Thursday, March 05, 2015

Ban me!

It was physical.
The visuals — most of them comprising just a man talking to the camera, calm and composed — jabbed at my ribs.
Unable to process any more anger, the mind went numb. Tears hazing the vision were the only sign of the remorse, the despair, the desperation.
India’s Daughter has a father and mother talking about their daughter. How they brought her up and how they worked to make her dreams come true. I shudder to think it could be my parents. They could be talking about me, my sister, my friend, my colleague. But she WAS me, my sister, my friend, my colleague.
I know why so many people took to the streets after December 16, 2012.
Because I have been them.
I have been her —

The girl.
Who went to the movies.
With a male friend.
For an evening show.
In Delhi.

Nothing feels real anymore. This life. The simple joys it offers. The length most of us have to scale just to get home safely. When an ace lawyer says he would burn his daughters and sisters alive if they were found ‘off’ track. When another says ours is the best culture. Because There Is No Place For Women. When a rape convict says the girl Invited it upon herself.
But I feel, as Leslee Udwin says, none of this is the malady. But only the symptom.

It was not a Govindachamy who killed Soumya. It was us, the society.

I wish I could withhold paying my taxes. And insurance. And loans.
When the woman that is me, the person that is me, is given no regard and no respect, when all I am told is to be careful and be on the lookout for danger and be alert at every single instance I am outside on the streets, irrespective of the time, and when I am effectively banished from every place I genuinely want to be, why should I care about a system that has no qualms about receiving money for its exchequer while it cannot ensure even a part of what I am entitled to as a citizen?

I care two hoots about the ban on India’s Daughter. Ban me, ban your womenfolk, my beloved country, if all you want is a brooding hum of obedience and the eerie silence after all voices have been muffled.

When Nirbhaya died, I felt as if the country failed me. Now I feel I may never win, after all.