You Are NOT A Lesser Woman

There is something wrong“, I told my Mom as tears rolled down on my cheeks at a faster rate.

No, there is definitely something wrong. I can feel it. I know it but I am unable to explain to you“, I couldn’t express better to my Mom.

It was my first pregnancy. The excitement and happiness were at the extreme in the family. Man of the House suddenly turned into an overexcited boy. I could feel the change in me too. I wanted to shout out to the World that I was going to be a Mom and I did exactly the same. I couldn’t resist the happiness and joy that I told everyone whom I knew that I was going to have a baby. That was 3 weeks before crying to Mom on the night before my first scan appointment.

I went for the scan next day morning and the lady asked me whether I have any bleeding. And I knew what was coming on my way. I said no and looked at the scan monitor and then looked at her and her expression said it all. She couldn’t detect the heartbeat of the fetus and it was a missed abortion.

“This is common and there isn’t anything to worry. You can try having a baby after 6 months.” Although she said this to make me feel better, I sank.

My best friend, Supriya, had accompanied me and I explained to her in the best possible way I could because I was losing my mind. I didn’t know how to call up my Husband and break this news but I had to. He was away and that made the pain unbearable. I traveled to Calicut, he rushed and came down too.

The D&E abortion was done. He flew back and stayed back home until I am recovered. The first week after the abortion was tough. I had severe insomnia and hallucinations. I wanted to smile, laugh, run, read, write, talk but I couldn’t do anything. For a couple of days, I was ashamed of myself. But, I had the luxury to be away from people especially from relatives. I started reading online about miscarriages and found another million women undergoing the same and giving hopes and support to the suffering ones. I was relieved and I accepted the fact that this is common which helped me recover faster both physically, mentally, and emotionally.

Months passed by and I was pregnant for the second time. This time there was more tension than any happiness. I couldn’t sleep the night before my first scan. I cried when the scan monitor showed a heartbeat. We told no one except our parents. I wasn’t happy because I knew that something was wrong. I would call up Supriya and tell her about my worries. We discussed scan reports in detail and read online to see how things are. My peace of mind had gone. Vomiting made it worse. I was glued to my phone searching on minor physical changes in me.

My nightmares came into reality during the third scan.  I had taken a break from work and had gone alone for the scan. The lady was tensed and told me to call up family or friends to come and be with me. This made me go crazy. I called up my Brother who could reach faster than my Husband. Before he could reach, I already knew the news. The fetus has Sirenomelia which is a rare disorder. I saw the image and she showed me how the fetus doesn’t have a nose, spinal cord, and legs.

I wanted to jump out of the window from the 4th floor of the building and die peacefully. I collapsed on my Brother when he reached. By the time, my Husband had reached I had become numb from crying. I still remember sitting in a corner chair while those two had gone to talk to the Doctor. I had given up and I had no hopes. Parents flew down the next day morning and I couldn’t see my Mom crying. I could understand from her face that she had cried throughout the night. I had six scans before the decision to terminate the pregnancy was made.

My Husband said sorry a million times while sitting next to me at the abortion table. I had to push out the fetus. We had already decided that we aren’t taking a look at the fetus. I wasn’t sad and I was rather relieved that I wasn’t bringing a life which will be tough for the child. The medicines and injections were a boon and slept peacefully that night after a long time. I came home without any remorse and my family was surprised. But, on the 3rd day, I broke down and went uncontrollable. I went hysterical when my best friend called me but I appreciate him listening to me patiently. I didn’t want to meet anyone, so I left the job. It was hard once my family went back to their jobs. I was alone during the day and it only made me feel worse. Now, this is when your friends come to rescue. Supriya took off from work, came down to my place, and stayed with me for a week. That was the therapy I badly wanted. We went out, shopped, watched the sunrise, binge-watched, and I was back in action. I found a new job and life was once again filled with love and laughter.

Supriya – I am indebted to you for what you had done for me.

Then the third pregnancy happened at the wrong time. I was suffering from chicken pox and the Doctors told me to terminate the pregnancy citing all the complications it could bring to the child.

I demanded a counseling session because I was sure that a nervous breakdown was on its way. My Husband sat next to me holding my hands during the sessions while I cried my heart out.

We didn’t have the strength to go over an abortion one more time and my Husband stood with me like a rock saying that we will make this happen. I went back to my Parents.

But, the Doctors were right. I had complications popping up every week. I puked day in and day out. I barely ate. Lost weight. Every hospital visit was painful and it only worsened my insomnia. The complications were never-ending and I was hopeful and exhausted at the same time.

After 10 hours of labor pain, the Doctor found the final and last complication – the cord prolapse and I ended up having a C Section.

And, Ami was born.

That’s when we as a family finally took a relieving breath.

If I start a list of people to whom I should thank, then it’s going to be a long one. But, I survived only because of my family, especially my Mom and my Husband.

To my friend who recently had a miscarriageYou will pass this soon. I wrote this post for you. Please do tell your Mother-in-law and relatives that miscarriages do not make you a lesser woman; You aren’t a lesser woman.

To the HusbandsThe more love and care you give her, the faster she would recover.

To the rest of the WorldPlease keep your opinions, suggestions, and pieces of advice with yourself and kindly keep your mouth shut. Thank You!

My Breakup Story

I was calm like the night sea.My family was surprised how I broke up with him.Even I was surprised how it happened.It became a talk in the family WhatsApp group.Man of the House asked me during a private conversation that how I’m dealing with it.My brother made so many WhatsApp calls to me and my parents because he couldn’t digest the situation.

Guests were in disbelief upon hearing it.Parents,especially my Mom,asked me directly and indirectly so many questions.My closed ones weren’t taking it well upon the heartbreak I had.All of them had the same question,”Are you fine”?They were worried that I might breakdown because it was such a deep relationship.Man of the House was secretly happy that finally he doesn’t have any competition to win my heart.

In a world where breakups have made beautiful stories,let me take you to my love story unknown to the world.

I don’t know how I met him.He just appeared in my life from nowhere and became my soulmate.My Parents had issues with him.They tried their best to separate me from him.My brother was the only one kind to him. There were so many talks and arguments regarding him that had happened at the dinner table. Parents gave me all possible examples of how he could spoil my life.But,I was adamant that I will not break up with him at any cost.My family gave up on me and told me that whatever happens because of this relationship,good or bad,I will have to deal with it.

He saved me from household chores and cooking,he sat with me through each book I read and every movie I watched,he rescued me from attending my Aunt’s cousin’s wife’s nephew’s wedding,he showed me the beauty of sleeping till 11 AM,he ate with me so that I’m not alone during my brunches,and he advised me that 8.30 AM classes were not worth it.

Before Man of the House got promoted from Pretty Boy of my Dreams, he was my constant companion.So when Man of the House went down on his knees,I couldn’t help not to tell him about my secret soul mate.

He was kind and supportive when I was dating.He helped me to manage my weekends and dinner dates.He gave me subtle hints that late night movies are not a great idea but he never opposed. After few,years he and Man of the House became good friends and we had an awesome time together.Occasionally,my Brother would join us too and we four became a great company.

