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I am Janani Balaji. A grade 10 student, 15 years old and passionate about writing stories, art and poetry. I feel strongly about gender equality, body issues and mental wellness.
I’ve gotten accustomed to watching her vicious smile flicker in windows and mirrors as I walk by, yet every time she chuckles, my stomach sinks with dread.
A cold, eerie calm settled on her. She knew what she had to do. She had constructed this world with her own hands, and she’d destroy it with her own hands in turn.
An elegy for choice, an illusion we offer our girls, and as an extension, our women. Because how dare they think for themselves, right?!
Skirts, pinafores, and other such school uniforms for girls are uncomfortable and impractical. Why should our genitals determine what we need to wear?
The landlords did not want a single woman with a child and said they preferred a ‘family’. What were they then, she thought.
It was like a hidden vault had been opened. All those comments that had never hurt her then now came cascading out.
We heard the ambulance come in. I saw you on the stretcher, with blood pouring from your nose and head. I couldn’t even run out with all the lockdown.
And she said, looking at me with eyes reluctant to leave me. “Lie down for a bit, then we’ll watch some movie on Netflix tonight? It will be okay."
Grow up, Rachna! Did you know my father had a paralytic stroke when I was five? Did you think my barely graduate mother with both in-laws and children to care for sat uselessly and lamented? No, she didn’t!
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