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As an Indian woman, I am not safe in my own country. We are living life in a nightmare, when the powers that be have no clue what we really need.
The best things about nightmares is that they are just nightmares. You wake up – and everything is fine. Today however, I woke up sans the relief of this being a nightmare after all – it was a condensed version of the life I was living.
My problem was simple – I was being stalked. There was no real evidence that he was bothering me. He was everywhere and he wanted to talk; sometimes touch. All this while, I was never on the dreaded lonely road. I was always surrounded by people. They would react – oh yes, they would. They would ask me why I was I wasn’t wearing a dupatta over that kurti, or that these things were common these days because ‘kids like me’ were not like ‘them’.
I wanted to file a complaint, but I realised that I ran the risk of the following:
Helplessness was quite the hero in my dream.
I woke up realising how much I had moulded my life so as not to ‘encourage’ behaviour like this.
I wear clothes that hang loose from my shoulders, I am never out at night, I don’t travel alone if I can help it, I don’t drink, I don’t wear clothes that are revealing. My biggest fear while talking to men – sounding flirtatious. Because being called uptight or reserved is better than being called a flirt. A flirt to them translates to being called a prostitute. Did you know that they think that you do not need consent with a prostitute?
I have been very careful and yet been molested multiple times – I was not asking for it. For instance, when a doctor who happens to be a girl is rushing in the casualty from patient to patient because delay could mean death – she is NOT asking for it. You think that a mob that watched the very doctor who made them feel better being assaulted to bits, would react when I ‘claim’ that somebody groped me? Yeah right.
Remember the #MeToo posts that flooded the internet? That took immense courage. Because being molested in India automatically makes you damaged goods. (If a boy is molested, that makes him gay and unmanly.) Nobody will ever want to marry or be associated with damaged goods, they say. Although I am yet to meet one person who hasn’t made it through life without what they call baggage. Some weird thought process makes you the cause for disgrace in the family – even if the molester is a family member. After all, we hide the faces of rapists, and talk about the time the victim was out wearing those revealing clothes.
What was I even expecting, you ask? My government wants to adorn me with bindis and kumkums which for them is essential (for their pleasure), while a sanitary napkin is a luxury. My teacher taught me that a luxury meant an inessential, desirable item, which is expensive or difficult to obtain. No, using a piece of cloth isn’t a good option – it is unhygienic and it doesn’t absorb the menstrual blood well enough. We cannot function at our best when we need to go to the rest room every hour. You may not want to understand this, because you – the ones who wanted taxes imposed on them; are a group of men who might have never gone to school. If you have, you are a good example of how education is not equivalent to knowledge and compassion.
While you still scream Bharat mata ki jai on the mike sets, or debate about national anthems in movie theaters; do not open your mouth and ever call me India’s daughter. You do not know the meaning of the word – you are not a good parent.
Published here earlier.