rosa to take her own out, so they had to resort to communicating to one another using little pieces of paper upon which they wrote short messages. Then, after the voice, the hands were looked at, the teacher explaining that shapely young female hands can also cause fitna and thus the subject of gloves was introduced and they began a course on gloving, mittens and handling items whilst wearing such items. The week spent wearing two pairs of gloves and the week after when mittens were the order of the day were most trying to Anna Rosa as they were still expected to write in their exercise books at the same speed as before, yet doing so was nigh on impossible and so virtually every girl picked up some bad marks, causing a sorer posterior than usual on the Sunday.

After two full months of exercise biking, P.E. changed and the girls were given a frame, somewhat like that worn by Victorian ladies in their crinolines, to wear under their black burqa which kept the garment away from the body. Dressed so, their long robes did not get in the way of their movements yet also did not show any of their contours to the outside world and thus dressed they were all ordered onto treadmills and commanded to run ten kilometres. This was a new hell indeed, as ten kilometres is an indeterminably long distance for anyone, but if one a treadmill and wearing a thick black burqa whose grille sticks to your face and collects one’s sweat so that it stings one’s eyes, then it seems more akin to a marathon than a fun run.

Best of all her lessons was Womanly Arts which Anna Rosa had begun to enjoy with a vigour. After simple coffee-making, they moved onto pouring tea and serving food to one’s spouse. When that was finished though, Anna Rosa and all the other First Term Students got a surprise as when they entered the classroom on a Monday morning they found to their astonishment that it was filled with large wooden boxes, just over a metre high, with vases on top, the vases covered by a thick pink sheet.

“Girls, over the next two months some of the Fifth Term students have very kindly agreed to assist us and so we shall be learning together the art of dressing hair,” Madame Ozal announced. “Now, I know that this will confuse some of you, who know that dressing hair, like making coffee is most likely to be an impossibility for you later in life, but it is still very important that you learn these skills as if you know how they are done correctly, then you can guide or chastise your servants appropriately.” Anna Rosa was wondering quite why anyone would not be able to make coffee or dress hair after marriage, but all such thoughts were dashed from her mind when Madame Ozal whipped off the pink covering from one of the boxes to reveal, not a vase as she had anticipated, but instead a human head, or at least, what she thought was a human head.

The hair was definitely human. It flowed down from the crown in long, wavy, raven locks. What was not human, was the face. Instead, she just saw a mask, a blank mask with the contours of a pretty girl’s face, but all in alabaster white. There was not an opening in it. If there was a human being in there, then they could not see a thing. Anna Rosa wondered too, how they could breathe, but as a proper submissive girl, she naturally said nothing.

“This is No. 135 and today I shall be teaching you, using her lovely black hair, how to dress hair in the manner of one of the concubines in the Imperial Harem of my own country. Now girls, take out your exercise books and copy down this description, which was made by one Edward Daniel Clarke, an infidel Englishman, during the late 18th century:

‘Their hair hung in loose and very thick tresses; falling quite down to the waist, and covering their shoulders behind. Those tresses were quite powdered with diamonds, not displayed according to any studied arrangement, but as if carelessly scattered, among their flowing locks. On the top of their heads, and rather leaning to one side, they wore, each of them, a small patch or diadem.’

Now First Termers, today we will be doing the same on these girls here. Girls, select a Fifth Term Student each, remove her cover and follow my instructions. Begin!”

Anna Rosa picked a box near to the back of the room and removed the cover. Revealed to her was a beautiful head of chestnut-brown hair. She felt sorry for the girl so trammelled within there, but eager to embark upon this new course of study.

“Now girls, each of you has a student with beautiful long hair, although as you can see, there are a variety of colours and textures represented in this room today, as indeed was there in the Imperial Harem. Now, long hair is a mandatory requirement in this school. Short hair is not feminine and thus not allowed here. Long hair is beautiful and pleasing to men and so none of you will be having your hair cut until after you leave these walls and enter marriage. Some of you will never have your hair cut, even after that happy day, for many men find pleasure in hair that reaches the waist or below. Such hair is heavy, can cause headaches and is difficult to manage, but one must suffer to be beautiful and please one’s master. Now, follow me here as I start to comb…”

