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,
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

Don’t look out the window…

“One of the saddest lessons of history is this: If we’ve been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. We’re no longer interested in finding out the truth. The bamboozle has captured us. It’s simply too painful to acknowledge, even to ourselves, that we’ve been taken. Once you give a charlatan power over you, you almost never get it back.” ― Carl Sagan

The world is cruel place now. Let’s not look out the window because you’ll see massacre, tear gas & shots being fired left & right. Don’t look outside as all you’ll see is children lying on different body parts of their own parents & a mother holding on to a head of her three month old baby.

There are men & women who say they love their country but would kill the men from the same country because their thoughts about religion or a separate state didn’t match.
We live in a world where a young boy kills another because he accidentally scratched his bike, women are raped or have their faces scarred because they hurt some young man’s ego, girls belonging to a particular religion can get married by the age of 15 & there are towns that have banned non-vegetarian because it goes against their culture (& this is celebrated!).

Instead of making the world a better place to live in & improving the overall conditions of the society, the number of corrupt people are only increasing; many don’t even care of the consequences of their actions anymore.

You’ll see thousands practicing a culture that teaches us that the preserving the virginity of a woman until her wedding night is considered of utmost honor, that a real man never cries & has to be the bread winner of the family, that one’s values comes before another human being’s feelings.

Apps, Porn & Alcohol are banned instead of actually understanding the core issue & eradicating that problem.

So Baby, dance with me one last time. Hold me in your arms & don’t let go. Look at me the way you always do, as though you could x-ray my soul with your gaze.

Don’t look out the window because this world won’t accept me & you anyway. Our relationship doesn’t resonate with the “values” they (we) have been brought up with. You can complete my thoughts without me having to say a word. I want to see that love you have reserved only for me in your deep brown eyes.

I want you to hold me like you mean it. Your hands on my waist & mine on your shoulders. We move to the beats of our song, played on repeat till the first ray of light enters our dark lives.

Time comes to a standstill yet the world moves ahead leaving us behind. All there is left is just me & you.

Just hold me till they get us too because I want our last time to be spent in the place we both cherish – in each others’ arms.

Hold me tonight because there would be no tomorrow…

The Blank Canvas

“Life is like a canvas. It begins blank and every day is like another brush stroke.” – Unknown

You came into life like so many others before you. They painted my life, that resembles a blank canvas, with colors pertaining to their auras. Many times, colors were over-lapped, sometimes holes were left behind by those who left, and some are still painting using every color under the sun.

Before I met you, I was ashamed by what my canvas represented. I always assumed it was an ugly picture, something that would be scorned & jeered at. I was afraid of what people would say when they saw the holes & the colors outside the lines.

Instead I showed a picture, perfect in the eyes of others. There were many who were jealous, many who secretly wished to display a picture like mine, many who fell in love the picture that wasn’t mine at all.

Then I met you. You could see what that painting really was. You were the one who could spot the real painting behind this perfect picture. It started with you observing the small holes & then the bigger ones. You said you loved the other painting so much more because it was what made me, me.

Maybe I just needed to hear what I already knew deep down, that the real painting was perfect with its own imperfections. I tore away the perfect image & replaced it with my own. I displayed it with pride; holes & all.

The response I received was something that I never expected. The painting attracted people who were really drawn to its colors & many appreciated the way some colored outside the lines. Many fell in love with the holes as they reminded them of their own.

It didn’t matter that so many before, who loved the fake perfect picture, scorned this one because they too displayed a picture that was perfect only on the outside or maybe they couldn’t relate to the real one.

I feel like a huge burden is lifted off my shoulders & I’m more at peace now. I don’t care what others think anymore, I don’t have to adjust the colors according to another person’s liking, I can just display the painting for what it really is – Me.

Displaying this colorful painting of mine is the best decision that I’ve ever made. It may not attract the best people or the high-end clients but it brought me closer to the ones who truly appreciated its meaning which is what matters in the end…

This is for your Own Good…

“Justine, whenever someone says “this is for your own good”, it’s a guarantee they’re about to cause you some kind of damage” – Lisa Klepyas

She kept pounding on her bedroom door till her hands started to bleed. She could still feel the stinging feeling on her cheeks where her parents slapped her.

She soon heard a scuffle of someone near the door. She knew it was her brother. Hope filled her heart as she screamed his name. She heard the retreating footsteps trace back to her room. Before she could say anything, he repeated the sentence created by words that felt like knives tearing through her heart; “This is for Your Own Good.”

She committed a crime unforgivable by the ones she thought loved her unconditionally. She fell in Love. Through her tears, she smiled as she thought of him.

But the crime was not just that she fell in love, but that she fell in love with a ‘wrong’ man. A man, who is well educated, looked alright & whose best feature was his big, beautiful heart. He has a smile that could melt the hardest of hearts. He loves her as though she was the only one person he ever knew in this world. But he was ‘wrong’ because he belonged to a caste lower than hers.

She thought back to what her parents & uncles said; each word like bullets to everything she believed in.

“You are superior by caste, how dare you even ask to get married to someone below your stature. What will the society say? This is an insult beyond all imagination. Just because we gave you the freedom to study & work, this is what you give us in return? You fall in love?

These aren’t the values we brought you up with. We always taught you to be a nice girl. One who does everything we say. What happened to you suddenly? We sacrificed so much for you, how could you say that you would get married to someone of your own choice!

We gave birth to you so we are the ones who will decide who you can get married to.

You have brought shame to our family. We were so proud that our only daughter has studied this far & is working. Mr Rathod was so jealous that so many good & rich families were asking your hand for their sons, even NRI boys.

Now who will get married to you?

You better get married to someone we say otherwise you will have to walk over our dead bodies before you reach the wedding mandap…”

She was so scared. One moment she was a free, independent young woman, who along with the others in her other world, fought for equal rights for every individual human being & here she was fighting once again but this time for her own life. She couldn’t even believe that she was in a situation like this. This was beyond all rational judgment. And the fact that her own brother was supporting them was something she couldn’t digest.

Did she really bring her family shame? Did she really commit such a horrendous crime? Did she deserve every slap & whip she got?

What did she do wrong?

She thought of this, days later, as she walked into the room she was to spend the night with the stranger her parents forced to get married to. This is all just a bad dream she tried consoling herself carrying the customary glass of milk inside.

She saw a big lump of her ‘husband’ on the bed & was about to sleep when she felt a breath of hot, moist air on her neck. She pushed him away out of spite, anger & anxiety & he responded by slapping her which shocked her beyond anything she could comprehend.

She just let go, as he rolled on top of her, waiting for the all the “good” in her life to begin.