Even then, my parents weren’t happy with my association with him.Mom was worried that after wedding,he could be an issue.But,Man of the House surprised me by saying that he doesn’t have any issue with my close association and I said the most awaited word,’yes’.

Years passed by, and life was great.He continued to be my companion,our companion.

But,hell broke out when I became pregnant.My family felt that he being in my life is not a good idea and, most importantly,not good for the baby.When I looked at my Man,his face reflected the same opinion.But,I didn’t heed to any of these.He has been with me for two decades and breaking up with him didn’t go well with me.

And,I delivered the most beautiful baby girl.A week later,when I got back home from the hospital,I was enjoying his company late night.Suddenly he kissed me.I was surprised.

He said,”Listen,we have been great together.In fact,we were the best comrades.But,I think it’s time to part.Yes,we had lots of fun together,but now you are a Mom.Your association with me will affect your baby.Also,your Husband has become the best Father and me being with you might stop you from being the best Mother.I will be happy and proud once you become the best Mom in the world and I’m sure you will .Let’s part our ways.Trust me! It’s for your good.We will meet after 35-40 years when you are old, alone, and bored in life.I promise that I will come back to you.Now, let me leave.”

He kissed me again.

I couldn’t react.I was in shock.I didn’t cry.

Next day,I was up so early and I was feeding the baby.I had already showered.I had changed my baby’s diaper.My Mom came to the room and found that something is wrong.She asked me where he was.I told her what had happened.She was so happy that she hugged me.My Man was in so much disbelief but I could feel the relief in his voice.My Brother was the one who found it most difficult to accept my breakup because he knew how much I had valued the relationship.

I thought I would feel bad.I thought I would struggle to move on.I thought I would miss him.But, nothing happened.My life had become busier than before after being a Mother.I didn’t have time to think about him.At times,my family makes fun of me abouthim and I laugh at those jokes.

As I put my baby to sleep at 5 AM and sit down to write this post,I realize the change brought in me by the breakup.Yes, certain breakups are necessary in life.

My beloved Laziness,I look forward to be with you in my old age when I’m alone. Please come back to me.

I love you.

Hopes Amidst the Ocean of Misogyny

It has been exactly 54 days since one of the Malayalam actresses was kidnapped and harassed by her driver and the gang. It did create an uproar both in social media and in daily lives. The culprit was arrested and the Police were in search of his mobile phone for video clip and call details.The police have been searching in the dark for quite a few weeks for the mobile phone and now, the case has reached nowhere. I am hoping that the culprits are punished and this case will not end up like the Soumya murder case and the Jisha murder case.

During the week when the incident had happened, there were a lot of discussions and debate happening online and offline. I remember during the Nirbhaya gang rape, victim shaming soared high and it was heartbreaking to see people known to me made jokes out of the incident, made misogynistic comments without any shame and blamed the girl for her misery.

But, things were different this time.

Yes, of course, there were people who wrote articles and opinions for their sadistic pleasure, but they were a minority this time. Ordinary people reacted in amazing ways that, finally, people understood what misogyny is. Earlier, the most difficult task for me was to make people understand what misogyny is.They never understood it.They blamed me that it was my problem because I see things through a feminist’s eyes.

I am not being blind-eyed to various other heinous incidents happening around us, especially the child molestation cases which are roaring high in Kerala.But, there is hope in front of me because

  1. The actress showed the courage to file a complaint.
  2. People were ready to accept that there have been misogyny in our daily conversations, the jokes we share, the movies we make and the way we were brought up.
  3. People are lashing out when they witness sexism around them.
  4. More cases are being filed recently and people are raising their voices against abuse.

Let’s talk further about sexism. Is raising our voice the solution? Will it beat sexism?Will it curb abuse? Will it help us in creating a generation which has a positive outlook on gender equality?

It starts young. It starts at home and school. It starts from that

  1. Pre-school teacher who shouts,”Why can’t you give the toy to him?You are a girl.Don’t be so adamant”.(It gives a feeling to the girl that she doesn’t have the right to fight/argue.)

  2. Custom of making a boy as captain/class leader and a girl as vice captain/assistant class leader irrespective of the leadership skills.(It gives a feeling to the boy that because of his gender, he can always enjoy certain positions even if he doesn’t possess the required skills.)

  3. Grandparents/parents who tell that it’s good if the boy learns the driving and the girl learns cooking.(It gives a feeling to the kids that there are certain skills associated with the gender.)

  4. Parents who tell their daughter that there is nothing wrong in giving up a fight/quarrel/game with her brother.(It gives a feeling to the boy that he is superior to girls and expects them to accept the defeat every time.)

  5. Society which teaches that moral shaming is the easiest way to silence a girl.

  6. Parents who lament that they don’t have a son to protect their daughters.(It gives a feeling to the boy that he is a protector or somebody who has more decisive power in the family.)

  7. Teachers/parents who silence the girls when an abuse happens at school.(It gives a feeling to the boys that they can always escape after doing a mistake because girls will not complain.It is a big encouragement for the boys to repeat the abuse.)

  8. Schools which run counseling sessions for girls and not for boys.(It gives a feeling to the girls that the harm is always on the girls irrespective of who did the mistake.It gives a feeling to the boys that they can do anything and it is the responsibility of the girls to take care of themselves.)

  9. Society which conveniently defends saying boys will be boys. (It gives a feeling to the boys that their gender gives them certain privileges to do certain mistakes.)

  10. Society which preaches that boys are the strongest of the genders.(Boys grow up with more confidence than the girls.)

This is not an exhaustive list and if we look deep, we will be able to find strong misogyny in the silliest matters we have been doing and talking in our lives.Now that people have been welcoming gender equality,let’s continue spreading the message of equality,let’s continue raising our voice against sexism and let’s continue the mission of creating a better society to live in.

We, the current generation parents, can bring a massive change in our society if we raise our kids right.I am hopeful about a brighter, happier and healthier generation which will appreciate and practice gender equality.I hope to see a day when feminism is not a bad word anymore.

 

Related Reads :

https://heyithinkthisway.wordpress.com/2013/01/08/what-i-feel-now-is/

https://heyithinkthisway.wordpress.com/2014/06/20/10-valuable-lessons-malayalam-cinema-teaches-men-and-women/

https://heyithinkthisway.wordpress.com/2013/10/18/worries-of-an-indian-girl/

 

10 Valuable Lessons Malayalam Cinema teaches Men and Women

Disclaimer  : The post deals with Malayalam cinema because I don’t have enough knowledge to extend the details of this post to the movies of other languages. But, considering that we live in India, I am sure that most of what told in the post could be generalized.

Lessons for Women

1) Women should not shout

It is a common and indispensable dialog in a Malayalam movie. If ever a woman shouts, then the next dialog will be a man shouting back at her reminding her that a woman should not shout. I think this dialog comes automatically from a scriptwriter’s pen. Also, a woman’s voice touching the roof of the house or coming out through the bedroom wall will collapse the house.