Everyday, Anna Rosa came to the classroom and worked on a different head of hair, experimenting with a number of different styles and decorations, from ringlets, to straightened hair, waves to high-piled styles. The decorations too were important as they had to accentuate the colours of the hair and the wearer’s eyes. Now, naturally, the students were allowed no view of the real eyes of the Fifth Termers, so instead each was given a little card with the trammelled model’s eye colour on it and this was used as a guide on how to proceed. After that, they experimented with colouring hair and other such skills and daily as Anna Rosa worked, she fantasised about having her hair done in such beautiful styles and even about having it worked on by some unknown girl whilst she was locked in a dark box, deprived of all her senses. That last thought was worrying, but nonetheless, Anna Rosa did have it. The ideology of the Academy of Modesty and Submissive Behaviour was slowly taking over.

Chapter 11 – An Unexpected End of Term

On the Monday morning of the last week of term, Anna Rosa was woken by her maids as usual, but then, after her bath and visit to Mass, taken back to her room and shaved all over by her maid and her hair styled into long ringlets and some make-up applied to her face, before then being commanded to don only her gloves and black burqa and escorted down the corridors to one of the P.E. rooms. In the middle of this room stood two things; a large glass cylinder and beside it, the Headmistress.

“You’ll be having a most different week this week, No. 34,” said Dorozhkina. “Study this picture.”

She handed Anna a small picture of a Roman or Greek statue. The statue was of a woman, a young shapely woman, standing up casually, her hands joined together and held in front of her most intimate parts. “The statue is a famous one, by a great artist and can be viewed in a country house in Engalnd,” the Headteacher continued. “Now, go into the glass cylinder, remove your gloves and burqa and assume that position. Do not move until you hear the bell ring. When it rings one time, replace your burqa and relax. When it rings again, remove the burqa and reassume the position of the statue. Pay particular attention to your facial expression. It should be just as the statue’s is. Enter the chamber!”

Anna Rosa bowed to her superior and entered the glass cylinder. Inside, she was surprised to discover that the walls were grey and one could see nothing through them. So, this was one-way glass! She removed her burqa and gloves, glanced at the picture and assumed the position. Then she waited, and waited and waited. Whilst she waited, she wondered why the glass was one-way, why she was made to assume the position of a famous statue and just who was on the other side of the glass. What’s more, she also wondered why the Headmistress – who was normally so keen on having her girls cover up as much as possible – was now demanding that she stand naked for hours. Eventually the bell rang and so she replaced the burqa on her head and the door opened. Outside, the room was deserted, but there was some food for her to eat. She knelt down and ate it in a becoming and modest manner. Then the bell rang again, so she returned to the cylinder and the door closed behind her. Immediately she removed burqa and resumed her position. The bell did not ring again until dinnertime.

And so it continued, daily, for the entire week. When she told Nazreen about it at night, the Pakistani girl was most surprised, as her week was normal just like all the others. Nor too did Dorozhkina explain anything, but by now Anna Rosa knew that it was best not to ask, and so she merely stayed silent and meekly followed orders. Eventually, halfway through the Friday, the bell mysteriously rang before lunchtime and the door opened. Dorozhkina stood outside with a letter, some paper and a pen. “No. 34, copy this down and sign it!” she commanded. Anna Rosa took the proffered items, knelt down and started to copy out the printed message in her best handwriting:

To my darling fiancé,

I have now completed my first term here at the Academy of Modesty and Submissive Behaviour. Although I was a little naughty at first and had to be chastised by my teachers, I am now loving it here and daily I feel grateful to you for giving me this opportunity to redeem myself and become a respectful woman. I do so hate though, every minute that we are apart and feel guilty about leaving you alone and without female company. I long and pray for the happy day of our marriage, but to keep you closer to me during these coming long months, I enclose these gifts and reminders of your submissive and loving future wife.

All my love and kisses,

Love,

Anna Rosa.

She was horrified to write it, and curious as to what the ‘gifts and reminders’ were, but she did not question or stop. When it was written, her Headmistress took the letter off her and instructed her to return to her room. This she did, and thus she ended her first term at the Academy of Modesty and Submissive Behaviour.

