Don’t be a Bystander…

“Stand up to ignorance, because if you don’t, the ignorant will run free to spread ignorance like a disease.” ― Suzy Kassem, Rise Up and Salute the Sun: The Writings of Suzy Kassem

Don’t be a Bystander
Stand up & fight for her…

Don’t tell her what to wear,
Eat,
Or Do…
Stand up for her instead…

Sometimes she’s tired
Of all the touches, glares & weird grins…
Fight for her,
When she can’t, for herself…

It doesn’t matter where she is,
In crowds or secluded places,
It isn’t her fault…

Actually, it’s never her fault…

Tell her she’s strong
When she’s not…
Tell her you’re with her
No matter what…

Tell her to hit & kick & shout & scream
When they use her body
To boost their ego,
prove their “manliness”,
and satisfy their so-called “needs”…

Tell her it isn’t her fault
Till she believes it,

And, you believe it yourself…

Learn what’s truly right & wrong
And Fight for her,
When she can’t, for herself

 

 

The First Time…

“Childhood should be carefree, playing in the sun; not living a nightmare in the darkness of the soul.”― Dave Pelzer

She was four; her first time. It was her cousin. He said it would be a “fun” game but it felt unnatural & disgusting & she did everything in her power to get out of the sickening embrace.

That was her first “Kiss”.

Instead of being a child who was supposed to live freely & think about her next prank or what to play next would instead keep plotting ways to stay away from him & always look over her shoulder.

She was six when he felt her up her skirt. It was the laundry man. He told her he would lift her up & throw her in the air, instead he played this game.

That was the first time, she was touched “there”.

But the fun part was that her firsts weren’t the only ones she experienced.

As she grew, she saw many men repeat this over & over again. When she slept in the bus or some other mode of public transport, someone would start to pinch her breasts while another would put his hands on her thighs & try to force to further in. If she stood, there were men who would grope & try to push & force himself on her.

Some would stare at her in such a way as though he were mentally undressing her while some would show disgusting signs & some out rightly ask how much would she accept for the night.

She’s even had many celebrity moments, pictures being clicked without her permission by disgustingly creepy men while traveling by trains.

She wishes she could have done more.

She wishes she had the strength to punch them in the face after she hit some of them…

She hopes that the men (and women) in her life never accept this as something normal, something that happens when there is a huge crowd but violently protest against it instead…

She has begun to see a few mothers treat their children equally regardless of their gender. (Both should know how to cook & both have to be back home by 10pm).

She now stands up for herself & shows her sisters to do the same instead of accepting this as a way of life.

“Abuse manipulates and twists a child’s natural sense of trust and love. Her innocent feelings are belittled or mocked and she learns to ignore her feelings. She can’t afford to feel the full range of feelings in her body while she’s being abused—pain, outrage, hate, vengeance, confusion, arousal. So she short-circuits them and goes numb. For many children, any expression of feelings, even a single tear, is cause for more severe abuse. Again, the only recourse is to shut down. Feelings go underground.”
Laura Davis

Big Boys Don’t Cry

I don’t think a man has to go around shouting and play-acting to prove he is something. And a real man don’t go around putting other guys down, trampling their feelings in the dirt, making out they’re nothing.Joe Frazier

He wiped his eyes dry
Else it would bring him Shame
His back would have blood streaked impressions
For tears meant he was “weak”

He had to hide his tears
Else someone would attack his sister
Just because he was a wuss

His Girlfriend left him because
He cried in front of her
He wasn’t a “Real man” so
She assumed he couldn’t protect her

He became bitter
He hated the world he lived in
Where he was rejected for being who he was
–A Human Being  just like everyone else

His parents arranged his Marriage
He felt manly when he hit his wife
And didn’t stop till her tears silently fell on the floor below

He repeated this until the day
Their son was born
who came into the world crying his eyes out

He realized then
What a terrible person he turned out to be

Being a real man meant he needed to love and care
Just like every human should
Being a real man doesn’t mean he had to be ashamed
For being who he was

He cried holding the little man in his arms
Repented his behavior towards his beautiful wife
He gave a promise
To Love them until the end of time

10 years later,

He sees his son crying
Holds a belt in his hand
But throws it away
And runs to Hug his child instead…

He knows now, what being a real man really is…

Not-so-cute Letter from a Married girl to her mother…

“You can have a pet zebra and put that zebra into a small cage every day and tell the zebra that you love it, but no matter how you and the zebra love each other, the fact remains, that the zebra should be let out of that cage and should belong to someone who can treat it better, the way it should be treated, someone who can make it happy.” C. JoyBell C.

Dear Ma,

I just read this message sent by some wife of my husband’s friend on Whatsapp & I couldn’t help it, but I threw my phone on the tiled floor below. I chose these tiles, you know, because according to him, that’s a woman’s job and now he hates them.

Cute Letter from a newly married girl to her mother

Dear mom,

Like every normal girl, I was excited about marriage right from my childhood days. I never thought beyond the time that I would spend happily with my prince charming. 