2) Girls should be courteous, coy, pleasant, well dressed, well-mannered, and presentable and she should know cooking

Most of the movies will have a five to ten minutes session for advising a girl to be a “girl”. This is the part where the hero gets to talk on and on about his knowledge about perfect women. The situation in the movie will be as follows. The girl will be smart, talkative and independent. She likes to wear western attires and the clothes suit her well too. There will be a positive vibes of happiness around her. She drives a car. She eats food cooked by her Mother or maid. What on Earth is wrong in that? But, then there comes the hero. He tells her that girls should be coy and demure. Girls should not talk much. Girls should wear a saree. Girls should know cooking. A girl allowing the man to drive is feminine. He would shame her either in front of her family or in front of her friends. But neither her family nor her friends would stop the hero from puking the advices. Instead, they would stand like statues. Then with a heavy heroic background score the hero will leave the scene. And the transformation happens. There she is, our heroine, standing in a saree with her neck drooped   and cheeks blushed. She fell in love with the hero.

What the !!!

3) Life is lost, nothing is lost, but chastity is lost, then everything is lost

When I hear some dialogues, I feel that the world is balanced on a girl’s chastity. A man going to jail by killing someone is still a matter of pride but a woman losing her chastity is the biggest sin. In Malayalam cinema, there are only two solutions for this problem. One; the girl’s family, at times the neighbourhood will also join the family, begs the molester/rapist to marry her to wash off the bad name on the family. The girl’s father would fall on the molester’s feet, the girl’s mother would beg and finally the wedding happens and they live happily ever after. A song will be shown to portray the transformation of the molester and then the girl’s gets pregnant and delivers a baby boy and all is well. Two; the girl kills herself and all the shame and crack in the family honour are restored in minutes.

4) No matter what goes wrong, it is always a girl’s mistake

This dialog is reserved for the girl’s Mother. And yes, Mothers are always right. If a man stalks her, it is her mistake. If a man gropes her, it is her mistake. If a man rapes her, it is her mistake. If a man gives her a love letter ,it is again a girl’s mistake. If the family business dooms, then it a girl’s (daughter – in – law) mistake. No matter what shit happens, end of the day, it is always a girl’s mistake. Why did you allow him to stalk you? Why did you allow him to touch you? Why did you walk through that route so that he felt like raping you? You must have definitely done something to attract/provoke him.

Holy shit!

5) The best way to shame a girl is by talking nonsense about her morale and conduct

Any woman could be silenced by talking nonsense about her morale and conduct. The misconduct could include travelling alone, talking with boys, going out with men, drinking/smoking habits, going to clubs, going for western form of dances(traditional dance forms make a girl divine),failed relationships or marriage, not obeying her husband or parents, and wearing clothes which are not in the list of clothes allowed for a Malayali girl. Between every two lines, the hero or any other male character would boast a lot about the culture of Kerala and if the scriptwriter include point no.2 also, then this scene will be received by thunderous applause.

6) Nirvana of a woman’s life

This scene comes when a girl refuses to get married. Either her Mother or Aunt gets this piece of dialog. The scenes teach us the importance of getting married and staying married. The dialogues are gems of life changing information that they explains how important it is to have a man in a woman’s life, and how important it is for a woman to be accepted by the in-laws. And a woman’s life is completed only when she suffers the pain of delivering a baby, preferably a baby boy so that she has somebody to take care of her once the Husband dies.

7) Education is shit!

Girl: “Enikku padikkanam” (I want to study)

Girl’s parents: Pinne,padichittu collector aakan povalle. (Oh, as if you study and become a Collector)

These two dialogues are one of the most clichéd dialogues. Any time, if the girl refuses to get married and tells the parents that she wants to study, then the parents will shun by teasing her.

Some other dialogues related to education of a girl are

  • Pennkuttikal padichittendha oru kaaryam,veruthe kaashu kalayan.Aa kaashu kondu avale kettikkan nokku                         (What’s the point in a girl studying? Waste of money. Instead spend that cash and get her married off)
  • Pennkuttikal itrayokke padichaal mathi                                                                                                                                                                       (This much education is enough for girls)
  • Veettukaaryam nokkan valiya padipponnum venda                                                                                                                                              (You don’t need education to take care of a house)
  • Veruthe padippichittu pennine vazhi thettikkano?                                                                                                                                                  (Why do you want to educate her and spoil her conduct?)
  • Valiya degree undayittonnum oru kaaryamilla,vallathum vechu undakkan ariyanam                                                                                     (Having a degree is not a big deal. You should know how to cook well)

8) A girl is the light of the house

This is the safest way to make a girl obey the rules of patriarchy without making her feel that her life is restricted within an invisible boundary. The society and the movies glorify this fact so much that this is imprinted in people’s mind. They proclaim that girl is everything for a family and then impose rules on her to fulfil the mandatory conditions to be the light, mop and mixie of the family.

9)A girl falling in love

Though recently there has been a change in real life in the way the family reacts when they find out that the girl is in love, the cinema industry is still stuck with the chaos mode. The Father will blame the Mother for not making the daughter understand the value of culture and the family pride. The Mother in turn curses the daughter and blackmails her by holding kerosene can ready to pour on her. If she falls in love with somebody of a same caste, then the chaos level is normal. If she falls in love with somebody out of her caste, then the chaos level is at its maximum with a ten fifteen minutes scene of explaining her the family’s tradition, pride and name or about the hardships which the parents had to undergo to bring the kids up. If the girl falls in love with somebody of other religion, then the chaos cannot be measured. The Father would declare either to kill the daughter or go to jail (yes, killing daughter and going to jail is an awesome act) or to suicide together as a family.

10) A family which has to survive on a woman’s earnings is shame for the predecessors

This dialog is slightly out of fashion now but the grandparents who are heading the family cannot sleep without delivering this dialog whenever the women in the family wants to go out for work.

Lessons for Men

1)Slapping a woman is a man’s birthright

In Malayalam movies, slapping a woman is considered as the most matured act of a man. Husband slaps wife, brother slaps sister/s, and strange man slaps strange woman. In short, slapping is considered as the best medicine a man can give a woman to shut herself. An argument goes on and instead of the third dialog, the man slaps woman and there will be roars in the theatre. Women in the theatre shamelessly nod for this telling it was the heroine’s fault and getting one or two slaps will only make her a better woman.”Onnu koodi pottikeda avale”(slap her once more) is a common dialog which male audience shouts  and most of the times, the man on-screen slaps her once more as if he has heard the audience. See, the scriptwriter knows the audience well.

2) Love a girl? Stalk her,dude!

I don’t have any hopes about this trend dying soon. Some writers are even more brilliant. At times, raping her makes her fall in love. The hero whistles, tries to hold her hands or hair, follows her everywhere, intrudes her privacy and then voilà, she falls in love. The much appreciated Annayum Rasoolum was an epitome of stalking .A stranger following you daily at night till your doorstep is creepy and not romance.

3) One of the duties of a man is to protect family’s honour

The man will never allow anybody to spoil the honour of the family. So the best way to restore the family pride is either by kicking the girl out of the house or by killing her. If the family is powerful, then they can kill the man with whom she is in love and then force her to marry somebody else.