Chapter 12 – A New Uniform…

“Your Second Term means that a very important stage in your life has already been passed and you are ready to move on. First Term is difficult for some. Those of you that come from non-purdah backgrounds often have trouble adjusting to your rightful role in life. This last term we had two students who were stupid enough to attempt to leave this institution, one of whom got as far as the grounds, the other who ran for no less than twenty kilometres before she was discovered and brought back. Having passed your First Term you should all be ready to submit to your God-given fate, but if any of you do have a notion in your heads of escape, then let me tell you now, it is futile. This compound is secure and beyond it one must travel over a hundred kilometres before one reaches any human habitation. You will be caught and when caught, you will be punished. Is that not true my two disobedient girls?”

Dorozhkina turned to Anna Rosa and she nodded. Another girl also nodded. Anna Rosa wondered who she was and how she’d managed to travel a full twenty kilometres. The Headmistress continued with her speech.

“Upon leaving this room, you will all return to your chambers where your maids will dress you in your Second Term Uniforms. As I have said before, these will not all be identical, but will all be in green so that you shall be easily identifiable. They are not identical because from this day forward you shall all be following your own unique curriculum, formulated by your fathers and future husbands so that you will be best-prepared for the life ahead of you that they have mapped out. As you don your new uniform, please give them a thought and thank them – and God – for the wonderful opportunity that has been granted to you, allowing you to live a life of purdah alas, unavailable to so many ladies in these Satanic times. Second Termers, return to your rooms!”

As she retraced her steps to Room 34, Anna Rosa wondered quite what her own ‘unique curriculum’ would entail. As Antonio seemed to have formulated it, it most probably would not be too pleasant, but there again, not too extreme either. From her previous, somewhat distasteful meetings with her intended, he had always struck her as dull and short on ideas or spark. Someone like that, whilst capable of devising a programme none too pleasant, would not have the nonce to introduce any really strange ideas. ‘Just so long as Womanly Arts is still on my timetable,’ she thought, ‘then I shall be content.’ These days, Anna Rosa was learning to become a woman content with small mercies.

Once in her room, the maid ordered her charge to strip off and then dress in a full lycra bodysuit in dark green then covered her from her neck to her toes, with built in gloves. Then over that, a further pair of thin silk gloves was added that reached up to her elbows and were secured by an elastic tie. Her hair was then tied back in a simple ponytail and a headcovering, similar to a nun’s wimple, but in green, was fastened around her head, so that only a circle remained, revealing her facial features. Following this, a different pair of high-heeled boots, (for the pair that she had ‘acquired’ during her punishment had never been removed with the other clothes when the month had finished), were levered onto her feet, this pair reaching up to her thighs, being laced all the way and having heels at least two centimetres higher than the last pair. Wearing them, Anna Rosa could hardly stand at first, but the maid assured her that she would soon learn to keep her balance in them and, (as was usual these days), she acquiesced without any argument even though she sincerely doubted the servant’s words.

It was what came next however, that most surprised her. “What is that?” she asked the maid in astonishment, as the new item of clothing was produced. As soon as she had said it, she felt like kicking herself for she knew that such an unnecessary question would warrant a bad mark.

“It is a corset, No. 34, and your husband has decreed that you wear it.”

“A what?” she asked, regretting her impetuous words again.

“A corset. It goes around your waist and I tighten it with these laces here. The idea is to make your waist smaller as this is pleasing to men. It also helps restrict your movements and remind you of your situation. They are a European invention and were worn by ladies all over the world until about fifty years ago.”

The maid may not have been entirely accurate with her historical details of corsetry, but as she said it, Anna Rosa remembered watching some films from England of famous old books where ladies wore big dresses and had squeezed-in waists. She recalled that they looked quite elegant, so in one respect she quite wanted to try on this new addition to her wardrobe, but on the other, well… it did look kind of… scary.

The corset, an ingenious construction of bones and thick white material, was wrapped around her body and tightened up by means of a set of laces at the rear. With every pull, Anna Rosa felt her body change. At first it was loose, then a firm fit, then a little too tight, then a lot too tight, then, oh no…, then, “I can’t breathe!”, then “Stop it! Stop it now!”

Soon afterwards, the maid did stop. She took a tape measure and measured Anna Rosa’s new waist. “Sixty centimetres,” she said. “Your fiancé has stipulated sixty for the start of this term, so we are ok.”

