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“A is a grown-up girl. Look, what kind of clothes she is wearing. Control her! These things are bound to happen,” scolded my grandmother.
“I am glad that they called for dinner. Hun tu vi mitti paa! (Let bygones be bygones),” said my Mother over the phone call.
My husband took my hands in his and said, “this is the first and last time we will go to their house. Why disrespect the honour given to us?”
“What honour? After listening to everything, you still feel we should go?” I cried.
It was a long time ago but felt as if it happened last morning. I had gone to my aunt’s place for a short stay. It was the first time I had stayed there, and I was all by myself.
My aunt and uncle were the most sought-after couple in the family. We used to go to them for suggestions, intense conversations, and even light banters. I had just completed my class 10th exam and wanted to talk about my further studies with them. Their son was of my age, and I was sure that they would guide me better. I stayed there for a week, and I used to look forward to evening walks where we discussed everything, from studies to fashion to movies and boyfriends.
On one such lazy evening walk, M (my uncle) said, “Did you ever kiss your boyfriend?”
“We just met once,” I looked at my toes and smiled.
“Do you feel like kissing him?” he nudged me with his elbow and kept his arm around my shoulder.
“AAA! I don’t know. I don’t know how to kiss.” I hurried towards the door and went inside the house.
“Let me teach you one,” M shouted behind me.
“Badmash!” chuckled my aunt.
I wanted to avoid the topic, as M was my uncle and what if he shared everything with my father? Dad would kill me.
My aunt was a religious lady, and just like any other morning, she went to the temple the next day. Suddenly, I felt something warm on my breast. Before I could make sense of anything, I felt something wet on my lips. M was squeezing my breast and continued to kiss me. I tried to push him away, but he was on top of me. The bell rang, and he moved aside, covering me with a blanket, and rushed towards the door to open it.
“Is she still sleeping?” asked my aunt.
“I guess so. I was working in my study,” M cleared his throat and answered.
My aunt opened the door to check on me. I hid my face in the comforter and gave a silent cry. “Get up, A!” said my aunt.
I wanted to call my brothers, but he was always around me, policing my every step. Those days mobiles were a new thing in the market. Not everyone had. I didn’t have. But even if I had, nothing would have changed.
Next day when he went to office, I immediately called my cousins. I was scared, but felt sure that my family was with me.
“Why didn’t you call right away? Wanting more?” taunted my brothers’ wives.
“Don’t do anything. We have given our daughter in that family. Who will take care of her?” said my grandma looking at my mom. She skipped me and looked at everyone else.
“Yeah! We also don’t know who provoked whom? ” my brother shrugged his shoulders and said.
Amidst all the family members, I was standing as a culprit, not even as a victim. My mother’s silence made me clench my fist. I didn’t want to cry and plead with her to stand by me. I wiped my tears and listened to everything that they had to say. I heard every word, and stared at my mother who stood like a mannequin.
I went back to my room and slammed the door on them, and my mother shoved the topic under the carpet.
“Why!! Why did my mom fail to understand her flesh and blood?”
“When I showed the courage and spoke up about everything, then why she couldn’t take charge of the situation?”
“Why has she never discussed this again?”
“How could she think that I would be able to forget and move on?”
My father was a heart patient, and his condition saved him from everything.
But what about me?
After years, in the middle of the night, I felt something warm under my t-shirt. This time it was my husband. M robbed from me the essence of a first touch long back, and my husband along with my family didn’t try to heal the wound.
A version of this was first published here.
Image source: shutterstock
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