I woke up feeling incredibly morose. Switching the computer on with sleepy eyes, the news of a couple of religio-political leaders (can we really call any mass mobiliser that?) opening their big mouths, again, hit me. I didn’t bother to read beyond the headlines. I decided, I would not react against it. On Facebook or anywhere.
There is a point past which trying to chase and pin down Imbecility makes you the biggest moron.
As they say, there seems to be no end to Human Stupidity.
No antidote either.
Look at the way statements and speakers have popped up in every corner of the country with their two-bit wisdoms. Men, occupying platforms, seem to be in a consensual drive to grab the limelight back to their voices.
Why do I get a sudden feel that so much attention going to a mere 23 year old wisp of a girl has made certain bastions of patriarchy deeply insecure? Maybe their own daughters, daughters-in-law, nieces, granddaughters have been found whispering around the kitchen flames, looking up suspiciously and accusatorily in their vaulted presence, feigning hardness of hearing to defy their usual chance commands, or worst, talking back in new found insubordination.
Perhaps an alarming rebellion had to be curbed unseen somewhere.
Why else this near simultaneous sermonizing? What makes these men feel so emasculated today that they have come out to occupy open grounds, arranged sound systems and media presence to reinstate their version of womanhood? Yet, again.
In the wake of what India’s prominent cardiologist Naresh Trehan, one of the medical attendees, defined in press as ‘the rarest of rarest of rare’ cruelties, and the Delhi Police admitted as the worse assault in its records, these men dared open their mouths to utter such irrelevant inanities.
I simply couldn’t nod away my sense of profound sadness.
The depth of my self-dejection which reason couldn’t erase.
I am a woman. Unwanted.
Pitied. Condemned. Desecrated. Nullified.
This land doesn’t want me. These speakers do not want me. Or, they want me in terms which don’t apply to me in any case, which is one and the same thing.
All my life I have fought to escape being in victim mode.
A pedophile’s fingers had defiled my child’s body when I was too young to understand what sex or my sexuality was. He had hurt me. He had gone on, and I had failed to protest. I was an innocent, unprepared to comprehend what my stand should have been, that I had a right to recourse, that I shouldn’t have let him continue with his torture, on my physique and mind. So many years later, this is the one lapse which goads me still, that I let him carry on, for a good length of a bus journey. Almost four decades after, intense flashes of craziness and sheer physical nausea attack me. My entire body shudders, reviled, at his titillation. I can feel his fondles on me again, I can see that faceless painted long nail. It takes effort to divert my attention, be sane once more, regain the pose of poise.
I have grown up to be a sensual, sexual being who celebrates her lust, finds ‘healthy’ ways to channelize it. Even today, I cannot understand what seduction a pre-pubescent valley or plain land mammilla can hold for full bodied male humans. But a childhood wrecked by random prying hands made me aware how damaging these unequal thrills can get. I inherited a lifetime’s fear of crowds, of casual body contact with strangers, packed vehicles and the male gaze.
Rape may not be the worst trauma a man can put a woman through.
It took me a gentle generous lover to heal. Somewhat. To learn to stop hating men. To look upon my body as worthy of goodness. To find beauty and grace in the sexual act.
Even then, in heated instants of pleasure exchange, a loving touch on a certain part of my anatomy can disgust me, make me want to scream stop run hide. No lover of mine will ever know how his maleness can loath, annoy and repel me in split seconds of absolute displacement.
Sometimes I catch myself shamelessly flirting, like a pathologically diseased animal; it gives me immense soul-satisfying revenge, being able to unease men, screw their minds.
A part of my brain is very sick, because it is woman and this nation has never treated it well.
I have fought to stay calm. To heal. At every step patriarchal determinations have roughly pushed me back in place. Who I should laugh with, how much I should smile, what I should love wearing, when I can savour the night sky outside the security of my parental threshold, which are my socially – criminally – sanctioned choices, my being has been reduced from wholesome personhood.
I am a label. I am a species. I am a commodity. I am a license. Being born with teats vagina womb ovaries estrogen, the brain was meant to become my biggest vestigeal appendage. This nation has done a charming job of concerted detrition to render me brainless.
I owe my existence to gratitude. Ironically sadly, that is all I’m worth.
I thank my parents for not having killed me before birth, for not having flung me to a garbage vat after and for giving me the most premier education they could afford. Forty years on this earth, and other people’s charity is still the summation of me.
Raw truth, forget my brave attempt to believe otherwise, the undeniable – I am an Indian woman, and continuous censor and disapprovals are the yardsticks of my self-esteem. No wishing them away.
These men, who pass judgments on my kind from their pedestals and pulpits have brought this home truth back upon my consciousness. They have saddened me immensely.
Like that first pedophile’s dirty hand and the numerous others’ thereafter.
Like my very progressive father’s uncalled for frustration, towards the end of his life, at being blessed with no son.
I was born with this birthmark.
Freud’s ‘penis envy’ cannot even begin to plumb the deepness of this misery.
I was born a woman; I have betrayed myself.