Ok! Anna Rosa certainly did not feel ok. If anything, she felt quite overcome and constantly short of breath. And, when the maid tried to fit a green shalwar kameez over her other garments, she also discovered that she could no longer bend. The corset held her rigid in the middle, whilst the high-heeled boots made her balance uneasy. She knew that moving about was going to be far more difficult now. And that difficulty got even greater when the maid produced and fitted the final item of her new uniform; a forest green burqa, with a thicker mesh than her old black burqa, beautiful embroidery down the front and the number ‘34’ stitched in the centre in gold thread. So, her sight was to be limited as well. Gone were the days of half-niqaab, full face coverings were obviously mandatory now that she was a senior member of the Academy. She sighed deeply. This was her lot and one must accept one’s lot. Then she started out on her long and unsteady journey down to Room 7, for that was where her maid had told her that her next lesson was to be held.

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Anna Rosa looked beautiful in her Second Term Uniform

Chapter 13 – …and New Lessons

“My name is Madame Azadi, and I am to be taking you for most of your lessons from now on. Stand up straight girl, and let me look at you.”

The lady who was speaking was dressed in a thick black chador with niqaab veil that revealed a sparkling pair of ebony eyes. She was sat on the only chair in Room 7 when Anna Rosa had entered.

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Madame Azadi in her Iranian Chador

“Hmm, let me see… Ayeesha…? No, not Ayeesha, something else, Latino perhaps… Caterina, no, not Caterina, Catalina, that’s it, Catalina, perfect! Catalina, sit down on the rug before me, please.”

Anna Rosa was confused. She was used to no one using her name, No. 34 being the norm in the Academy of Modesty and Submissive Behaviour, but a completely different name entirely! Thankfully, as soon as she had sat herself down, Madame Azadi explained:

“Here in the Academy of Modesty and Submissive Behaviour, we are forbidden to use – or even to know – the names of our pupils, the use of numbers being sufficient for our needs and also invaluable in teaching you girls of your own, insignificant position in future life. However, for many of the lessons that I teach, which are, by necessity, of a more intimate nature, then a name is needed, so each student that I take, I rename during our first lesson together. Thus it is that you are now ‘Catalina’ to me and shall be forevermore. This is helpful to me and also possibly to you too as many husbands prefer to rename their wives using a title more appealing to them – the name of an old lover or their mother perhaps – and so it is useful that you get used to such notions here in school. So, that is that. Now that you and I are introduced Catalina, let me now explain to you in some detail all about your new curriculum, individually tailored by your future spouse and our own Mrs. Dorozhkina. Now, your timetable is quite simple to follow. Every morning you shall spend with me, whilst your afternoons will alternate between Womanly Arts with Madame Ozal and Physical Education with Madame Purvanova. So, there shall be no more Purdah Study for you, an omission that I am sure will cause you much happiness, as most girls seem to dislike that particular topic intensely.”

Underneath her veils, Anna Rosa (or Catalina) smiled, but naturally, as a modest and submissive girl, she said nothing.

“But, just because you are missing out on Purdah Study, do not think that your time here with me will be an easy ride, for if that is what you think then you are in for a very nasty surprise. I expect me girls to work you see, work very hard. This term we shall be having an intensive course on the arts of dance and deportment and I expect you to succeed in them. So, we are to begin, and as is alas, necessary for dance, I must ask you to remove your clothing, or at least, all of it save your lycra bodysuit. So, please, strip Catalina!”

A chance not only to divest herself of her heavy clothes, but also to dance! It was too good to be true; it was a dream, unreal, paradise… “Hurry up Catalina!” Madame Azadi’s words made her remember herself and she quickly relieved herself of the burqa, shalwar kameez and other items and then stood before her teacher, face unveiled, for the first time since entering the Academy.

“Hmm, you are a pretty girl and your body has potential,” observed Azadi, as if she were commenting on a slave in the slave market. She continued as if her charge was not there. “Not perfect it is true, yes, some assistance will be required in some areas – that corset is doing a good job, although it shall have to be removed for dance of course – but by and large, yes, we have potential. Now let’s just see if it moves as well as it looks.”

Anna Rosa felt proud of the praise that she had received and turned herself so that her teacher could unlace her corset. Once that tool of torture was off and she could breathe freely once again, she felt almost completely liberated. She was going to enjoy this lesson, she knew it!