4) He is the decision-man

He decides and he orders. He decides what the Mother should do, what the wife should wear, what the son should study, whom the daughter should marry etc. The family which runs on a man’s command is a good family and a family which runs on a woman’s command is a bad family. It is an itching for the screenwriter if he doesn’t portray the family ran by a woman as a bad one and then an angelical man would enter into their lives and advises the woman head of the family to step down. He takes up the place as head of the family and all is well. The End!

5) Rules for men

A man should know how tame a woman and make her obey him.”Pennine varacha varayil nirthuka”(making the woman obey the man without protest) is a classic art and a man who learns it is THE MAN. Obeying wife or Mother(or any other woman) is considered as degrading the manliness. Other men would advise like “poyi chathoodada”(Cant you go and die?) if they come to know that their friend listens to his wife/Mother.

6) The sign of machismo

Womanizing by getting bored of sleeping with his wife is a sign of machismo but if a woman strays then she is a whore. The hero would list out why he is bored with his wife and then nobody asks a question. Should I explain what happens if a woman sleeps with somebody else?

7) Mistakes made by men are never mistakes

Men make mistakes but every mistake made by them is pardonable even if they kill somebody because they will always have a valid reason. The scriptwriter will make sure that the man(especially the hero) has enough reasons to support him for his actions; even if he rapes a woman. In that case, the man will sob saying I lost my control, it was a mistake—Do you think I will ever do such an act when I am sober?

Bloody hell!

8) Want to take revenge?

A man has the power to spoil a girl and the girl’s family. So if you want to make another man obey you, the best way is to threaten them to rape the women in the family. Why using your brain when all you need is to open the zip? Seriously, when we watch certain movies, the plot tells it without any shame. This is considered as the easiest way to threaten or take revenge.

9) The freedom to fall in love

A man has complete freedom to fall in love with whomever he wants. Why is it so? A man has the freedom to tell about his openly but a woman telling her love is a risk. Not just in movies, even in real life, people around her would tell her not tell anybody because it will reduce her chances for “good” proposals.

I doubt whether there is any movie which tells the man not to fall in love. Why is it so?

10) Man is always right…

…even if the woman counterpart is more intelligent, more educated, smarter and more talented than him. Period.

Love,Lust and Bubble

“Diya! You there?”,Vidya banged on the door.

“Let’s go?”, Anu pinned up her dupatta and asked Vidya.

“Diya is still not up”

“She must be tired from the trip. Let her come for the second hour. It is Malathi’s class. She will not let us in if we are a minute late. Come… Come…” Anu dragged Vidya.

Vidya again banged on Diya’s door during lunch break. Vidya stood in front of the door and tried calling Diya’s phone.

“Vidya, what happened to Diya? Is she too tired from the trip that she can’t even come for the class?”, Shalini laughed loud.

“Listen, I know it was you who spread the news about her trip.”

“Of course, it was me. Tell me one reason for not doing it.”

“Past is past.”

“Then what I had told about her is past too.”

“Diya, just open the door!”, Vidya yelled at the closed-door and banged on it.

Students flocked and they asked Vidya so many questions. Vidya gave up and told everyone that Diya is sick.

During the class, Vidya told her concerns to Anu. Diya’s phone is switched off; her parents have already called Vidya thrice; nobody has seen her after trip.

“Don’t worry; this is not her first time. Or on a happy note, may be they must have made out too many times that she is tired.”

“But still, can’t she at least open the door?”

“We will do one thing. Let’s bunk the next class and then go to her room.”

“OK. Let’s do that.”

When they reached Diya’s room, it was latched from outside.

“She must have gone to the toilet.”

“Let’s sit inside the room.”

They waited for an hour chatting each other.

“Diya’s guts! appreciated.”

“I don’t feel that she has done anything great.”

“But, again how did she make it? Aren’t her parents very pestering and strict?”

“Sigh! She told her parents that she is going to Kodaikkanal for the class trip and then went to Ooty with Deepak.”

“Whoa! She has brains to handle her parents. But still, I would have shivered to death for going on such a date. That’s why Ramesh and I date only inside the campus and I chose him over Naresh because Ramesh and I are from the same caste. I can’t handle complications. It is very difficult to sleep with one guy and then marry another one. I kinda feel disgusting.”

And Diya came holding her bucket in one hand and toiletries in another hand. She looked terribly tired. Eyes looked droopy and face looked pale.

Vidya and Anu sat straight eagerly waiting to hear the stories.”Diyaaaa”, they called teasingly.

She didn’t look at them but stood next to door opening it wide. Vidya looked at Anu and then looked at Diya.She was still standing there holding the opened door.

Shalini was sitting in the mess and Vidya purposely avoided looking at her.

“How is Diya? Her phone is switched off.” A text message flashed in Vidya’s mobile phone. It was from Deepak. She immediately called him but he didn’t pick up the call.”*******”, Vidya told herself.

Then Anu came running to mess and dragged Vidya out.

“Looks like there is some problem.”

“What?”

“Ramesh told me that there is a rumor that Deepak was just idling time with Diya.He is not serious.”

“Oh that, even I knew. I don’t think even Diya is serious about the relationship.”

“Then who cares. Let them **** how much ever they want. I was worried that Diya was cheated.”

“No, Anu. She isn’t that kind of person. She knows well that any guy would fall for her charm. So if not Deepak, then somebody else.”

“I seriously want to know the art of being a *****.Guys come and go just like this in her life. Phew!”

“LOL!!”

Four days passed and nobody saw Diya in the class. For two days Vidya and Anu checked on her before going to class but then they got busier for the cycle tests.

During the first test,Diya came to class.She looked terrible.She had dark circles.Her hair was messy.Her lips were dry.The entire exam hall looked at her but she walked slowly to her seat.After ten minutes,Diya walked out of the exam hall.Anu leaned and looked at Vidya and she looked equally clueless.

Vidya and Anu ran behind Deepak after the test.

“Hey,listen,is there any problem between you both?”,Anu asked in stern voice.

“No.What problems?”,Deepak asked innocently.

Deepak joined his friends, laughed over some boys joke and cycled away.

Vidya slightly pushed the door and it opened. Diya was lying down on her bed. Anu also got inside the room and closed it from inside.

“Diya, wake up.”

Diya got up and hugged Vidya tightly. She screamed blue murder.

“What happened?”Anu whispered.

Diya cried. She cried uncontrollably. In two minutes, there was a pool of tears on her.

“Did you see Deepak?”

“Yes, we met him after the test. He looked normal. What happened to you?”

“He has a girlfriend in Delhi.A relationship approved by their parents.”

“WHAT?!!??”,both Anu and Vidya exclaimed.

“Yes,she had called me few days back.She shouted at top of her voice.I didn’t know what to reply.”

“What did Deepak say?”

“He told me that going to Ooty was my idea.Now the blame is on me.”

“Huh!”

“Actually,why did you go with him?Anyway you were not serious and he was also not serious.”

“Who the hell told you that I was not serious?”

“So you were serious? Oh my God!”

