Saturday, December 23, 2017

#MeToo - My Harassment Stories

When I was around six years old, a little girl who would fail to secure her hair with a loosely tied hair band, I got harassed for the first time - or this is my earliest memory of I getting harassed.

At this small age, with my age fellows in a family gathering I was running round and round on the roof top of a relative's house. One of my distant relatives, a guy around 15-20 years older to me also came up on the rooftop and started spending time with us. I being the one never getting along well in a stranger's company tried to keep aloof even though other kids were playing with him. I saw him walking towards me so I tried to hide from him. I was a little kid but I could sense that something was wrong. There was a little empty room - more like a store room - there and I went inside. This guy came and tried to hug me - TRIED only when I saw him getting nearer, I screamed at the top of my lungs. "GO AWAY! WHY ARE YOU COMING AFTER ME? JUST GO AWAY FROM HERE!" I screamed, my eyes bulging out. I told him I'd tell my father and he just casually tried to fend me off. He got frightened by a little girl shouting at him and tried to casually move away. And then he disappeared into thin air. I could not sleep that night. This is one of the worst memories of my childhood and it keeps popping up everytime I get harassed even today at my workplace, on the streets/roads, just everywhere.

A few months ago, I started commuting in a shared cab from work. It was a nice suggestion from my father in law when he realized that I'm paying so much for everyday commute. You share this cab with strangers going to the same destination and pay a lot less than what you pay when you go alone in a cab. I'd have to pay Rs. 40 only when I'd pay Rs. 250-300 while going alone in a cab. I had to save so a shared cab was a good option. Being a female, I'd always get the front passenger's seat while the men would sit on the back seat. One day, I was going home in a shared cab when I felt weird movements in my seats. At first I thought I'm moving because the road is bumpy but then I realized that my seat is being pushed by someone who's sitting behind me. I could feel his knees dug into the back of my seat. I don't know what kind of satisfaction he was getting by pushing my seat but since I got a bit frightened and my apartment was getting nearer, I only waited for the car to stop. But before I knew it, his hand from the side of the seat crawled and tried to touch my thighs. I snapped. I did NOT let him touch me. I turned back and shouted at him. I asked him to either leave the car or I'll leave right there and then. The driver also asked him to move away. My stop was almost there so I got dropped off. I had so much anger in me but I stayed quiet and cried again that night. Only the person who gets harassed knows how it feels.

I got harassed in my university, when male students tried to follow me in my sitting spots. They tried to pop up in my emails. They would forcefully try to get me to talk to them when I'd clearly say NO to them on their faces. They would actually follow me around the university until I'd tell a professor or lecturer to give them a warning. 

Even now at my workplace, during work, I get harassed and I know in future I will get harassed again. I get to meet people from every walk of life. They try to ask personal questions. They want to know where I live, how many brothers do I have? Are they working? Are they younger or older to me? People try to get my number. They stare with the ugliest stares. Some try to harass with their eyes. Some with their actions. Those whom I don't know professionally - the street harassers - will try to touch/get in my way/say bad words in my ears/ do anything to get themselves satisfied without trying to get caught. 

I get harassed everyday. And if by now you are judging me for getting harassed then allow me to say that you are only giving more confidence to the harassers. I don't like people staring at my body parts. It is a very uneasy feeling. I don't know what to do when people would start using sexual innuendos in a conversation. I just want to run away from that person and place. It's hard to bear a person who I know is trying to sexually harass me with their conversation/actions. Please trust me when I say that it leaves me sleepless for nights. Harassment is a cancer. It is a sickening feeling. It is a self esteem detonator and only the one who gets harassed knows the pain, the mental trauma she has to go through. I urge you to preach respect for women. Please allow women to be more strong by giving them strength and support instead of supporting the harassers.

May the power be with us.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

The Gap

Perched in the corner of my bed, with my head resting on my knees, I heard the footsteps as he came inside the room and shut the door behind him. I heard him as he took out his wallet from his jeans' back pocket and threw it away at the very corner of the bed. Very swiftly, he jumped on the bed and I could tell he was now laying there with his arms behind his head, a pillow folded under his neck and one of his legs resting on the other.

