Last night, I boarded the metro to reach back home after work. Once I got into it, I saw a group of girls sitting together, singing Bollywood songs and enjoying their late evening ride. However, with my entry, they all stopped and looked at each other in fear. I looked around and realized that there were not many people on board and could feel that the girls got afraid of me. Well, before you think of me as some criminal or a bad looking guy, let me tell you that I am an average looking, daily office goer, who was on his way back to home after a long day at work. Now you must be wondering why the girls gave me such looks then? Well, my guess is that the recent rape cases have scared the living wits out of them. And since then, this has been every man’s plight when he comes across any girl or a woman.
Their eyes may not have a lining of kohl in them, but what they certainly have is a look of suspicion, a look of fear, a question mark which screams aloud- Are you one of them? Are you the rapist? Are you going to harm us with your physical strength?
No, these questions are not asked aloud, but they do screech in my ears every time I see a woman looking at me hesitatingly. The recent rape cases in the news has shocked all of us. Yes, they have shocked me too.
So what if I am an unmarried 30 year old bachelor? Why do you think I need to be a husband or a father to understand the plight of a girl who has faced rape? Am I not, first and foremost, a son to a woman? Am I not a loving brother to my sister? Am I not a best friend to a girl with whom I studied in school or college? Am I not a boyfriend to the girl whom I love unconditionally? Am I not going to be a husband to a woman, and if I am lucky enough I might have my own daughter in my arms in years to come.
Well, if I can relate to all these women in my life and expect happiness from them at every step of my life, then I am honest enough to say that I am equally affected by all pains a woman goes through. I've practiced comforting my girlfriend during her period, and I've held my sister's hand on her way to the labour room. It may not be the same thing but I do clearly understand how a woman is mentally, emotionally and physically affected after she goes through a deadly trauma called ‘rape’.
The word ‘rape’ gives goosebumps and shivers to me too, just as it gives to any other woman. The only difference is that I am not able to express my aggression, my anger, my vulnerability in the exact fashion.
It might sound strange to many that even I, like most of the mothers, feel myself devoid of my sleep due to the tension of my sister’s safety. Like a mom prays for their kid’s wellbeing, I do pray for same for my mother’s wellbeing. Just like a dad wants to be informed of her daughter every time, I too ask my lady love to keep me informed all the time when she is travelling or is venturing to a new or unknown place.
My worries do not stop here, as I am also concerned about my future– the safety of my wife to be or my daughter.
The flurry of questions that whether I would be able to give the women around me, a safe and secured environment in coming times, makes me rage a fight within myself. I do not know what lies in the future, but I have this promise to myself that I would be well aware of my own conduct and would never ever do something which harms or affects the sentiment of any woman. And in current times, I might not be able to be a part of protests happening all over.
I am being honest when I say that every time I read such news, a tear wells my eyes too, and my heart goes for the suffering of any girl who has been through such pain. I look across the seats at the ladies who were singing just before I came. I want to reach out to them and tell them it's okay. I'm not here to hurt them, and I will do anything to help them if harm comes their way.
I turn the other way instead. Why on earth would they believe me?
This post was submitted by Hema Dhawan