“Of course I was serious. Otherwise why would I weave such a big story and tell my parents?”

“So, what is next?”

“I don’t know.”

“Coming for lunch?”

“No!”

Anu and Vidya walked over to the mess and Anu said, ”What goes around comes around. This is the punishment for snatching Shalini’s boyfriend last year.”

“Don’t talk nonsense.”, Vidya joked,” punishment it seems.”

Days passed and the cycle tests were over. The weekend came. Diya and Anu had gone home. Vidya was bored watching movies and sleeping over books. She went to the mess for evening tea. The mess was deserted, so she stretched her legs and kept it on the chair on the other side of the table. She enjoyed the hot elachi tea and went for one more cup.

“Is Diya going out with Ashish?”

Vidya looked back to see who it is. She smiled at Shalini.

“No. I mean I don’t know; I don’t think so.”

“Hmm”

“By the way,which Ashish?”

“Ashish — Deepak’s roommate; Rakhi’s boyfriend.”

“Oh!”

“I saw Ashish and Diya in the railway station on Friday night when I went to see off my friends.”

“Oops”

“What is she up to?”

“They must be the new friends.”

“Rakhi told me that Ashish broke up with her on Thrusday night.”

The elachi tea tumbler fell down from Vidya’s hand.

Sunday night,Anu texted Vidya — “TTE caught Diya and Ashish from train’s loo. It is a chaos here.”

Vidya looked at the text message and then deleted it.

 Next day while going to the class,Vidya knocked on Diya’s door.She was lying down and crying.She hugged Vidya tightly and cried.

“Why did you do this?”

“I don’t know.”

“Leave it.Get ready.”

Before reaching the class,Diya got a call.Both of them stopped their cycles.

“I am bunking the class.”

“Why?”

“Manish wants to talk to me.”

“Diya! Don’t do this.”

“Bye.I will come for the next class.”

Vidya said nothing and cycled to the class.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Worries of an Indian Girl

The recent articles and blog posts about sexism and frustrations of Indian girls made me write this post.

Couple of months back my Mother asked me whether I had met one of our family friends in Chennai and I replied no. The background story is one of my family friends saw me in the Railway station and the complaint was that I was wearing a loose sleeveless top. The lady got alarmed seeing me in a sleeveless top and complained to Mother saying I should be wearing Salwars as I am Malayali girl.Apparently,the lady is worried that I am spoiling the name of keralites and Kerala’s highly boasted culture(?).Now, this not new to me. Forget about sleeveless tops and party wears, wearing jeans can earn you the name slut.I find it very difficult to understand this concept. If a girl wears a salwar/saree, then she has a good character. From when on wards did we start making analysis of a person’s character according to the clothes they wear.Now,do men have such an issue? Imagine we girls making such an analysis about men — men wearing formal shirts and pants want to sleep around, men wearing veshti don’t think about /look at girls, men wearing lungi want to eve tease or rape and so on. When women don’t judge men according to the clothes, why does vice versa exist? Do not generalize because we don’t think that a guy is bad if he is wearing clothes which he likes.

I remember getting a message in my blog page after writing the post Shadows of a Girl. The message was from an old classmate who was a constant faultfinder of my posts. The message was an apology for the rubbish comments he had posted on some of my posts. The change in attitude happened after he took his newlywed wife to Delhi for honeymoon. The message said that he fumed in anger and helplessness when his wife got lost in a crowded street and she was groped badly. He wrote that his wife cried in shock that strange men squeezed her breasts and waist in those ten minutes she got lost in the crowd. And what was her dress?A pardah!! He apologized for his earlier views on women.But,what I want to tell the world is why should you wait for something to happen to your dear ones to change your attitude? What is so difficult to think that women are human beings too? And I know, in India, men get groped too.

Don’t do such things because a girl should not do such things”. I grew up hearing this dialog round the clock from my Grand Mother.But, thanks to my parents for letting me grow up doing things from playing cricket with neighborhood boys to rolling in mud. I thought such mentality was only in Kerala but as I moved out of home and started meeting people from other parts of the country, I understood that it is a national problem. Here are ten rules which I have heard often.

1)Girls should not talk loud

2) Girls should not play with boys after 10 years old or getting her period, whichever is earlier.

3) Girls should not go out alone

4) Girls should not stay outside the home after 6 PM (This still exists in Kerala. Thanks to the men in Kerala)

5) Girls should sacrifice

6) Girls should obey their parents, elders and whomsoever who has the right to rule/shout at her

7) Girls should give more importance to her wedding than her education.

8) Girls are the honor of a family and should save it at any cost

9) Girls should not tell their opinions because they don’t know what life is

10) Girls should give more importance to her husband and his family than to herself and her family

Most of these dialogues are followed by a story from the religious books praising women in those books who made sacrifices, who were epitome of patience, who obeyed her husband without any objections, who grew up according to her parents’ wishes, who saved the honor of the family and so on. Now stop right there. First of all, it is dumb to force girls to grow up under such rules and force them to be examples of the so-called “the good girl”. Women are humans too — what’s wrong in getting angry and shouting? Why should we sacrifice things which we like just because we are women? Why should we suppress anger and be patient just because we are women? Above all, why should we be good girls, why can’t we be just girls? Imagine a society telling the Indian men to be like the ones in the religious books?

One of my friends was narrating the story of a movie. Then she said, “after that they will have this” and giggled.”They will have what?“. We asked.”You know, that“, she again giggled.”You mean they had sex?”, somebody in the gang asked. And she said, “Don’t tell it openly. It is a bad thing”. Yes, I heard this from a married woman who has a kid.Sex is one of the words which will spoil a girl’s name. People often forget that sex is a simple thing. Even when they celebrate a girl becoming pregnant, they conveniently forget that she became pregnant after having sex with her husband. It is a ubiquitous fact. The mankind still exists because people are having sex; let’s tell it that way than the rosy way of telling that babies are born. So why should a girl be bad if she talks about sex?If you want a baby then a woman should have sex with a man. This has been happening since Adam and Eve and how is a woman talking about sex a sin? (That too in this century!!)

I am in love”. How often have you heard an Indian girl telling such a thing openly?90 % of the Indian women don’t let this out because having a past relationship will spoil her chances of getting married(even if the guy who rejects this girl would have had many relationships and is not a virgin).Yes, pure-girl concept is prevalent in Asian and Eastern countries. The usual dialog from the family, “Guys can do anything. Even if he rapes girl, he will get a girl to marry” discourages women even more from telling out their feelings.Recently, one of my friends informed me that she rejected a proposal. The reason which she gave me was that the guy’s parents are dumber and my jaw dropped. Looks like the guy wanted somebody who hasn’t been in a relationship, so she politely withdrew from the proposal but his parents wanted somebody who hasn’t had any crush or infatuation so far. She asked me how they can even think of such a thing when she is already 26 years old. How does it matter whether she or he has a past? Infatuations are mementos of our teenage life. Having a relationship will only help a person grow better. I read this somewhere “Relationships are never a waste of time. If it didn’t give you what you want in life, at least you know what you don’t want in life”.

