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“I am not creating a scene here Abhay you are creating it and that too intentionally. See – you are still that old, dominated, sexist Abhay. But, worry not, I too have not changed even a bit.”
Her voice is so loud and clear that it is reaching and hitting the crowd that is even standing far away from her. People are all gathered around her to watch her perform. She is performing as a Lead Narrator in a Nukkad Natak. Jantar Mantar, Delhi. A protest is going on and she is there to show her support for the cause with her team. The procession is at its fiery heights. Thousands of people from across cities are present to show their support for the cause. The leaders are on stage and addressing masses with their files and facts.
He has also come to show his support when suddenly a familiar sound hits his ears. He moves towards the volume. He is shocked to see her. He watches, mesmerized. Finding the Nukkad Natak impressive and well narrated, he claps, and walks towards her.
Check it out!
She looks up and gets surprised to see him.
“Oh! Hi ! You here!? What are you doing here?”
“Hey! First of all, I must say and congratulate you for the fabulous job you did today. You were amazing. And your voice is so perfect for the kind of work you are doing. Your emotions, they were just too good. To the point…exact to the mark needed in such kind of acts. Too good. I am impressed.”
“Well, thank you. But that’s not the answer to my question.”
“ Oh! Yes! I am here to give my support to the cause. And suddenly I heard a familiar voice and so I walked towards it. And here I am standing in front of you. Had not imagined that we’ll meet again and that too in such way. Long time. Isn’t? How are you doing?”
“Yes, long time. And I am perfectly fine.”
By now, her team had packed up and left, and she’s left alone with her instruments.
She picks up her backpack, on one shoulder, her guitar on another and her camera on hands.
“Ok, Bye, nice meeting you.”
“Shanti, can I help you or can I drop you somewhere?”
“No, it’s ok. It’s too late and you being from a good, ethical, sophisticated family should not walk on this road late night and that too with a woman. Don’t worry about me. I am ok. I am still that same old Shanti. I have not changed myself even a bit. And you should not talk much to a bad lady like me. Go, man, I can take care of myself of my own. You carry on with yourself.”
“Stop it Shanti! It’s been years. I know you were not that kind of a girl. But at that time situation was all against you, and we were too immature to handle all that. Come on let me help you and I will drop you to your parents’ place. Come give me your bag.”
“No thanks, I told you I am perfectly fine. You carry on with your way. It’s late Mister Abhay. Go to your own place. Your parents must be worried about you. I can take care of myself. Good night.”
“Stop it Shanti. I’m saying I’ll help you and will drop you, then why you behaving so adamantly? It’s going to be almost midnight. Look around yourself – there are people of every kind but mostly unsavoury guys roaming on the roads. You need support. Come I’ll drop you safely at your place. At least I have that much right on you being your ex-fiancé. Come give me your bag.”
“No, you stop it Abhay.” She shouts so loudly that people around turn their heads towards them.
“What are you doing Shanti? People are watching us and they might think wrong about me. Don’t create a scene here. Let’s talk in my car. Right now let’s go from here. Come.”
“I am not creating a scene here Abhay you are creating it and that too intentionally. See – you are still that old, dominated, sexist Abhay. But, worry not, I too have not changed even a bit.
Yes, I am still is a same old angry, self-centred, unmindful, miserable Shanti with whom once you had broken up your engagement. But you know even being the angry Shanti, that Shanti was vulnerable too and because of which you guys found it easy to break her heart. But this Shanti, she is all to herself. This Shanti is independent, strong and bold. She can take care of herself and can protect herself too. She won’t need a man to be near or around her to be her lifeguard. Especially a person who has no thinking of his own. Who does things on the instructions provided by others. Who doesn’t have the ability to take decisions of his own life! Who can break a long love relationship and his engagement only because he finds his fiancee fighting for women’s rights. Your’s name is ‘Abhay’, but you are the most cowardly person I have ever seen. Pathetic!”
All these years she has not hated him nor has she missed him because if she does so she has to remember him. She has moved on.
