I have not written a word about you, though you have been in my mind, refusing to go away. I have been numbed into silence since the time I heard what happened to you. I don’t know much about you as a person. All I know is you boarded a bus and monsters ganged up to rip you apart. It could have been any of us, anywhere.
It burned me when I heard a woman sitting in the cosy confines of her abode, a woman like you and me, say: “What was she doing boarding a bus at 9-30 p.m. with a male friend?” Apparently, no woman does that from where she comes from. I know it is nothing new, this shifting of blame on to the wrong shoulders. This is what almost EVERYONE thinks though many of them tactfully do not voice it in the present times. “What if it had been you and your husband in that bus?” I wanted to scream at her, but she was too far to hear me. Did the stupid woman think the sindoor and her mangalsutr would protect her and her husband from inhuman monsters if they had been the ones on the fateful bus?
I have been hearing people say that it is good that you died, since your injuries were so very severe and incapacitating that living would have been tough for you. “But she wanted to live!” I said aggrieved, which was summarily brushed aside with a, “It is better to leave when you want to live.” I was so upset I could have burst into tears then and there. You fought so hard to live, I heard and these COWARDS feel it is for the best that you died. It was all I could do to not scream at them to shut up, to not kill a brave heart again, with their thoughtless words.
From the day we are born, we live in fear of just something like this happening to us. Everyone and everything send covert and overt messages to us on how it might happen to us if we do not comport ourselves in such a manner as to avoid such a calamity. But the BRAINLESS IDIOTS have NEVER thought of the easiest solution to it all. So it is that, when a boy puts his hand up a girl’s skirt they immediately rule girls will henceforth have to wear salwar kameez. Hide your things girls and cover up the access points or else boys may stake claim. Nobody has the WISDOM or the GUTS to teach the boys/men to keep their hands to themselves or that the body of a girl belongs to her and her only.
Another fall out of what has happened to you is how some elements of the society have taken this to be a sort of timely warning to the rest of the women on how to conduct themselves in society. A taxi driver supposedly told his fare that ‘this will teach women how to lead their lives from now on.’ I’d bet ANYTHING that there are many more among EVERY strata of society who have the EXACTLY THE SAME THOUGHTS as this taxi driver. They are just not expressing it. Don’t go by the masks.
Then there are those who ask why you alone deserve so much of attention. There have been rapes happening to lesser privileged people in the remotest corners of the country. Nobody raised a hue and cry about them, they snort. The logic beats me, but it seems that, if we have not done anything about gruesome crimes that happened in the past we are not to get all worked up about those that happen in the present. But unlike them, I am so happy that there has been a hue and cry in the present. I am grateful to all those who have braved the Delhi winter and faced the water cannons, the tear gas and lathis. They may be accused of lacking proper agenda or leadership, but they were there to raise the message, ‘enough is enough.’
Each time I think of you, my heart whispers to me, it could have been you, the day I walked home a little late, the day I took an auto by myself, the day I was at home all alone, the day I found myself in a train compartment travelling with just my tiny tots. The thought sends a chill through me. Yes, it could have been me, but it wasn’t. It was you. It will be me or someone else another time. It won’t stop. No it won’t, till our sons are brought up right, till our girls are brought up with self esteem (you need girls with self esteem to grow up into women who do not pander to every whim of father. brothers and sons), NOTHING will change.
They call it the Black Saturday. Its dark shadow makes this year end on a dark note for me.