 But today when I am married, I realize that marriage is not all roses. It’s not just about being with your beloved and having a gala time. There is so much more to it. It comes with its own share of responsibilities, duties, sacrifices and compromises. 

I can’t wake up anytime I want to.
I am expected to be up and ready before everyone else in the family.
I can’t laze around in my pyjamas throughout the day.
I am expected to be presentable every time.
I can’t just go out anytime I want to.
I am expected to be sensitive to the needs of the family.
I just can’t hit the bed anytime I want to.
I am expected to be active and around the family.
I can’t expect to be treated like a princess but am supposed to take care of everyone else in the family. 

 And then I think to myself, ‘why did I get married at all?’ I was happier with you, mom. Sometimes I think of coming back to you and getting pampered again. 

I want to come home to my favorite food cooked by you every evening after a nice outing with friends. I want to sleep on your lap like I have no worry in this world. But then I suddenly realize, had you not got married and made such sacrifices in your life, I wouldn’t have had so many wonderful memories to hang on to. And suddenly, the purpose of all this becomes clear- to return the same comfort, peace and happiness to my new family that I got from you.

And I am sure that as time would pass, I would start loving this life equally as you do. Thank you mom for all the sacrifices and compromises you made. They give me the strength to do the same. Love you.

It’s an excellent article for all daughters…

Ma, you told me all of these things too. You always used to tell me that if I don’t learn now, I would suffer later.

Why ma, why didn’t you ever show me what’s it like to love & be loved? Why have you always told me to be a good girl rather than living a life where I could take my own decisions & make my own mistakes? Why did you show me a world where life has nothing but endless chores after endless chores & slaving for a man who doesn’t respect me for who I am but just buys me a nice saree when we have to go to a party?

Why did you tell me that the only way to man’s heart is his stomach? Why didn’t you tell me they don’t love you even if you make the most amazing meal & they still crave for their mom’s Biryani?

Why didn’t you tell me that marriage is a contract where I’m a maid & he’s the king? I sleep with him when he orders me to, but I feel like a whore. I don’t know what it’s like to be loved, to feel those butterflies in my stomach & tingles on my skin.

And then he jokes with his colleagues & friends that I watch daily soaps all day, when he doesn’t realize that sub-consciously I’m trying to live through the protagonist on screen. I see how special her husband makes her feel & the way he stands up for her & I live my dream in those twenty minutes.

I crave for long drives & sweet nothings, dressing up, small vacations & a break from these endless chores, being treated like a princess at least on my Birthday, a cup of tea that was not made by me but most of all I crave to go back to work & proving to myself that I still mean something, that I’m worth something.

Right now, no matter what I do, I’m just not good enough.

Why ma, why didn’t you show me there is a world beyond this where women find that special someone who loves them & treat them like a partner? Did our caste status matter more than my happiness? Why didn’t you show me there is a world where women & men can be best friends? Why didn’t you show me the other side where I could be independent & demand the same rights when I got married?

I’m 28 & pregnant now with a child who doesn’t know what the world has in store for him/her. But I promise one thing, I will show them the other side, the side where they can live vicariously & not submit to anyone.

I can see a world where humans are treated as equals regardless of what they wear or look like & no one is restricted from following the path they were supposed to.

Love,
Your Only Daughter(ex-burden).

I’m Fine…

“We mistakenly assume that if our partners love us they will react and behave in certain ways – the ways we react and behave when we love someone.” ~ John Gray

“I’m happy dad.”

“You’ve taught me right mom.”

“Yes, dad I have not given them any reason to diminish our family’s reputation in anyway.”

“Mom, you were right when you said I can’t wake up anytime I want & I’m the one who has to take care of the home.”

“No dad, he wants me home by tonight. He doesn’t like when I stay here.”

“Yes Mom, I give him everything he wishes for. He says I take of all my duties properly. Tee-hee”

“No dad, he wants some help with buying a house… It’s for your daughter & her family’s good only!”

“Yes mom, he says you should be gifting me more gold so that he can save for our future kids”

“Dad, you should’ve taken care of your retirement funds before, we can’t help you right now”

“Mom, can you please come over & take care of your grandchild. Mummy has a ‘kitty-party’ today.”

“Yes dad, mummy has given us permission to visit you”

“No mom, he has said he has an unscheduled meeting today, so he won’t be joining me. You can just pack the extra food”

….A few years later…

“Hey! It’s been so long… Everything here… yeah… I don’t know… Everything is fine, I have done everything right, don’t speak to any friend apart from you, worn the right clothes, spoken the right words, cooked the right dishes, listened to everyone, I’m the perfect Daughter In Law (according to my ‘mummy’), cut contacts with all my guy friends, left my job, my husband thinks I’m a good wife who follows all her wifely duties perfectly, followed every ritual & prayed, basically everything my parents have asked me to do since I turned 16 but somehow I feel stuffy.I feel like I’m living a hundred different versions of myself except the one that is truly me. I have forgotten who she is now but anyway to honestly answer your question, “How am I?” – Well… I’m fine; just perfectly fine…”