“Right now Catalina, sit for I have much to explain. The art of dance is an ancient one, as too is deportment and the both of them are woven together so much that we may never excel in one without excelling in the other. Now, what I am about to teach you is intimate. A life of purdah such as is your happy lot in life, is a life of seclusion, restriction and above all, a life spent unseen. As you well know by now, purdah-living ladies may only ever be viewed by a limited number of people; close female relatives, their fathers, their brothers, a female doctor in times of emergency, female children, their own male children if below the age of five and of course, above all others, their husbands. Now the Intimate Arts, such as Dance are arts which we ladies learn to pleasure and impress our husbands. Under no circumstances are they ever, and I mean ever, to be demonstrated in front of anyone else. Is that understand?”

“Yes Madame Azadi.”

“Good. And now that we have understood that, I want also to mention and stress to you that not only are these to be demonstrated to anyone else, but also, they are not to be talked about, not even to your designated friend. Is that also understood?”

“Yes Madame Azadi.”

“Very good, and so now that we have all that cleared up, then we may start. Stand up, take Madame Dorozhkina’s book out of your bag and put it on your head.”

Puzzled, Anna Rosa cum Catalina did as she was bid.

“Now, walk around the perimeter of the room with the book balanced on your head, your arms held behind your back five times without the book falling off. Begin!”

Walking around a room five times with a book balanced upon your cranium does not sound like too difficult an exercise, but Anna Rosa soon learnt it to be quite the contrary. Despite her best efforts it constantly kept slipping off, causing Madame Azadi to explain all about the Art of Deportment and its importance in life.

“Before you can run – or dance – you must learn how to walk and you, Catalina, walk abysmally” … “It is necessary to walk in such a manner so that a man’s desire is inflamed. In normal life we endeavour to eliminate cases of fitna, but in the bedroom our purpose is to bring them on” … “A plain girl with no particular beauty can inflame a man with desire. Look at some of the most famous film actresses, Michelle Pfieffer for example. Not ugly, but not beautiful either. She was, in essence, somewhat plain, yet she sent millions of men wild by her grace and elegance” … “Your body is the only weapon that God allows you to use, (and even then only in the bedroom), so it is essential that you learn to wield it as well as any knight wields his sword.”

But learning was a difficult, slow and painfully boring process, and after three hours Anna Rosa had not managed to complete four circuits of the room, let alone five. Incredible as it may sound, she was almost glad to don her heavy restrictive clothing again and move onto her next class.

And besides, that next class was one that she liked, as we well know. The day was Monday and so Monday afternoon meant Womanly Arts. Anna Rosa entered Madame Ozal’s classroom again and was reassured to find some ten other girls waiting, and in front of each one, a box complete with veiled head. This time though, those veils were in Virginal White, not Pink.

“Welcome back girls, or at least, those of you whose husbands have decided that you continue with the noble subject of Womanly Arts. Welcome back also, even though they cannot hear me, to our graceful volunteers from the previous term whom, as you can clearly see, have also moved up a grade and are now in their Sixth and final term with us here at the Academy of Modesty and Submissive Behaviour. As such, they will of course, only be with us for the first month of this term, but that should be more than enough for us to learn what we need. Now, disrobe the volunteers, girls!”

Anna Rosa wondered why it was that the Sixth Termers could only be with them for a month, but said nothing and dutifully disrobed hers. She always got a strange feeling when she unveiled one of those faceless yet alive heads of hair and today was no different. Her girl this time had strawberry blonde locks and she wondered whether she was the same strawberry blonde that she had permed the term before. There was no way of telling of course, but what did puzzle her most this time, was that her girl already seemed to have had her hair styled. Those beautiful golden tresses were curled into long sausages such as a Victorian lady would wear, cascading down either side of her mask. So, if her hair was already done, then what was her job to be today? She did not have to wait for an answer:

“Now girls, as you can see, our obedient volunteers have already had their hair styled by the class before, so your job today does not require doing anything on the top of the head, but instead its front, or to be more exact, the face. Now, as you are all fully aware, allowing you to view the faces of these unrelated girls would not be acceptable in this establishment, (and besides, it would be a shame to mar them with your beginners’ mistakes), so instead we shall have to use the masks and pretend that they are real in our quest to learn the art of Make-Up Application, starting today with a most easy – and to the Arabians amongst us, most essential – skill of applying kohl to the eyes. Now girls, I shall be working on No. 204 here, so pick up your kohl pencils that are there on the desks beside you and follow my actions closely. Note how I hold the stick here and apply lightly…”

And so it was that Anna Rosa Catalina spent a very enjoyable hour applying kohl to a white facemask with real human hair that fidgeted about every now and again. ‘All in all,’ thought our young Colombian as she constantly applied, rubbed out and then reapplied the make-up, ‘this term is going to be far more fun than the last!’ Time alone would determine whether her words would be true or not.

