Don’t suffocate me, it hurts my soul….

My eyes are mirror, the minor to my inside!

The inside which is sore, the sore which is now a part of me!!

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 She opened her eyes warily, feeling dizzy and weak. Crying not only lets out emotions but vents energy as well. The sun rays on her tear stricken face brought an eerie shine. Yet, she looked beautiful! With trembling legs, she rose from the bed, the bed that witnesses her daily agony!  Blankly she stared at the man, sleeping peacefully. “Do I know him?” she asked in her mind, “Yes, he is the familiar stranger, I live with!” As she carried her fragile body out of her bedroom, her own image in the mirror shocked her. Who is this woman? The smudged kohl, the bruised forehead and traumatized eyes, it was only a shadow of herself! She felt a strange dizzy sensation in her head; her own shrieks suddenly filled the room, she heard her husband shouting with a wolfish grin on his face “Stop misbehaving, I am your legally wedded husband, I am not raping you, I am just loving you” he said. But why does love make her feel sore and humiliated, why doesn’t she love being loved?

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Somewhere in the unknown villages of Odisha, a mother remains worried about her eleven year old daughter. The lively little child has changed a lot in the last ten days. Her playful eyes have lost its twinkle, dark circles have started appearing. The studious child remains fatigued most of the times. A strange fear filled the mother’s heart. But she dared not to ask her, fearing to hear the worst, she chooses to keep silent. Little did she know, that her little child “Munni” was going through a trauma much more than she could ever imagine. It started with her uncle (father’s friend) giving her lift to school, then came chocolates and dolls and at last price for all the favours. “Uncle, I don’t want gifts, please leave me alone” she pleads. “I don’t like when you touch me, I feel dirty”. But her painful mourn never reached her “uncle’s” deaf ear.

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She was a young professional, vibrant, attractive and beaming with confidence. Her parents counted on her for a better life and living. But off late, they have noticed her reluctance to go to office. When asked, she prefers to maintain silence. Arushi, lied on the bed in her room and aimlessly stared at the ceiling fan.  Her deep kohl lined eyes had many questions. “Who am I or What am I? Do I have the right to lead my life with dignity or am I just a commodity to play with? After joining a renowned corporate office, life was beautiful. But her boss’s unwanted attention and favors soon became the reason of suffocation and discomfort in her life. His touch while shaking hands, his stare, his eagerness to drop her home and to dine with her, made her stay at office a nightmare. She could very well perceive his dirty intentions.

A country known for heritage and culture, a country where woman is worshiped as Goddess, is also a country where woman and womanhood is crushed under the cruel blows of rape, eve teasing, female foeticide and other  despicable crimes every second. Off late the country is witnessing some of the most heinous crimes against women ever and the toll is increasing everyday.

These criminals have not emerged suddenly, they have been part of this same society since time immortal but the vulnerable political scenario, easy money making have given them more liberty.

In a country where a political leader on an open forum says “Boys do make such mistakes but that does not mean that they should be sent to the gallows”, what else is expected to happen?

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But we can’t just blame a handful of politicians for this epidemic.  Why don’t we inculcate in all young minds, respect for women? Why do we teach boys, that they are superior and women are supposed to be under them? Why do we ask our daughters to be careful while dressing and not our sons to behave themselves? Why millionaire cine stars tantalisingly shake their bodies to songs that deliberately depict women as commodities? Why rape victims are shunned from the society? Why? Why? Why? And it continues….

It’s only our collective effort which can bring a change in the society, the change which has to be essentially brought to the mindset of one and all.

Aritra Chakrabarty Sengupta

 

 

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