In a word? It’s hard.
Everyday is like surviving a battle. Every step we take is like walking into a minefield. Every breath we take is supposed to be taken carefully, so that even our breath doesn’t stir the demons which lie beneath humans.
If a woman gets divorced, there must be something wrong with her (because men are freaking saints). If a girl is seen out with a boy, her image automatically gets a big Red Mark,( because the girl is downright a characterless). If a girl is seen out with her friends, she’s careless and irresponsible (because responsible girls never have fun). If a girl is beautiful, people start imagining her wedding with their sons. If a girl is not-so-pretty, then people will spread the word to never ever marry your sons to her.( Why? Because we need perfect offsprings, even if our own child looks like a monkey). If after three years of marriage, the couple does not have kids, there is bound to be something wrong with the girl,( because no man can ever have reproductive faults). If a girl doesn’t do chores, her reputation all over the society is smeared.
I am done with trying to pretend that this can be changed. Because it can’t. At least not in my lifetime. There was a time when I thought that people would’ve been happy when I came in this world as my mother’s first child. Today, I’m not so sure. I know that my immediate family was over the moon. What about others? I started thinking this when my cousin gave birth to her daughter two days ago. I was so, so happy to be an aunt. I told my grandmother. While I broke the news to her, I could sense a hint of pity for my cousin behind her words. I wanted to scream in her face, “Lady, have you lost it?” Of course I didn’t say anything because my grandmother rocks, apart from her old-fashioned thoughts. Then, I cooled myself down by visiting the new baby. She’s beyond cute and she made my day.
My rage blazed anew when I read in the newspaper how Ministers were suggesting the girls to dress more modestly if they want to reduce the rape rate of the country. At that point, I was way, way beyond mad. I could actually feel my blood pumping through my veins. What in God’s green Earth was that suppose to mean?
Women get raped on purpose?
They wear short clothes so that men can undress them with their thoughts?
They party at night so that perverts can take advantage of them?
Maybe it’s because that the Minister who said that probably can’t even spell Minister. (Surprised? Well, that’s the way India rolls. You just need to have political connections and an ever-money-hungry belly to rule over the people for five years). Well, then in this particular case, when a two year old who was raped by a worker in her house, she should’ve been more careful about her clothes. How dare her nappy even sneak out of her frock?
Then I thought that killing this Minister won’t change anything. What about half a billion other people, who think the same? Some other idiot in Uttar Pradesh Ministry said that chowmein created hormones that lead to the urge to rape in men. At that, I was like, “Are you shitting me?” (Excuse my language, but this is a sensitive topic for me.) If it really were the case, then China should’ve had the highest rape rate in the world. But that is not the case, is it?
No, the problem lies in the mind of the people. Problem lies within the mindsets of men who think that they can have whoever they want. It’ll ruin the girl’s life? Who gives a shit? Some women empowerment group will reach her, buy her a sewing machine and then leave. Then the whole world will remember the girl as a rape-case victim. No other man would marry her. If if he’d want to, his family would never accept the girl fully. (Good luck finding a man in this country who’ll leave his mommy for the girl he loves. I’m not saying they don’t exist, I’m questioning their existence. It’s a different thing.)
Today, if I go out wearing shorts and a tank top, the word will spread like wildfire. Everyone in my colony will know within a day. Next time when I come in front of them, they’ll look at me as if I’d boiled their chihuahuas. If I go out with a boy, regardless of whether he’s my boyfriend, friend, or cousin, everyone will assume that there’s something fishy going on between us. Sometimes when I go out my cousin, I wonder if I should hang our DNA reports around our necks. If that won’t convince people that I’m not out with my boyfriend, I don’t know what will. If I give a guy my phone number, even my parents will automatically assume that I’m seeing that guy. God forbid if that word ever goes out! I’ll probably never get married!
This so-called society can’t talk to their children about sex. Oh, my God! The S word! How dare they use that in public? They’re spoiled people with no manners whatsoever. Grandmothers cringe at that word, and they have like, 10 kids each. If this society wouldn’t have made made sex a taboo, then maybe these raps wouldn’t be taking place at an alarming rate. But no. As long as it’s not out wife, mother, sister or daughter getting raped, there’s no need to talk about sex.
Maybe I will never get married. No because I have an endangered reputation in my society. No, I’m the girl against which all other girls are measured, except when it comes to looks. They think I’m shy. They don’t know that I don’t talk to them because I don’t like them. They think I’m well mannered with elders. My parents don’t know that I swear. No one in my colony knows about my depression. No one knows what I go through every day and night. They just know that I’m the granddaughter of my grandfather, the man who could do no wrong. They think I’m as squeaky clean as he was.They think that I’m Mother freaking Teresa.
All it would take to ruin this reputation which I’ve created over the years, is to be seen outside with a guy who people know is not my cousin or even a parent-approved friend. Will I ever do that? Of course not. Not because I care about my image, but because in India, once a slut, always a slut. Once you’re a bitch to someone, you’re a bitch to everyone.
Being a girl in India is an ever going challenge. You have to be perfect. You need to wear clothes which show a little to no skin at all. You need to be good in studies, chores, looks, complexion, jobs, manners…everything! One little flaw in body, spirit or character can be our trademark forever.
These are the reasons because of which I know I’ll probably never get married. I don’t do chores. I don’t like people, I don’t know how to handle a bunch of guests when they arrive at your place unannounced, and I sure as hell do not know how to love someone my parents have chosen for me to love. I know that you think I’m just another teenager who’s saying this stuff. You think that when I grow up, I’ll blend into the society more and do get married. Well, you’re wrong. I may be just 17, but damn well know this; I am never getting married. Reason? This damned society.
As long as women are treated as objects of sexual acts, India will always, and I can’t stress enough this always, be a developing country.