Chapter 14 – The Second Term Progresses

As her second term at the Academy of Modesty and Submissive Behaviour progressed, Anna Rosa, (or Catalina as she was now more often called), began to enjoy her life there far more than she had done in the first term. The omission of Purdah Study from her timetable was welcome and the inclusion of Dance and Deportment further enhanced her days. When, after several weeks, Madame Azadi had finally decided that she was ready to begin some simple dances. To Anna Rosa’s delight, it was revealed that this entailed a change of clothing.

“Catalina, what I teach here is what you may know as the ‘Belly Dance’. To tell you the truth, it is not the ‘Belly Dance’, because there is no one ‘Belly Dance’, but instead many which are grouped under the name of ‘kyuchek’. You shall be learning several of them with me this term, including the famous ‘Dance of the Seven Veils’ which it is famous for students of the Academy of Modesty and Submissive Behaviour to perform on their wedding nights to please their husbands. That however, is for later. Now we just learn simple moves, but to do that you must change your clothes as the clothing and how it moves is an essential part of the dance. Strip yourself completely in the changing room over there and then put on these.” She handed her charge a small bundle of sparkling clothes. Anna Rosa took them to the changing room in glee. How long was it since she had been allowed to dress herself in a manner not only allowed people to see a bit of her, but more than that, was positively sexy? Anna Rosa had grown up in a country and environment where women were not hidden away, and where sex appeal and how to look good was understood. She had spent all her early teens reading fashion magazines, considering which hairstyle to have next, admiring the clothes of pop stars and wondering quite what she would look like when she finally blossomed into full adulthood. More than that, now that she was blossoming, now that her hips were getting wider and her curves more accentuated, she knew that she was becoming a beauty and although the Academy of Modesty and Submissive Behaviour was conditioning her into believing their ethos that women should hide their attributes, there was still a part of her that long to look good, style her hair, apply some make-up, flirt with a man and then seduce him. Evil thoughts perhaps, but nonetheless, they were there and this opportunity brought them rushing to the surface. So what if there was no man present! She would imagine one, not a plain bore like Antonio, but a well-toned hunk like his namesake, Banderas. She slipped on the wide Turkish trousers and sequinned, tasselled top (well, more a bra really) of the belly-dancing outfit. Today as Madame Azadi taught her, she would close her eyes and dream of dancing for her dream man, she, the sexiest lady in all Colombia.

Nonetheless, when she finally was ready and clad in her scanty attire, bells jingling around her ankles, she felt scared and afraid to exit the cubicle. After so long spent covered up, she had forgotten what it was like to appear before a stranger semi-naked. She felt immoral, like a prostitute. Good girls veiled themselves and concealed their bodies. Gingerly she opened the door and shuffled towards Azadi.

“It seems like you have forgotten all your deportment lessons, Catalina,” the teacher scolded. “You walk like a frightened mouse with the gait of a Viking. That will be one bad mark. However, to prove that I am also human, let me tell you that it is common amongst students here to feel strange when they first don their dancing costume. That his good of course; it shows that you are learning from the lessons that you are taught. However, no husband wants to see his wife move like that and as I pointed out to you on our first lesson together, only your husband is ever to see what I will teach you. So, straighten up Catalina and let us begin!”

Anna Rosa’s nervousness gradually wore off as her interest grew in the art of the kyuchek. Over the weeks that followed, she learnt how one should move every part of one’s body, but that it is the hips (which signify an ability to bear strong children) which most captivate men, (“The hips don’t lie,” Madame Azadi said). She progressed through the basic stages onto more complicated dances from Persia, Central Asia, Turkey and Arabia, including the Dance of the Seven Veils that her teacher had mentioned at the start, (not an easy one to begin with as wearing seven veils, one can see nothing and has to guess where her husband is!), and one that she particularly enjoyed entitled the Dance of Salome which apparently was what the temptress in the Bible had used to lure King Herod into cutting off John the Baptist’s head. With these dances too came a variety of costumes, from skimpy to heavy one of heavy red veils. There were gauze veils that hid nothing, gold-embroidered trousers, bracelets and anklets. All in all, although difficult, Anna Rosa loved every minute of it.