I saw a comment in a forum which discussed about the above problems,”Twenty years ago, I was reading articles on the same lines. Twenty years from now, we will continue to do so. Some themes never grow up!”

Related Read : http://tamilculture.ca/an-open-letter-to-young-tamil-men/

In the Name of Daughters – In – Law

All was well. The wedding went well, the reception went well and the honeymoon went well too. It was on the ninth day after the wedding that the mother-in-law slipped and fell down from the stairs. The house went upside down, the incident became talk of the town and there was a war inside the house.

The mother-in-law blamed daughter-in-law for the incident.

Wait!

Did you think that the newly wedded bride pushed her mother-in-law from the staircase?

Yes?

Then you are wrong.

In Kerala, (I’m not sure how the custom is in other parts of the country), daughters-in-law, to be very precise the unlucky charm of daughters-in-law, are blamed if something bad happens in the house of in-laws after the wedding. In Kerala, there is a saying – “Ellam vannu kayarunna penninte neriyum aishwaryavum pole irukkum” which means everything depends on the luck and purity of the daughters-in-law.

The mishaps could be anything from the death of the pet dog to loss in business.

If we can dig in the old newspapers, we can find a lot incidents where the wedding itself was stopped because the in-laws felt that the girl was unlucky. The reasons to conclude the girl as unlucky are somebody’s leg sprained, the car met with an accident, somebody fell down while coming to the bride’s house, a black cat crossed the groom’s way(this one is not an exaggeration, I have to find/scan the news),somebody in the groom’s family fell sick etc.

canceled wedding invite

Now imagine the vice versa has happened, then the town will say that it was God’s grace that the incident happened after the wedding. If the mishap was death of girl’s father/mother, then the town will say that he/she was lucky enough to witness his/her daughter’s wedding and the soul will rest in peace(Now what the **** is this).There were incidents when the wedding wasn’t stopped even though the girl’s father/mother passed away and everybody told that she was lucky that the in-laws didn’t stop the wedding. I don’t understand how can someone get married on the same day when one of the parents had passed away? If it was the groom’s father or mother who had died, then the wedding would have cancelled right away branding her as the unluckiest girl on earth. Also, this news must have gone viral to such an extent that she will have a tough time getting married later.Why? Because, the moment a proposal of marriage comes somebody would say “Don’t you know? Her wedding was fixed once but the boy’s father died on the wedding day.” And the boy and the family who came to seek her hand would run back even without thinking twice.

If something goes wrong, why is only the daughter-in-law, at times her family, branded as unlucky?

 

Image courtesy : http://3.bp.blogspot.com

Related Read : Distance From BETI to BAHU

My Daughter

I stretched my left hand to confirm that Amma* is lying next to me. She was sleeping sound and calm. Her lips were dry and cracked in spite of the lip balm applied before sleeping. I pulled the bed sheet to cover her feet. The puffed pillow kept beside her seemed unmoved and untouched. I took care not to touch her or make noise while getting out of the bed to pee. I intentionally didn’t switch on the lights in the bathroom. After getting back to the bed, I stared at Amma’s face a long time.There were mixed feelings running through my mind because something unusual and unexpected had happened that afternoon.

In the afternoon, before giving her lunch, I woke her up from the sleep. She sat on the bed with sleepy and tired eyes. She looked terribly anemic. I held her each leg and helped her to keep her feet on the floor. Her feet were swollen and reddish. She walked slowly to the bathroom holding my hand and sat on the plastic stool kept there. She sat there without any complaints and I carefully bathed her.

A week back, at this time, I was crying my soul out. That day morning, before locking the door of our house, my brother and I hugged and cried. Our eyes looked puffed as we didn’t sleep the night before and ended up talking and crying. Every minute of the travel from our house to the hospital was filled with tension. My heart shattered into a million pieces when I saw my Amma in the hospital bed wearing a military green surgery gown with her hair plated ,on two sides, with green ribbons. She looked a school kid younger than me. Nobody in the room talked. My Father has been silent for past few days and it has been my Uncle,along with my Aunt, managing everything at the hospital. Amma was crying and the nurse kept telling her not to. She didn’t leave my Father’s hand at all. A tag was wound on her wrist with her name, doctor’s name and hospital id written on it. She kissed both of us and then kissed my Father too. I still don’t know what was going through her mind at that time. She left my Father’s hand only when the nurse forcefully took her hand off.And the door of the operation theater was closed. I looked at my Father and my brother and I could read what was going inside them. I ran to the telephone booth and called up my best friend. I cried talking whatever that came into my mind making him come over to the hospital. My Amma was hospitalized for bleeding for more than a month and half as she has been refusing to undergo surgery.

Her body didn’t respond well with the medicines and she became weaker day by day. Thus, she was forced to undergo the surgery. I felt terrible waiting for the nurse to call out of the door. Before the surgery date ,a lot of people told me that there is nothing to worry about surgery and some people undergo complex and critical surgeries like cakewalk. But, I understood that it is not an easy thing not to get tensed, especially when it is your mother who is undergoing the surgery.

After sometime, the nurse called us and showed a bloody mass of flesh and said that it was my Amma’s uterus. I looked carefully and wondered how it had accommodated my brother and me inside it. Later, she was brought out of the OT and she faintly opened her eyes to look at us when the nursed told her to do so. After two days she was shifted from the ICU to the hospital room and a day later to our home. We sterilized the bedroom and bathroom at downstairs as she was not suppose to climb stairs for the fear of breaking the stitches. For three days, I wiped her body with a wet cloth and the fourth day she was irritated without taking bath.

She sat on the stool like an obedient child. She told sorry to me for making me do all the household works and above that to bathe her too. But, I was happy to do things for her. For a moment I felt that I am her Mother and she is my baby daughter. The hormonal changes had badly affected her that she has started becoming emotional over silly things. I made sure that the stitches are intact and wiped her all over. She had the smile of a baby after taking bath. That smile on her would stay in mind forever.

For next two weeks, I had the most beautiful moments with my Mother. I put her to sleep and she went into sleep in no time because of the strong antibiotic medicines. I kept soft pillows to stop her from turning to her sides while sleeping. I made her walk slowly inside the house to get rid of the swelling on her feet. I fed her and at times scolded her when she refused to eat stale food.

The realization throughout the phase taught me how weak our parents ,whom we thought as super figures,can become . I was glad that we could stay beside her when she was in need rather than keeping a house maid. It is not about the money but I wonder whether we would ever get to spend such wonderful moments with her in our busy lives. Three of us stayed with her and as a family we had some priceless moments.

Most of the times, she slept for longer hours and then would wake up hungry. Three of us did experiments in the kitchen and we were glad that she didn’t complain about the food we made.

In a month’s time, she was back in action running behind us, laughing with my Father and going back to work. She put on weight for the good and she looked more beautiful and ravishing after getting rid of her uterus. We teased her saying that she could have done this surgery long back.

906489_10151590006535429_1616355939_o

Today, when I shout at her or fight with her, after hanging up the phone I know what her face expression would be. So, I would again call her up and pacify her with few stupid jokes and kisses. The scene has not changed much after the surgery. I like being her Mother and boss around and she somehow likes to nag and fight with me over silly things.

