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Her mother pulled her hand and made her sit on the bed. “How can you behave like nothing happened, dear? Your whole life is ruined now!”
Trigger Warning: Implications of rape and assault and suicidal ideation.
“Come with me, my love.” His charming smile and mesmerizing eyes would lead anyone to walk behind him. She was different. “You need me Sirisha,” he was desperate.
“I said, get out,” she stood stubbornly.
Sirisha, in her late twenties, was busy getting ready to leave for work. She looked like an angel in her white uniform.
He sat at the table with one knee over the other, gazing at her. “Siri darling, remember our first meeting? You couldn’t score enough to fulfil your father’s dream. You were weeping inconsolably. I held your hand with warmness and asked you to come with me. If you had agreed then, you would have been peaceful now.”
“True! I couldn’t become a doctor. Still, I work to my heart’s content, taking care of patients as a nurse. I love my duty.”
“Sirisha!” Her mother stormed inside.
“Are you crazy? Your father is heartbroken and is sitting like a statue. Weeping, my eyes have turned red and heavy. You are leaving for work?”
“What else do you expect me to do, Ma?”
“Will you stop asking questions and better answer me?”
He let out a giggle seeing them fight.
She tried to walk away. Her mother pulled her hand and made her sit on the bed. “How can you behave like nothing happened, dear? Your whole life is ruined now,” her mother continued, sobbing.
He signalled at her. Passing on a stare at him, Sirisha held her mother’s shoulder.
“Ma, last night, three men did some unwanted things to me when I was coming back home. I tried resisting but failed. I can never forget it. Yes, I shouldn’t have missed the last bus and walked down the alley. It has surely ignited an everlasting blaze inside me that can never be extinguished. But that doesn’t mean my life is over, as you claim so.”
Her mother looked deeply at her daughter’s face.
“I have cleaned up myself physically. I don’t want to file a case and keep running behind the law, narrating to every unknown what happened that night. Just because some two-legged animal attacked me, I have not changed in any way. I will take it as a lesson to be more careful in life. More than justice being served, I must tend to souls awaiting me. Ma, please don’t stress on this and ask Papa not to worry. Everything will be fine, I promise.”
She looked calm, but her eyes portrayed the agonizing flames. Her courage and confidence somewhat convinced her mother, and she walked out.
“You are arrogant. If it was any other girl, she would have just followed me, especially after what had happened.”
“Enough. I am never going to see you again, at least for a few more decades. Out now!” She doused him with defeat, as she was the fire herself. He realized it, that a man’s forceful touch cannot defeat a woman’s soul.
In the mirror was his true identity, a cloaked skeleton holding a large scythe with a sinister smile.
Author’s Note: Sexual abuse is always forceful and unpredictable. There is an underlying need to rise again. When women realize their inner strength and stand confident, even death can’t come near them.
Read further on how different survivors of rape and sexual assault react and process their life differently in this review of Agni by Sithara S
Image source: Screengrab from the film Aakash Vani, edited on CanvaPro
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