While moving towards the parking area, she loses herself in those bitter memories of her past.
Shanti, a beautiful, delightful, elegant and a vivacious spirit of 23years.
She is roaming here and there to arrange things for her elder brother’s wedding. Though she is tired as she attended the office today. But as it’s her brother’s Sangeet, and she is so excited that she forgets everything. Yes, everything! even the incident that happened with her some hours back. She gets herself busy in dancing and then applying Mehndi.
Suddenly everything stops. A Police Inspector with two of his colleagues comes and speaks with her father. Shanti isn’t surprised – as if she is expecting this. Her father and that policeman come near to her.
“What are they saying Shanti, you beat up a person today? Why Shanti!? Why did you do so? That person is in severe condition. Do you know who that man was? His family has filed a complained against you. These men have come here to arrest you,” her father says.
“I don’t care a damn about who that man was. I only know that I saw him misbehaving and assaulting one of my colleagues. She and I fought a lot against him. He was drunk and was behind her. Later when I slapped him he started assaulting me too. He tried to rape me then, and in a process to protect my dignity I hit him hard with a tool I found near me. I don’t have any regrets about what I did.”
“Why Shanti why? Why do you always do this kind of notorious things? Why do you always put us to shame? We changed your name to Shanti, thinking that it might bring a change in your thoughts and behaviour. But you remain the same. What was the need to interfere into somebody else’s problem? Always dragging yourself and us into problems. What was the need to become another woman’s saviour? Why can’t you be a lady who can keep her hands into her pockets?” her mother comes near her and put a tight slap on her cheek.
Her father and brother pull her back from her side. They tried to calm her down. She is crying while cursing her. Shanti too is standing quietly. Tears are falling down on her cheeks, but her expressions are not showing signs of any shame. Indeed it looks like she is going through some deep pain. Pain which is killing her from inside. She wants to disgorge everything. Everything she had experienced all these long years of her life. She wants to tell the reason of her anger and hatred. Why has she not behaved according to her name? Why is she not like other ladies? Why does she have a sore soul?
“Mom all these long years, almost a decade I waited for this ‘WHY?’. I waited that might be some day you’ll ask me ‘Tell me Shanti why are you doing so? Tell me Shanti why are you behaving so?
But, no, you never asked such questions, in fact, every time when you got any complaint about my misbehaviour/misdeeds with others, you cursed me. You never tried to understand my situation. You always lectured me about being a well-cultured lady. You always taught me how to be a good lady.
You never asked me about what happened to me when I bleed for the first time? You never asked me what happened to me when we went to one of our relatives place in my teens? What happened on the first day of my college? What happened at college’s Fest? You never asked me why it was always male boys with whom I did my encounters? Yes, mom you never asked me! In fact, when you first got to know about my fight you pressurised me to say sorry. Even Dad and Brother they hadn’t cared about me. And even, you people changed my name from Vanya to Shanti, believing that it might bring change and halt in my anger and hatred. But, You never tried to find out why I’d changed from a Goddess of Peace to Angry Goddess.
All these years I fought alone mom. No one was there to listen to me. No one was there to stand by me. At times when I need my family most, I was alone. And now you asking me this ‘WHY?’ I am sorry but now I don’t have the answer to all your questions.” she said all this and starts walking towards the lady constable.
She rests in jail for two days. After the enquiry from the witness (her colleague, whom she had saved from that bastard beast) and the victim (oh! yes, that man who was pretending as an innocent decent prey), she gets the bail grant.
The case went off in her favour almost after two years. But in these whole two years, she went through a tough time. Though now her family is supporting her, her in laws broke off the engagement. They don’t want a rebellious, provocative, angry goddess to be the bride to their decent, innocent, submissive son.
“Ma’am, parking slip,” someone knocked on her car’s window bringing her back to present.
She pays for the parking and drives out of the place feeling proud, satisfied and calm. She is happy in being what she is.
Published here earlier.
Image source: pixabay
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