Hormonal changes? I wonder.

*Mother

Shadows of a Girl

I woke up screaming and taking off my bed sheet. I felt drops of sweat flowing till the end of my spine and they disappeared inside the fine cloth of my skirt. I peeped into my shirt and checked whether my not yet firm and still blooming breasts are in their place. I sighed. I badly wanted some water so I searched for the water jug and gulped water making my shirt go wet. I wanted my breasts to get removed from my body. There is no other female organ which makes the life of a girl terrible. Lying down on the bed did give me some comfort. The cool air which found its way through the bed room window soothed my headache. The window pane had weird designs made by the shadows of the nearby trees. It gave no surprise when I saw the switched off street lights.

 “Why can’t you wake up early and sweep the house?” mother shouted at top of her voice. I slowly pulled the bed sheet from my face and looked at her. She was standing tall with a broom. The dust from the broom made me sneeze. I looked at the timepiece and it showed 6 A.M.

 “You will suffer at your husband’s place. Lazy girl ! ” Amma shouted from the kitchen. I wanted to shout at her back but refrained. I have always thought how she can think about getting me married at the age of 13.

I am not going to marry until I get a job. Period.

Why did I born in this house? I should have born as Prakash uncle’s daughter. He stays in Chennai and his children are well off. Unlike me, they were smart and intelligent. Once, he once promised me that he would take me to Chennai for higher studies if I pass out tenth grade with flying colors. From then onwards, Amma started calling me, Oye Collector madam, please wash the clothes; Collector madam please wake up. I hated it. At times, I really hate my Amma. I wish she were not my mother. Bhavana’s mother is the best mother in the world. She loves Bhavana so much that never I have heard her shouting. They talk to each other as if they are friends. Bhavana has no secrets with her mother. She is so lucky. I don’t even remember talking with my full heart to my Amma.

 Before getting out of the house to school, I prayed well. Looks like God is not listening to my prayers. I have been praying for more than a year and until today I am tortured while going to school. While walking to the main road I still prayed. Nobody is there to help me and I wish I had a brother.

I got inside the 8.15 AM bus and stared at my toe nails. Suddenly somebody touched me and I recognized that touch. I slid my right hand inside the school uniform skirt’s pocket and took out a 1 rupee coin. I gave to him without looking at his face. I again slid my right hand into the pocket to keep the ticket inside. I hate him.

While getting down from the bus, I again recognized the touch. There were so many sleepless nights which I have spent thinking why can’t buses in Kerala run without a cleaner man standing at the door of the bus pretending to help the women open the bus door. Five months back, when I was sitting in front seat, he touched my hands. I stared at the cleaner man and he winked at me. A sudden chill hit me like a lightning and my heart started beating fast. I understood that he has kept the hands on the brim of my seat as if it is a normal posture to travel in a bus. He touched my legs and pinched me. I went numb. I saw my classmates flocking at the door to get down from the bus but I couldn’t even get up from my seat.  But my legs were shivering, my hands were sweating and my stomach had butterflies flying inside it. I gasped some air to make me look normal and then it happened. The conductor pulled me out of the seat holding my arms and shouted “Day dreaming girl!”.He used the opportunity well and slid inside my shirt sleeves as deep as possible to hold my hands. I ran to the door and stepped down from the slightly moving bus. While stepping down, the cleaner man almost hugged me to throw out of the bus.

At times, I feel that my Amma doesn’t love me at all. She never listens to me. All she talks about is the money she has to find to pay the dowry when she marries me off. I think she misses my father and that’s why she behaves strangely and rudely to me.

I always wanted to tell her about those men who is coming both in my nightmares and day dreams. I wanted to tell her how much I hate them and how much I hate myself when they touch me or pinch me. Once during the lunch break, I told Reshma about him. I somehow felt like trusting her as she has been sitting next to me since we both joined the school together. But I couldn’t believe what heard from her. She told me that her father’s brother who is staying with them always keeps her in his lap. He would caress her breasts when her mother is in kitchen, he would tell her to massage his legs and he would touch her hair as if showing affection. Reshma’s family is a joint family and her father toils to run that big family. I asked her why she is not telling this matter to her mother. My jaw dropped when I learned that her mother knew it and even tried talking to her father but all in vain.

I cannot explain the blood rush and the rage that wave inside my heart and body when they touch me or pass lusty comments. I want to hit them on their face when they do so but all I can manage is to hold my fist tight and then sit on the seat like a stone. Sunday is the only peaceful day but then Sunday nights are terrible. The thought of again bearing those hard presses and pinches will make me scream in helplessly in anger.

Few days back, I was sitting in the front seat, far away from the conductor seat. I gave him 1rupee coin without looking at his face and put back the ticket in my pocket. When the crowd grew, he came and stood next to my seat. He leaned on the bar next to the front seat in the bus. I could sense that he was looking at my breasts and my blood flushed. I held my bag tight to my chest and looked outside. When an old lady got inside the bus, he ordered me to get up from my seat. He shouted to everybody that students are making the private bus owners of Kerala in loss. I managed to stand up from the seat and stood holding the seat rod. He asked the crowd to give him way to the other end of the bus. Then it happened. On the pretext of pushing me, he squeezed my breasts. I thought I would faint then. I wanted to vomit as I felt sick in my stomach. I held the iron bar of the seat tightly and stood in the crowd. After this incident, I started getting nightmares that at times him or some other times strange men are trying to squeeze my breasts. My mother sleeping in the adjacent room neither cared nor bothered but yet shout at me to better sleep soon rather than disturbing her sleep. When she is in her slumber, she forgets me. I searched for one person to talk this out or to get help.

I lost my father when I was two. I know him only through stories from my mother which she told when she wanted to let me know how unlucky I am. It was from Reshma that I learned the secret behind my mother’s hatred towards me. A soothsayer made my mother believed that it was my unlucky charm which brought death to my father. A lot of times, I have secretly wished that my mother have hugged or kissed me like rest of the mothers of the village do. They oil their daughter’s hair, they celebrate when the daughter reaches puberty and they tease their daughter telling about the prince charming waiting for her. Once I took the bottle of oil and sat next to my mother who was sitting on the steps of the front door of the house. She gave me a glaring stare and I understood the answer. How can I ever tell a woman who hates me, who talks only about the pain she is taking to make money to pay my dowry about the men who eves tease me?

 Every time when I get on the bus, I wished I had the courage to hold the hands of the cleaner man from touching me and then slap him tight. But when I think about the school mates, neighbors and acquaintances in the bus I refrain myself from thinking about such a plan. I was going crazy thinking about the modus operandi that he worked out with me. Why do those two men torture me this way? Why should bus have a man standing at the women’s door? Why does he never move from the two meter foot-board while women are getting on the bus? He touches every other women getting inside the bus. He teases every school girl sitting in the front seat of the bus.