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Catalina enjoys learning to belly dance.

Not all of her Second Term was as good however. Her new uniform of course, was far more concealing, claustrophobic and limiting than her old one and whilst Womanly Arts continued in the same, enjoyable manner, P.E. got worse than ever before.

On her first Tuesday she headed to the P.E. rooms and was ordered into a silver cylinder as normal. Once inside though, instead of her normal kit, she found a most confusing array of attire. First of all was a classic, one-piece green swimsuit and then over that, a full surfer’s outfit (also in green) then zipped up at the rear. Over that was a light green shalwar kameez made out of the same material as football kits are made out of and over that a latex green burqa with close mesh and hooks around the inside of the neck that were to be fastened onto the surfing bodysuit so that it would not slip off easily. Then, over the feet were green rubber socks and over the hands, green rubber mittens. Finally attired, she was then led with all the other students to the swimming pool that she had been placed in during her punishment and ordered to climb in. “You are to swim a kilometre!” the teacher ordered. And so they did, not the easiest task with several layers, a blinding burqa and masses of heavy, heavy clothing. At the end she was exhausted and ready only for bed. The only advantage to this exercise compared with the others was that at least in the water, her sweat was washed away.

And then of course, there was her time after and between lessons. Eating was of course, far more difficult now, wearing a burqa and extra hand-coverings whilst her bottom was as sore as ever, she still receiving the mandatory five paddles every Sunday, but many more often being added, as dancing, whilst good fun, gave plenty of scope for mistakes. On an average Sabbath, she was paddled eight times and one week she received seventeen thwacks!

And then there were her times with Nazreen, which had changed somewhat, but were still a highlight of her day. Both girls had realised fairly early on that they had virtually nothing in common and had led very different lives. However, both had also soon realised that they needed someone to talk to, to share their experiences with and to open their hearts to. Left on their own, they would probably go mad. So it was that nightly they told each other what they had been doing, (well, except for Anna Rosa’s dancing of course, although she longed to tell her ‘friend’ all about that). They were taking quite different courses now, much of Nazreen’s day spent in Qu’ranic classes as well as advanced Purdah Study and lessons in cookery and sewing. Thus it was that they began to take an interest in one another’s experiences and learn from each other. Nazreen eagerly awaited the latest secrets in make-up application and deportment whilst Anna Rosa enquired about the life of the Prophet Muhammed (pbuh), and how exactly it is that one conjures up a perfect Chicken Jalfrezi. They would doubtless never need those skills, but it passed the time and was a welcome relief from the intense life at the Academy of Modesty and Submissive Behaviour.

And so it was that Anna Rosa passed her second, much quieter than the first, term at the Academy, notable only because at the end, she was once again called into Dorozhkina’s presence and ordered into the chamber of one-way glass. This time however, she was not naked, but instead dressed in a simple white frock, tied at the middle that reminded one of a classical maiden, with a thin veil over her face and with a garland of flowers in her hair. “It is the garb of a Vestal Virgin,” explained the Headmistress, “and wearing it, I want you to maintain the position shown in this sculpture, also a famous one in an English country house.”

She passed the Colombian another picture, this one showing a marble statue of a veiled girl kneeling down holding out a tray with a flame on it. The statue was exquisite, the veil falling over the contours of the face so brilliantly that it looked real and not carved out of a single block of stone. Dutifully, she assumed the position, her legs tucked behind her sore bottom and the door closed behind her. That continued for a week, her legs dead after each session, until, mysteriously and without any explanation, the door opened and the task declared complete. Then she had another fawning love letter to her future spouse to copy out and that was that. Second Term at the Academy of Modesty and Submissive Behaviour was over and she had only to wait for the Third Term to begin.

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The photo of the statue of the Vestal Virgin that Dorozhkina handed Anna Rosa

Onto the Third Term…

 

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