Due to some personal reason, I was not at all interested to return Delhi so soon. Swans swimming in the lake, raindrops pouring on my face every now and then, the small grocery shop right below my apartment, the pollution free environment with a clear blue sky of England were all shining like a soothing memory in my eyes. Actually accompanied my husband for he went there on an official project. Spent five months there like a dream. Now, the project was going to be wrapped up, hence no way but to return.
As I wrote in the beginning, due to some inexplicable personal reason, I did not want to come back so soon. Was sitting in the airport with a broken mind. Seemed the hands of the clock were moving faster than before and finally that moment came when our plane took off for New Delhi. It was the night of 16th December, 2012 !
17th December, 2012: The morning always feels refreshing irrespective of our mental state. Entered my house in Delhi with off mood, prepared a cup of coffee to rejuvenate my tired nerves. Had a good sleep in the flight, so did not feel like taking rest anymore. Just a little bit tiredness or lets say jet lag that was it. So instead of taking shelter in my bed, I lied down in the sofa & took the news paper that was lying in front of me. Started reading.
The first page colored the blood first. Moved to the next page. Moved next to next page. The whole paper seemed to be soaked in blood. A 23-year-old woman first gang raped and then brutally murdered. No need to repeat the story since everybody knows each and every aspect of that incident and the consequences. But that very moment threw a new light on me. I was thinking that 16th December is unlucky for me. I repeat the word 'unlucky' for I was observing a date from my personal angle, from my wants and desires. Forgot that the intensity of pain and agony, be it physical or mental could be deeper for another human being. I just sat perplexed. Coffee became cold. All I was trying to understand how much pain that poor girl had to undergo on a particular night which I thought the saddest night of mine, in the year 2012.
The media went berserk for the following few days. Rape was nothing new, happened many times with several women before it. What was new was the severeness of barbarism in this case. Doctors kept on saying, that even if the girl's life is saved then, no way she can lead a normal life anymore. Words, words & only bunch of words.
Words took my mind away to a little girl, I happened to know long back. After being molested in a crowded bus for the first time, she started carrying her school bag by holding it tightly close to her chest right after that day. Never saw her dressing shabbily, but after that experience she started wearing full sleeve/full length clothes, also keeping her hairs improperly combed while stepping out from home. Asked her the reason, she said to keep the unwanted attention at bay, she was doing this. As far as I have seen, nearly 99% women experience different kind of sexual harassment in their whole life - especially in the childhood and adolescence phase, for this time they are unaware of facts & stay afraid of adults posing any kind of unnatural activity towards them.
Till date I have been to three countries other than India - Egypt, England and Tanzania, where I found women safety still comes under 'disturbing issue', though the intensity of disturbance varies from country to country. Laws are definitely there but, when its the uncontrolled play of testosterone and androgen in a predator male mind, then what to do really ? Some says, wearing exposing clothes or mixing up with people openly or projecting ultra-modern psychology are responsible for this mishap.
Well, when a man wears shorts and thereby shows the unique arrangement of his rectus femoris, vastus medialis and peroneus longus (thigh muscles) openly, then is not that unfair ? A woman's desire may also arise by seeing them, but, since she is a woman, she cannot rape. So, automatically men stay safe. And, being a weaker sex, blame comes upon women for wearing short clothes, thereby attracting men, as a result causing harm to her own dignity by their own fault. How amazing the nature's rule is !
A few days back, another teenaged woman became victim of gang-rape. She died out of burn injuries, followed by intense political turmoil whether she was burnt alive or she committed suicide. Looks like its a fountain of statements, meant cutting each other only. Meanwhile Christmas came. New Year celebrations happened. People wished each other. Everything will be just fine and smooth within a couple of days until another shocking rape incident happens. I repeat the word 'shocking', because rape cases where the victim is only raped and then left alive without causing much wounds in her body, will either go unnoticed or get low media coverage for its not shocking enough.
Excuse me, are you thinking of mental scar that a victim suffers in her memory for the rest of her life ? Are you crazy ? Is mental scar so important ? Well, if important, then it's that victim's personal problem. Why media will give importance to that ? News should be something which has the potency to disturb our soul. Otherwise why to bother about small rape cases/molestation when it has become part of our daily lives ? Media attention seems also political at times..
On 1st January, 2014, I was going to DLF Emporio, Vasant Kunj (New Delhi) with my husband to celebrate new year there. In our route, those streets also came where a bus was running fast amidst the darkness of 16th December, 2012 and girl's dignity became subject of playfulness by some so called men inside that bus. Those streets looked so beautiful with colors & balloons for it's a new year. People dressed with nice winter wears were smiling and talking to each other. Clicking photographs of each other using mobile camera to post in facebook/twitter probably.
Everything seemed so perfect except a cry that was floating slowly in the air. I looked upon the sky. Tried to hear the source of that sound more clearly. Who was crying ? Was it Nirbhaya ? Or that teenaged rape victim from Kolkata ? Or the echo of all the Nirbhayas from past and present ?
Will that cry ever stop ?