I Am Not A Whore, Just A Free Woman!

I am a free woman, but even if that freedom makes you uncomfortable, it does not make me a whore. And if you think I am, that is just your opinion!

Classroom bullying is an everyday affair for any child who doesn’t succumb to a particular norm. The ‘norm’ can be anything – it can be earning good marks or it can also be failing, it can be shaming teachers or other students or it can also be becoming the class prefect. A child who refuses to fall in a specific criteria, by will or by skill, faces bullies trying to shame him/her and make the child feel worthless.

I wasn’t spared either. After my Dad went missing (and later was declared dead), I had to change schools. At age 8, it was a tough call. Not that I had many friends in my earlier school. Not that I had any friends at all. Introversion doesn’t allow that to happen much, unless you find a fellow introvert who celebrates that kind of nature. I wasn’t fortunate enough yet.

The changing of schools was still a mammoth thing for me, because the change was from a small town to a city. I knew, even at that age, that my challenges had increased manifold. And I wasn’t wrong at all. I was a studious child. I kept to myself, studied, read, wrote and repeated the cycle which had become my favorite. I secured flying colors in my examinations and stood first. And that was the moment when my journey towards the abyss started. Months went by, without friends (goes without saying), but I was fine.

One day a slightly plump girl (Let’s call her B) approached me and asked if she could sit beside me. Surprised as I was, I didn’t have a heart or a will to say NO. B was a repeater – someone who had failed two classes. She started asking my help in her lessons and in no time I was her friend. I didn’t know until then who friends were. So she became my best one in no time.

I had also grown up a little. I was about 12 by now and in my preteens. I had a few repeater friends now. A few of them boys. One amongst them got especially close to me – lets call him D. I was still the best student. D and I were also best friends now and we had loads of fun together. Everyone was jealous of me, and I never knew this. My Mom knew though and she tried to warn me of my company. I had bagged awards in elocution, debates, presentations, and I was popular because I had some elder friends too. I was the epitome of a ‘free’ girl. I was allowed to go everywhere by my Mom because she didn’t have the heart to say no to me. I was responsible with my freedom, though, and made sure I never abused it.

Little did I know, it was about to be a start to a decline. Rumors had spread that D and I had slept together. A girl walked up to me one day and whispered in my ears that I had blood on my uniform. I was aghast. Not because I had gotten my first period, but because the next day I heard my people, my own friends whispering that I was pregnant and the bleeding was because of that. I was 13!

Their ignorance hit me hard. I heard people talking things about me. They said I hid birth control pills in my bag. They said I was sleeping around with everyone I could lay my hands on. They said I was sleeping around with my teachers too and that is why I was winning everything all these years. They said I was a ‘Rand‘ (slut). This was when I had no idea what a ‘Rand‘ meant. Imagine my mother’s situation when I asked her what it meant. She is a conservative woman. Or rather was. She would change later for my sake, for a fatherless girl’s sake. My mom held me when I asked her and she cried. And I didn’t know why. I didn’t know why was it happening to me. I didn’t know why was I a ‘Rand‘? I didn’t know why they were all saying all that. I didn’t know why suddenly all this happened! I tried to scratch my brain to understand if I had done any bad to anyone. No.

The ‘why’ haunted me. And then one sudden day, both B and D abandoned me. They said they couldn’t be with me because I was maligning their name. I was a slut. I was a bad girl.

I didn’t know what devastation meant till then. That day I knew what it was. It was one of your worst nightmares coming true in front of your eyes. I had a recurring nightmare since I was a child that I was isolated. And here I really was. It was the far end of a black hole. It was a vacuum, that would never regain its originality. My journey of innocence was over. I was a slut now. A bitch. A ‘repugnant woman’. I got depressed.

The shock wasn’t over yet. Another day, someone told me that it was B who started it all. They all used to draw my pictures on the blackboard, with me in compromising positions with different men and sometimes women too. Who believes this when they are 13? I didn’t. I refused to believe it but I knew it was true. I knew I had failed. I was betrayed and now I was shunned. Misery had ensconced itself inside me. Without a question, you must have guessed by now my grades had severely declined. I was no more popular. I was a Randi. Trash. I wanted to die. But I didn’t have the heart to. So I had a nervous breakdown. On the day of my board exams I had to be admitted and had to be kept on a drip.

When I think about it now, I know how essential that breakdown was. It helped me rebuild myself after months of torture. I grew back. Of course I did. I secured good marks, if not excellent, in spite of my condition. I vouched to never be stupid again. I vouched to never have friends again.

Of course I would break that vow again in the future and fall right on my head. But then when someone close to me would call me a Rand, I would not get depressed. I would slap them hard in the face and kick them right in the groin and show them what a Rand can do. Because I refuse to take it as an insult to me. I refuse to let a word like slut bog me down because I know that the moment I start climbing some ladder in my life, I would be called a whore. Because that is all they’d be able to. But that will not throw me down. Because I refuse to be let down by myself or anyone anymore. I refuse to give that power to anyone. I lost my innocence to this word, I refuse to lose my freedom to it.

If my freedom makes you think I am a Rand, then I refuse to let Rand be a bad woman. A Rand is a good woman who doesn’t give a rat’s ass to what you think.

Rand nahi thi main, bass azaad thi. Aur hamesha rahungi. Rand kaho ya bazaaru!

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