Stained glass imageI have had my breasts fondled.
Not by a lover,
but strangers on a bus.
I have been gyrated against
as I navigate the city:
packed like sardines
they are more depraved than animals.
I have had penises flashed at me
whose owners I know not;
they only come with a pair of lust-laced eyes
and a soulless smile.

I can hold my own on issues
about the environment.
I can wax eloquent about literature and music.
I am told, I am the future;
and for a moment I am bent into believing
in the bubble I have bought into.

But every morning,
I cower.
My ego slouches
as it is castrated at the hands of
crotch-clutching goondas.
I have lost count:
there are too many to fight.
I may be liberated. And educated,
but my fire has been doused.
Neither rhetoric nor review can
bring me solace.

And so, I turn the other cheek.
I have become deaf to the whistles and
blind to the lewdness.
I adjust my dupatta
and look straight ahead
as they line the streets and pucker their mouths.

I am just a woman in India.

Written in response to the gang rape of a 23 year old in the city I call home. I have travelled in white-line private buses with ‘Yadav’ flaunted on their flank. I have been harassed and fondled, eve-teased and ridiculed. I am part of every woman that gets raped. I want to risk asking why.
Update: Interesting perspectives by The Delhiwalla and Ankit. Deconstruction of the issue by Anand Soondas.
by Chandni Singh
image: kionae

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