This is my story.
Because i was born in a very open-minded family, i never felt that my brother was given an extra piece of cake or an extra glass of milk. We were equals and i think this has given our relationship a very firm foundation . Although i belonged to a family which was very open minded and school so liberal that i owe them a lifetime, i ended up meeting a few people who would often tell me ‘Tum ladki ho na, Ladkiyan aise nahi karti, That’s too much for a girl to take’
But i took it like a challenge anyway. My school was next to my house and i had not really seen the real world until i joined college which was a bit far. I would take a rickshaw to the railway station and then board a train after which i had to walk almost three quarters of a kilometer to reach college. College was fun but it was in this process of going to college and coming back, i had weird experiences. I was unaware of how this new world would treat me.
I would notice people staring at me, ogling at me and i found that so uncomfortable that sometimes i would go home and sob in my pillow, i didn’t know why it felt bad but it indeed was devastating. Sometimes this crap would be taken to a complete new level, people would whisper demeaning comments and disappear in the crowd and i’d be all annoyed and startled and stung. Why? Why? Was all i thought.
Days passed and i got used to the whole ‘ i will stare at you as much as i can thing’ and learnt to ignore it. We don’t have any other option, do we?
I came to degree college and here things got worse. I never thought i would write it but i am doing it anyway.
In the beginning i never felt anything of this sort because i wasn’t judging anyway. Moreover it never struck my mind. Who knew i would have to face this!
Eventually i realized that people not only keep nick names to my body parts (I mean are you not happy with the names given in our language) but also would yell out those names when the lights went out and i would only lie in my bed and stare at the sky and weep with open eyes. My heart broke because every time i walked on the road i would hear distant roars of nicknames of my own body parts. How much of a wonderful person are you to make someone feel ashamed of themselves?
I began hating every nerve and artery of my body. I would refuse to look in the mirror because i would see the face that had got me all the suffering, all those sleepless nights and humiliation. And all the embarrassment in front of over a thousand students.
I would imagine people looking at me and recollecting my new names. Heart ache? yes.
Worst thing? i didn’t know those people and i still don’t know who they are.
They were having fun and i? what about me? I wanted to find out who these people were and see if they are perfect, see if i can keep names to them. I am incapable of such madness.
The worse was yet to come. These cat calls grew at lightning speed and hence decreased my self confidence.
People who told me were my friends, would also catcall, would bitch about me, and never stood by me in public. What should i do with your sympathies that you give me over the phone? Are you consoling me for having a vagina? thank you for your sympathies but i am afraid i don’t need any.
People would apologize to me in private for not STANDING by me as they were AFRAID OF THE CONSEQUENCES. The consequence is nothing but an ailing country and failing humanity.
I was rotting in this manner, wouldn’t eat at all. Would always lie in my bed fearing that if i dared to go out, people would again stab me in my soul. I was afraid that i would never recover. I am still afraid that i won’t.
Anyway, because they didn’t have theirs i grew mine and fought back. If they believed i was ugly i had to show it to them. Anything more intimidating than a woman who is ready to fight back? i doubt. Anyway the aggression grew. More catcalls more shitty pieces of advice.
“Tum ladkon se baat karti ho isliye”
“Tum dupatta nahi pehenti isliye”
“Tumhe seedhi saadhi ladki ki tarah rehna chahiye”
“Tumhara boyfriend nahi hai isliye”
The list is endless. But i wasn’t going to back out. I still cried in bed, never told my mom anything because i was afraid of how awful she might feel but in spite of everything i knew one thing, if i didn’t stand for myself today, i would hate myself for the rest of my life. I’ll destroy myself but i won’t quit. Which i didn’t. Complained to the authorities and got shit done. Yes they told me it was my fault, i told them it was my mother’s fault, she should have killed me before i was born. I had no idea this ever happened to anyone at all..
Just wondering if this is how the Indian culture believes in treating its women. I have severe doubts on that.
anyway not saying that i grew out of all the slut-shaming. I still face it, not as often as back then but i have chosen to fightback. Which i will.
Because if we don’t stand for ourselves nobody will. And no prince charming is going to come and save you. You have to be your own savior.
Last but not the least