The world keeps on silencing us and our silence keeps on shouting out to us that we have to compromise every day just because we have a vagina and breasts. We are expected to keep our mouths shut if something is against our dignity, because according to people around me, anything is fair when compared to verbal stoning of the society. Silence is considered a must for all the so called ‘sanskaari’ girls, but who would speak out to this world that silence devours on our soul. We are not silent because we are not strong enough to raise our voices, but because the strings of the world has entangled us and we are not able to free ourselves from its clutches. Who would make the first move? Who would take the first step to slay all those demons roaming freely in the streets but forcing us to quicken our pace post 8:30 in the evening. Everyday on my way back home, my mother calls me to ask me if I got a bus or not, is their much traffic on the road? But what she actually means is that whether I am safe or not. When I leave for college, she tells me to cross the road carefully, but what she actually means is that, beware of all those eyes on the road who are ready to tear your soul and you apart. I just keep silent and nod my head. My silence says it all….it proves the fact that somewhere deep down I fear.My brother willingly dropping me somewhere, leaving Indo-Pak match on television is not just because he loves me enough, rather he wants his privilege of being a boy to save me from all eagle eyes. I can easily go around roaming on the streets at one in the night but my heart skips a beat when I hear footsteps following me, whispers coming to my ears from behind but I don’t see traces of people around me. So I better be silent and nod my head to my brother. My male friends on dropping me to the hostel, wait for my room lights to lit up, just to assure that the 5 minutes’ journey upstairs was safe for me. My best friend insists on getting into the crowded queues and get movie tickets for both of us, not because he is courteous enough, but because he doesn’t want some hands to touch my body and scratch my soul. I can definitely break into a fight with him to say I will go instead. But No! I fear those hands too. So I keep silent and just nod at him.
They have to understand that whatever I wear is for myself and not to pull all eyes passing by to leave bruises on my soul and heart when their eyes follow every curve on my body…..doesn’t leave any skin untouched by their squinting. My short skirt doesn’t make me vulnerable, your small thinking does. But NO! My mistake! Cause if I wear less, I am more than just flaunting it, I’m risking it, risking not my virginity but my life. When I wear a dress in which I look good, I am inviting all those eyes to rape me through their eyes. When I laugh out loud in a group, I am trying to grab attention! When I smile at his joke, I am giving signals that I am interested. A guy among five girls is a stud, but a girl among five men is a slut! All these things are the basic nature of people, what we are supposed to do is- KEEP OUR MOUTHS SHUT! Because that is the way it is, we have to look for ourselves as we cannot change the whole world. We should not utter a word to that aunty in the bus who pin points my bra strap showing, but will not look for her son sitting next to her and looking at me as if I am sitting nude over there…. Gulping saliva, being restless in his seat. Why should I complaint about the auto driver chasing my curves through the rear view mirror? He is a MAN, hence he has it as his birthright to gaze at me. And believe me its not about the dress I wear. Their eyes would follow me anyway. Whether I am a party girl wearing a little black dress and my legs are visible; a college girl wearing a kurta who forgot to grab a stole or dupatta in haste; a 5-year old wearing a frock and being just herself, carefree;or a beggar wearing a torned and ragged saari. I am not allowed to raise my voice because its my fault that I am made this way, I being a girl!
A night’s darkness looted every colour of my life. Just standing alone at the platform was my fault, I should have known that in this world if a girl is seen alone at the midst of the night, you are willing to accept any proposal.And if they are proved wrong, they would tear you apart without your consent. The last train that night was probably the last train of my life. Hands covering my mouth, brushing past every skin on my body, leaving temporary marks on my body and permanent ones on my soul. My shrieks gradually transformed into silence that night. Lying on the platform like a dead body, my silence was screaming into my ears. Not the noises of the fast trains, or sounds of people rushing and reaching out to me for help disturbed me, but my silence did that night. Days passed and verbal stoning of people silenced me more. My mother faking this as a car accident silenced me even more. I wanted to shout out to the world, shout so loud that my pain gets flushed out. But I realised that not just those four hands raped me that day. Every person out there who keeps standing there at the petrol pump even on watching those devils passing comments on the girl on the scooty; every customer standing silently at the shop and watching the shopkeeper from the distance, who is trying to grab her hand while returning change; the tea vendor who allows those potential rapists to sit in his shop and pass comments which objectify women; the female teachers who very well know the intentions of the principal calling the little girl to her cabin, still holds her hand and she herself drops her to his cabin without uttering a word; the caretaker who never complained about the school van driver who deliberately takes the longer route to her house; every person there watching the gym instructor in silence who tries every possible way to touch her; the aunty next door who looks at me from the corner of her eyes if the hands of the clock touches nine when I be back home, but never utters a word to her son who every night waits outside the house to gaze at me; every women who judges me on my bra strap being shown. All of you raped me that night! And its not that you care about the safety of my body and soul, but you care about the safety of your fake prestige. I know even my closest people would turn their heads away from me now, not because they cannot bear the sight of my pain, but because they can no more bear the sight of an ‘impure’ girl! This whole society celebrates the beginning of a series of rapes in the name of ‘marriage’. Formal documents are signed and that man gets a right to use her as a product. But NO! For the family, saving her marriage was more important than saving her dignity. They do not realise that her consent is above all, and when she says NO, she means it. After marriage she has to hide those blue-black marks and bruises silently. Beaten up because the tea had less sugar in it, because she forgot to keep things ready on time, because she thought she should openly say what is wrong. Make-up can hide those marks instantly, but slowly the permanent marks are buried with her silence. All the education she had, the confidence gained from working, the lady who used to walk two inches taller with pride, was silenced for the ultimate. She did not raise voice and every knowledge, every experience was at fail. Nothing is important when they could not save her dignity.
Yesterday my boss complimented me for getting the tender. I would have jumped with joy if he said it was due to the sleepless nights and long tiring days of my hard work, but what he said was that, “Any beautiful lady is a perk to our company!”. I just faked a smile and kept quiet. My dignity is in my hands, when I don’t have the courage to speak up and take a stand for myself, how do I expect the same from others? The need of the moment is to make it loud and clear that women are not just a sack of flesh and blood, they have emotions, talent, and brains too! When a boy achieves a target, it was his talent, but when a girl does the same, all credits are given to her skin! The worst comes when even her skin goes against her. A ‘NO’ from her hurts his ego and the acid drops plays the role of medicine to soothe his anger and satisfy his ego. In the name of ‘Everything is fair in love and war’, she is scarred for life. But people would still be quiet, because she was not their daughter whose face was burnt. They are quiet on hearing the shrieks of agony when she was brutally raped, because its not their daughters’. But are you sure that your daughter is not going through the same? Who knows whether she was given a chance to cry at all? Who knows that the devil was residing in your house since all these years wearing a facade of being an uncle, a brother and at times a father too? How would the five year old girl differentiate whether it was mere affection or some other motive to soothe the fire burning inside them! Hence I will not blame her silence this time.
How do you expect that little ball of flesh and blood living inside the womb past few months would take a stand for herself and tell you that let her at least peep out of the womb and see the world? Although the outer world is sitting like an eagle to devour her, but still let her make it to the world atleast. Her cries are silenced even before they could be heard by the world. If a child is not safe in her mother’s womb, then where else on this earth is she safe? The three deadliest words in today’s world is, “It’s a girl!”.