5, 4, 3, 2, 1..
I knew he'd address me now:
"What's the matter?" He asked as if he was listening to the count down in my head.
I lift my head up and turned back to look at him. There he was laying exactly like I knew he would be. Hands were behind his head. Pillow was folded under the neck and legs were resting over one another. It made my heart smile even with the cloud of sadness hovering over my head. I put my feet on the ground and stood up now heading towards him. There was a very little gap on his side of bed but I decided to sit there anyway. Close to where his heart was beating. "I just had a rough day," I said expecting his hands to pat my cheeks. He didn't budge and kept on looking at me. I heard my voice breaking down for letting it all out finally after having nobody to talk to for a long time."I hate loud voices, baby! I can't stand shouts and screams. I heard quite a few today so I decided to sit in solitude. With myself."

"Hmm.." was his reply.
Please hold my hand. Tell me that I'll be fine. Give me a reassuring hug, please? I wanted to say all that to him but I heard myself saying this instead:
"Are you hungry? Should I bring some food? I didn't eat anything since this morning. Let's eat?"
Oh. He is mad at me. Two back to back monosyllables. Definitely mad. But why? So what if he didn't take my hand in his, I took his hand in mine instead, gently moving it from behind his head and squeezed it. Strange how even the slight touch of a hand could bring so much warmth to my body, my soul. I felt so much love for him at that very moment and my sadness started to vanish on its own. Funny how only one's presence can have so much effect, so effortlessly. I wish he'd smile at me too. He didn't. No worries, I'll cheer him up. My mind had too many of thoughts going on. "Bringing the food right away, mister!" I said trying to make him smile. He closed his eyes and I left to get the food.

After a few minutes, when I entered the room with food in my hand, I saw his shirt tossed at the ottoman while he was fast asleep. I went to him and tried to wake him up like I always did; ran my fingers through his cropped hair. He twitched a little and then went back to sleep. "Hey! Wakey wakey. The food's here." Nothing. I kissed him on his cheek. Nothing. Harder this time. He tried to open his eyes.
"You slept! I've brought the food" I said gently, my fingers still running through his hair.
"Just leave me, please. I'm not hungry." He said with an air of nonchalance.
Why is he doing this? Ok, don't break down, girl! I told myself. Composing myself again, I asked:
"But you just asked me to bring you some food?" My thumb now rubbing his stubble that I always adored.
He stared at me for a couple of seconds, turned his face away from me, took a pillow in his arms hugging it like it'd run away, pulled the quilt all the way up to his face and shut me out just like that.

Confused, I tried to take that quilt off his face when I heard a little snore; a subtle message asking me to go away. I halted my hand midway not trying to disturb his solitude. As much as I wanted to stay there, I forced myself to get up and take the food back to where it belonged. I sipped a glass of water and came on the other side of the bed - the gap between us now seeming bigger than it had ever been. You could have at least moved the quilt down a bit so I could watch your face while you sleep, I thought to myself. I watched him anyway trying to mute out the shouts that were still echoing in my head from earlier today.

Monday, November 27, 2017


I told him I hated cigarettes.
“Oh you do?” He said, as he puffed out a white cloud of choking smoke on my face. 
Inhaling tobacco always made my head hurt. I could immediately feel the nerves of my head pulsating with pain. I held my breath. My eyes stung and two tears hurriedly rolled out of either eye. I dabbed them with the back of my hand making it look like it was the smoke that teared me up and not his heartlessness. I watched him quietly as he finished the rest of his cigarette, crushed its butt under his feet, kissed me with his tobacco breath and walked away. 


