Speak up India – A tribute to sexual assault victims

A burning shame spirals downwards
Into the bloodstream of this nation.
Racing through, so thick
The heart melts into suffocation.

How long before we asphyxiate
And give in to the brutality?
How long before the struggle wears us out
and our indignation turns into passivity?

How long before we become
Just another number in your damned statistics ?
Another scream choked into silence.
Another pair of frantic eyes faded into void.
Another forlorn soul.
Bruised. Ripped. Killed. Buried.

While you fight over your trifling politics
And your god forsaken religions.
So exploited in their names,
Your Gods abandoned a long time ago,
Grieving over the monstrosity they birthed.

How do you not drown ?
Under the wailing cries of the innocents.
How do you not choke yourself ?
While smothering humanity with your own bare hands.
How do you go on living , remorseless?
With so much blood splattered
All over your conscience.

-SR


Dedicated to :
6 year old from Haryana,
8 year old from Kathua
11 year old from Surat
17 year old from Unnao
And countless others who have endured some form of physical violence / assault , meaning 1 in every 3 women in India.

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Shut up ! I’m NOT a grown up… yet.

Sunday morning. Hair tied up in a messy bun. Soft bollywood music plays on my phone, while I knead the dough. For some reason, my best friend loves the taste of parathas I make. I serve her hot with cardamom tea in that ‘Princess’ mug my parents bought me, along with a lot of other stuff, when I moved into my first flat. It’s been 7 months now. And it has almost become our weekend tradition. “You know you’re like my mom to me, here. Treating me with such homely breakfast.”, she jokes. I don’t like to cook. Wait. Understatement. I hate it. She says I’m getting ‘experienced’ at this. “Experienced? You mean like a grown up?”

Fast forward an hour. I pick up my phone. My gallery is full of pictures from last night. Instagram stories I don’t remember posting. Looks like I had a lot of fun. Some 400 people now believe that my life’s a party. Great! They should. I deserve one night of fun after a week’s drudgery. I have worked hard to get here. I am working hard to get further. They can not know how I struggle ‘IRL’. Sorry, I use such short forms. I’m a millennial. And we don’t have time. Oh and, we live through screens. Shh… we are not allowed to share how we are IRL. But what does it matter, anyway? Screen or no screen, isn’t putting up a smiling face at all times, means being a grown up? Does it mean I am one now?

It’s Monday now. I get out of my bed to prepare my own breakfast. Oh how I miss my mom right now. I reach my work place, settle down in my seat and watch the day turn from morning to night through the clock at the front wall. I have almost forgotten what afternoons look like. I do not see that scorching sun I used to curse an year ago, anymore. I do not see those driving rains I would often get drenched in, anymore. I miss them now. But seriously, who cares as long as I’m making big bucks? Isn’t that all a grown up should care about? Wait. Am I thinking like a grown up now?

It’s Wednesday today. Middle of the week. Clients after clients. Calls after calls. I’m so busy, I can not afford to think about anything else. Except, when it hits me. “Shit! Did I turn off my straightening iron before leaving?” Or, “I can’t remember, if I closed the door to balcony.” What if I burn my flat down? What if someone climbs through the balcony. To think , things as little as those. Yet so scary. Unending anxiety and paranoia has become a part of my life. “No space for mistakes”, they say.
I’m sorry I’ve never lived all by myself before. This is my first time. And I’m scared. DON’T SAY THAT! No one must know. Just keep pretending to be perfect.
Just keep acting like a grown up.

It’s friday now. Long weekend. How I’ve waited for it for so long. I’m home now. Long way from the disguised reality. Long way from that stupid trepidation. The good part is that I do not have to fake smile any more. The better part is that I can rant about it while my dad patiently listens. Look at me. I’m back to being that whiny kid. A few minutes later, I get a text. I forget everything, put on my flip flops and run off, without thinking once about the stupid doors. Apparently, all these years later, “same place, same coffee” still means a thing. There are no instagram stories of it. No 120 pictures. Those 400 people do not know this. But here and now, life is good. It’s going to be a few hours, until I come home. And it’s going to be a few hours while I watch the sky turn from blue to crimson to jet black. I love it. When I do finally return, I can smell dinner from a distance. PARATHE !! One bite and  I recall …..this is what ‘experience’ tastes like.

Nope! Defintely not ‘experienced’. Nope! Definitely not a grownup.
I’m on my way. But I’m not there yet. And I’m desperately holding on to what little of my childhood’s left. Desperately scrounging for the leftover bits of it. All while the weekend lasts. Before I go back to my pretenses.

-SR


Just a little compilation of bits and pieces taken from my journal entries, written back in November – December 2017. Been sitting in my drafts since January, only seeing the light of the day now, because I’m jusssssst………….. lazy like that.

Wholeheartedly dedicated to all 20-somethings, beating the struggle alone everyday, and working hard to build a life.