I am a woman. I am numb. I am one of the silent spectators of modern India. I have not put up a single repost or a self post on any of the social media. Am I feeling guilty ? Yes. I think to myself. Should I not show solidarity and post and re-post and change my profile to a black dot ? Should I also not take out time, join the so many at India Gate and support ?
No. I have not done it so far. I don’t run marathons. I do not candle march. I do not post and re-post.
While I go about with my life as usual, I grieve. I ponder. I think. I go silent inside. I have anger. I have frustration for not being able to do anything. I don’t make a public display of that. I keep thinking to myself, about how layered these issues are. I remember, while growing up, my late father, a senior government banking official then had a remote location posting. So that our studies don’t get disrupted, we sisters and our mom had to stay in Allahabad ( my grand-mom’s hometown) for a year and a half.
We went to the best school in town and used to cycle to school. We were adolescent then and our mother was completely paranoid about us. There was a certain bunch of boys/men probably in their early 20’s then, who used to follow us. We ignored and went about going to school. At times they used to dash their cycles with ours as a result we fell on the concrete road and bruised ourself. My kid sister sometimes cried or sometimes just pretended to be brave and help me back. This continued and slowly increased to them stalking us right till home and standing outside our home. Luckily the house was big and the distance from the road to the house was a bit. Soon they started leaving threat letters in the post box that they wanted to speak to us and wanted to come home. Now my mother was one hell of a strong woman. She openly challenged anyone to attempt doing any such and that she would make sure that she will kill them !
Soon the trauma increased and at night they started hurtling stones and empty bottles at our varandah and the exteriors of the wall.
I still remember how traumatized we used to be during those winter nights. We got threat letters saying that acid bulbs will be thrown on our faces if we do not relent. My mother then spoke to a few “bhaiya’s of the colony who thankfully accompanied us till school and back for a few months till school finished and we immediately re-located back to Mumbai, as my dad took a special transfer back due to this.
I think my sister and myself were lucky. Very very lucky. I got to know from another friend many years later that one of our group friends, Shalini was raped and murdered along with her bhabi a small nephew.
What has happened in Delhi is horrific. What goes unreported must be equally horrific or more. I have no suggestions and I am at a loss of words. Living in a country where the the people who govern us don’t care and express their inability to enforce laws that address this and many many such issues don’t seem priority, now or in the future. With MP’s who have criminal records and no educational criteria for politicians I am just another cog in the wheel, who does not matter.
I do my bit by making sure that the girls in my office are always accompanied, do not stay late .. but this is not the solution ! We seem to be heading towards dark ages when it comes to mindsets.
Sometimes I feel education needs to be imparted at every level. We all need to take a collective responsibility to educate those around us. About dowry, equality to all, respect, hygiene, humanity, everything that we believe in. It will take us our lifetime. This will not change in weeks or months, it will take lifetimes, but hopefully we will leave a better tomorrow for our future.
My prayers are with the girl and so many like her !