“You do know that of all the things in this world, I hate guns the most, right?” I asked him. His back was facing me. 
“Say what?”, He said as he turned around with a gigantic gun in his hands. The metal shown under the light and suddenly my mouth tasted like blood. It was a reaction to see that cursed thing. He smiled his usual lopsided smile and lifted his gun to aim at me - still smiling. I gasped, suddenly moving out of his aim. “What are you doing?” I all but shouted. I just told you I hated guns. He was fixated, didn’t move a bit. Pulled the trigger. BAM! A bullet hit into the wall piercing its way through where I was standing just a few seconds ago. The sound was deafening. The shock made me stay there for a good amount of time until I realised I was being mocked by the bullet now laying centimetres away from my feet.
He started cleaning his gun. I looked at him and smiled weakly making it all seem like we two were only playing around and nothing had just happened. 

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Running Out

The time ran out on me while I kept on running after it. Preposterous! I never ran out of the road while running after my destination. Never ran out of hope while running after the desires. How could the time run out then?

Sit back and watch it all over again, darling! This time, keep your eyes and mind open. This time, watch it without prejudice. This time, do it like you mean it. This time, no lies. This time, save my laughter. This time, count my tears. This time, for a change. This time, be a darling!

I feel like a partially filled vase. So dissatisfying. Keep filling me with the galaxies that are held inside you. Shower me with the stars. Shower me with the moonlight. I’m tired of this world. I’m tired of its artificialness. I’m waiting for the flowers to bloom. Help them grow. You must help them grow. Oh, that you must. Is my emptiness making me persuasive? What do I do? I’m running out of my requests. Don’t run yourself out on me. 

Monday, May 15, 2017

Heart Out

It's stupid to even think how I wrote the least during the past few months. This one thing that gave me solace, a place where I grew up and lived was stranded by me and I feel embarrassed by treating my sanctuary this way.

With apology, I open my heart again to you for you are the listener that never made me feel like I should ever stop speaking. Let me tell you how burdened my heart and soul feels. I want to tell you that I've never felt this old ever in my life. I've grown up so much in the past few months and when I look back at my old self, I want to break down and cry. I'm not sure whether these are life experiences that I'm gaining or is it just a rough phase that I'm treading on but whatever it is, it hurts the most. I have felt the happiest and the saddest. I've felt hurt like never before. I've felt deceived like the most stupid person on earth. I've felt tired like anything. I still feel tired like all of the weight of this world has been placed on my back. My mind swirls and aches the worst. I feel defeated, betrayed, trampled upon. I just feel the worst and I'm only afraid what more this life has in store for me. I never knew growing up would pain this much. I never knew I would feel this low in my life.

At this point of my life, all I want to see  is a vista of light. Happiness and opportunities. Success and smiles. I want to earn all that I had dreamed of. I want to move ahead. I want to laugh the purest laugh and smile the most genuine smile. Just hold my hand and lift me up and away from all the filth of sadness that I've been dumped in to. Just some peace of mind and heart. Just sway me away. Just.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Silent Screams - A Page from My Diary

Dear diary,

Sometimes I want to scream and shout. I want to cry out loud and let my tears speak my story. I have so much to say but I choose to stay quiet. This is going to gnaw me on the inside. The words that don't come out are carnivores that eat away my body and soul. It hurts to make those people understand you who once used to steal the words from your mouth. When such people who know you like they know their favorite song turn into someone who starts questioning your every action, it feels like they're hammering you down. But pain is a very private feeling. Nobody can understand it. Not a single person can understand what you're going through. It's yours and only yours to keep. It's the only thing you have that others won't ask from you. This pain is going to take your life away and, mark my words, the moment it'll be sucking your last breath out of you would be the moment when you would be hugging it like a toddler hugging their teddy. You'll get buried under it's weight. And nobody, not a single body would understand what you're going through. 

I wish I were you. I wish I was a thing that people used. At least they would't have anything to complain about me then. At least I wouldn't have feelings even if I got crushed under someone's feet then. I wish I was a thing that people used and didn't complain of. I wish I didn't have these feelings that sink my heart and drown my soul. I have so much to say but I'll only let the tears flow out. I'll let them be my words.