Sunday, December 30, 2012

The Coward That I Am


My nation has already expressed all the horror, anger, shock, measures, punishments, grief, and finally, condolences. Though much has already been said and written, and knowing that I have nothing that hasn't been uttered before, yet I have come to learn something new about myself.

That I am as much a coward as she was brave.

I am a coward because though the Brave heart fought a fierce battle for her life, without a single sign of mental breakdown or stigma associated with the crime, I, on the other hand, followed her story and read every single article while crying copiously.

With the shock that the girl who got cremated could easily have been me, I had thought of writing open letters to the President, the Chief Minister, the Chief Justice, or whoever would listen to express my horror and indignation, and demand that they restore my sense of peace and security. But the coward that I am, I convinced myself that my voice shall not be heard. The coward that I am, I only kept telling myself that I will join the protests once my exams end, but now I know that I don’t have the courage, and shamefully, that I am lazy to get out of the house, to give voice to the girl who had to die to awaken me.

And while she heroically asked that the innumerable tubes running in and out of her body be detached for a while, so that she could give her official statement to the police, twice, the coward that I am, I dream of evil silhouettes brandishing rusty rods at me, and I wake up in a sweat.

I will not ask the men in my life what they have done to ensure my safety. I will not ask the government that who is responsible for my dignity. Because I don’t have the right, for what did I do for myself when a man once groped my behind in a crowded compartment and grinned at me, and I could do nothing more than abuse his back once he had passed me? I am a coward, because only cowards like me sometimes fervently pray that they meet the same man, so that this time, instead of writhing in a helpless angry impotence, they can thrash the bastard. Each time the memory sends shivers of rage down my spine and my inaction makes me feel ashamed to look at myself in the mirror.

I have been following the newspapers very closely, and they say that the rapists lodged in Tihar have hardly expressed any repentance. That the juvenile will get away with nothing more than raps on his knuckles. That the juvenile was caught with the burnt mobile of the brave heart, and pieces of cloth torn from her body. I had read somewhere that such monsters collected “souvenirs” from their exploits, which turns them on at a later time. The coward that I am, I fear of what will happen once that juvenile is out on the streets again. Which will see the light of another day, his lust or my life?

And even though the coward that I am, I want to use the same rod on each one of the rapist bastards.

Real men don’t rape.

And real women fight back.

I, for once, know that I don’t seem to be one, and I am ashamed. Of myself.


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