Ninth grade final exams were going on and I returned home at noon after the exam. Most of the times, I will be the only girl in the bus by the time the bus reaches the last stop where I get down. Somehow I was lucky for four days as the village Panchayat president travelled to my stop as he was monitoring the road work. I thanked my stars and for the first time I enjoyed the warmth of security. I realized how beautiful the sideways of the roads are. I understood what I missed by sitting scared and absent-minded in the bus. On the fifth day, after my Social science exam I gleefully sat next to the window of the front seat. My heart uttered sotto voce that things are wrong. I hesitantly looked back and I didn’t see the Panchayat President in his usual seat. Then I looked at the cleaner man and I saw the lusty urge in his eyes. I took my eyes off him and sat straight. My heart sank and I wanted to jump out of the bus. Altogether, there were only eight people in the bus. Two security men returning from their work , two tenth standard students coming back from their tuition class, the bus driver, the bus conductor ,the cleaner man and myself. One of the tenth standard students is my neighbor and I have already blocked his textbooks for my next year. The security men took the advantage of the nearly empty bus by keeping their legs on the bars of the seat and snoring off their last night’s pending sleep.

I jumped from the seat when the cleaner man came and sat next to me. He looked behind the boys and winked at them and I heard them laugh. He comfortably stretched himself on the seat and kept his hands around me as if he was my lover. I was not sure whether I was dead or not. I couldn’t move and inch and I shivered. When he held my hair, I took all my courage and jumped out of the seat. He laughed at me and pulled me to him. Bus conductor made a comment to encourage the cleaner man. He kept his hands on my shoulder and something inside me exploded with courage that I slapped him hard on his left cheek. He fell off the seat. He called me names and ran to me and lifted me holding my uniform shirt’s collar. I kicked him and suddenly the driver applied sudden brakes. Both of us fell down. His head hit on the gearbox and he was in a rage. I opened the door of the bus and ran. I ran. I ran until I reached my house. I slammed the door and got inside my room.

I wrapped myself in the bed sheet. I held it tight to stop myself from shivering. I heard my mother shouting at me for getting inside the house wearing the shoes. She poured her rants about me not being an ideal girl. I found it difficult to breathe and finally I cried. I cried my soul and anger out. I cried until the news reached my mother’s ears. Her hands made huge noises on my door and I couldn’t make out whether she was shouting or crying. I got up from the bed and slowly opened the door. There I fell on my bed again as my mother slapped me hard. I went blind, deaf and dumb. She lifted me from the bed holding my arms and asked why I slapped that man. She threw me down on the floor and ran out the room.

She lamented that the family’s honor is lost and now nobody will come forward to marry me. The complaints showered on my head and I felt that my head is going to blast. People flocked outside my house as the news had gone viral. She ran around our small house saying I have brought such a shame to her and the family. I lay on the bed and closed my eyes.

When I opened my eyes, it was dark everywhere. I couldn’t see the clock to know the time. I realized that I had a sound sleep. I touched my left cheek and felt the imprints of my mother’s finger. My ears pained and the clotted blood behind my left ear smelled. I got up and went out of my room. I stumbled upon some utensils. I switched on the light and saw my mother lying down of the floor. I ran to her but she turned her face without any emotions. She cursed me.

 I went back to bed after gulping some water from the kitchen. I slept peacefully that night. I dreamed about walking through the beach, singing songs and running around in garden. I saw my prince charming dancing with me. When he kissed me, I woke up. I screamed when I saw my mother hugging me. Her face was as calm as Night Sea. Her eyes were puffed from continuous crying. I felt good having her hands around me. The last time she hugged me is not even there in my memory. I tightly hugged her. She kissed on my cheeks and told me to stop going to school. She advised that I am too young to bear the embarrassment. I argued with her because there was one more exam left for me to pass the ninth grade.

Stop it Priya. People will talk nonsense about you. Let me talk with Prakash to get you married off soon.” She told me wiping her tears.

I fell back to my bed and looked through the window. The street lights were off but I could see the moon and stars. A million questions burped in my mind. I am good at studies and lately Meena teacher told me that if I can put in little more effort I can pass out with flying colors in my tenth grade. Then I can go to the town and study further. I had plans of telling Prakash uncle to loan me some cash and I will promise to pay him back once I get a job. The thought of job and salary for myself always brought me goose bumps.

I woke up early and got dressed up to go to school. Mother uttered no word but when I got out of the house I saw my neighbor hanging wet clothes on the jute lane. She stared at me and spat on the ground to get rid of my sight. While walking to the main road, I heard people’s whispers behind me, I saw people coming out of the house to see me walking and I felt that they were looting my inner strength. I walked faster and people at the bus stop covered me with their stares and glares. I breathed heavily to relax myself .People around me debated about whether I should be allowed to come out my house. But at this crossroad, I decided to go to school and study.

The bus came and I was the first one to get inside. I looked at the cleaner man and he looked away from my eyes. He has lost the guts to look into my eyes. I sat next to the window of the front seat of the bus. When the conductor reached my seat I looked at his face. He was not looking at me. I took a one rupee coin and gave him. I slid the ticket inside my skirt’s pocket and looked outside the window. The wind patted me to appreciate my courage to stand up for myself, the trees stooped to let me know their respect and my hair danced in the wind to show my happiness of freedom.

And I smiled.

PS:  This is not a fictional piece and this has disgusting memories from my school days. But, this incident was told to me by my relative who lives in a remote village in Palghat, Kerala. Looks like this girl is currently working as a teacher in the village.The ending of the story is made this way only to make the girls feel better after reading this and to let them know that they don’t have to give upon their dreams because of some morons.

 It is high time that Kerala should stop a “cleaner” man standing at the front door of the bus. A decade back when I went to school, things were bad. But, today things are worse. Stories which I hear from  school- going girls are nasty and terrible. Why can’t the Kerala Government fix an automatic door or have a bus without a door. In the worst case,  women are capable enough to open the door and get out of the bus. We prefer this to being touched and commented by someone every time we get in and get out of a bus.

Related Read : One Tight Slap , What I feel now is

I need Feminism Because

Were-equals-480x210

I see a society which treats girls and boys differently
I see boys advised not to cry
I see the corporate world which proclaims gender equality at work, refuses to promote women,especially married women and women back after pregnancy
I see  families which boast about forward thinking and modern living,expect the daughter to guard the family’s honor.
I see women including educated and independent (?) still forced to seek permissions to men 
I see women suffering because of other women
I see men refusing blatantly to respect women coworkers
I see men expected to bear a family’s financial burden
I see girls expected to be nice,patient and polite
I see boys expected to be sporty,short-tempered and arrogant
I see colors attached to the genders
I see boy babies are still the preferred ones
I see families lamenting an unmarried girl as a headache
I see a world blaming the girl/woman when she is molested/raped/harassed/assaulted
I see a world teasing rape victims
I see a boy with lots of girls as a friends called a playboy and a girl with lots of boys as friends as a slut
I see a society which sees men who fight for women’s rights as lesser men
I see a society which sees women who fight for women’s rights are laughed at and teased
I see a world discouraging girls from pursuing higher studies just because they are at marriageable age
I would be getting nasty comments on this post after publishing

 

Image courtesy : http://feministai.com