The Calling

She watched the news with horror. For a minute, the whole world seemed to be crumbling down beneath her own feet. Did the minister just say what he said? How could he possibly have said it? And did people really comment that way? After ALL  that had happened, after the entire universe seemed to have  come to a standstill, after the haunting nights and the most malicious of souls that had changed one of her happiest nights to the defining point of her life.

She had her laptop open. She needed a whole week to muster enough courage to see what proportions the news had assumed. Now all she could do was to watch; watch the culprits, watch the evil smirks, watch the business of the road and hear the blaring traffic. “Don’t take deserted paths”, her mother had cautioned her. Ever since she was a child. “Take busy routes. Walk where there are people. You are a girl. Remember”, she had said. Tears welled up in her eyes. But, she. She had taken the busiest road, the one that stayed up all night.

“What was she doing at a bar at that unearthly hour?”, one comment flashed below the news clip. “This is what happens when girls go to bars at nights with guys. Could they not have dinner at some quiet place?”, another suggested. “Gandhiji said that India will be free when a woman can walk at night without being harassed, but he did not say that women can drink liquor at bars”, another comment flashed.

She realized that she had dug her nails into the sofa. She was overcome with disbelief. Soaked in pain, unable to face people, still trying to come to terms with her present – she did not know what overwhelmed her more at that moment.

She hated herself. She hated her for pleading them to let her go. She wished she could laugh at their faces when they abused her. She wished she could have shown that none of those sadistic souls could shake her. Ever. But what happened to her that minute? Was it the group? Or did she rely on someone to help her?

“We will take this to the Supreme Court. The criminals have to be punished.” Ofcourse. They would be sent to jail, given a cup of coffee and soon their lawyer would bail them out even before they were done with coffee. She seemed to have become some sort of a celebrity. Everyone seemed to rally their cause around her.

But the nights scared her. She knew where the cuprits were.

The influx of people to her house would soon reduce drastically and she would be another forgotten sensation. She knew it.

“Parents must not allow their daughters to go out at such late hours”, another comment flashed. Why? Because sick people like you lurk around? She hated them all. She hated everyone.of.them.

Everyone seemed to wake up from a trance. And soon, they would go back into it. Very very soon. She was lucky there was a video. Yes, video. She wondered if the cameraman would have so eagerly captured the video if it was his own sister or wife. But then, everyone seemed to be asking that question. Only, the question was a cliche.

She felt detached. She could not think of work. There had been no calls. No friends. She just could not get herself to take that bus to work again. She could no longer overlook the groping, that conductor who moved his palms over her wrist and palm before taking the change. Or, that old spectacled man who looked right into her chest lasciviously. What if she met that man who flashed his private part as he sped across her in his broken black Kinetic?

She was fed up of overhearing other parents giving her example to refrain their daughters from going out. What were they even teaching? Why were they cringing in fear and getting protective while all they had to go out and do was fight?

Fight. Everyone seemed to have forgotten what it meant. Fight was now restricted to political debates, who did what, how must they be punished, outrageous war cries that never ever signal war and criminals basking in the attention. After a month, everyone would get busy with their lunch boxes, the kids’ tests, the impending bonus and saving up for that new car. Maybe the passion to fight would stay on in a few, but how many would pursue it?

She suddenly felt desperate. She ached to go and catch them all. She wanted to rip their shirts off. She fantasized herself calling them names. She could picture herself gnawing at their faces, torturing them. She smiled to herself. She felt victorious. She couldn’t place a finger on what it was but suddenly her body felt new and she woke up with renewed vigour.

She had to do her bit. How could women like her sit and support the accused? How long could they cover them when someday they themlseves would bear the brunt of it? She would give it her best shot.

She dialled the police station. “Hello. I am Chayanika, wife of Auro- the main accused in the mob molestation. And I know where he is.”

P.S. I know everyone is outraged. Infact I tried hard to refrain from writing. Somehow I wanted to feel it, burn within and hate the miscreants. But I did wonder how it would be if all the women of their families disown them and give them up to the Police? I feel terrible and hurt. I feel scared that this will be just a passing phase. Just the way it should NOT be.

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43 comments

  1. Jas · July 18, 2012

    I can understand when you say you wanted to refrain from writing. And yes, to tell you the truth, it is a passing phae. Soon it will be all forgotten and no one will know what actually happened ot the guys and what hell this girl is going through.

    It is a distant truth that families will disown them.

    • kismitoffeebar · July 18, 2012

      I wish the women of the house really give them up. I don’t know Jas. Sitting here and writing is so frustrating.

      • Jas · July 18, 2012

        You are right it is frustrating. A feeling of helplessness too.

  2. Me · July 18, 2012

    You gave me goosebumps with this post Toffee…these are actually topics which we feel we should refrain from writing and also somewhere acknowledge that today it is in the front page tomorrow 2nd and then gradually it will all be forgotten.

    The saddest part is the way the press, politicians and all have been reacting to all this. Has our country become so unsafe for all of us ??

    And yes a very valid question – had the cameraman reacted like this had it been someone he knew in the video… I wonder where all these people leave their conscious and come…..How could they do this ..?

    And our Indian society as always will blame us only. And they are right you know. We are to be blamed. For letting them treat us like this since centuries and not doing anything about it. All this makes me feel repulsive.

    • kismitoffeebar · July 18, 2012

      I hear you Privy. I do. i feel repulsive too. I believe instead of trying to put sense into sick and dseased minds, it is better to awaken the good ones, the tolerant ones. and withdraw any form of tolerance that we have been giving them so far. I know it is hard, and sometimes feels unacceptable but, we need to try.

  3. Phatichar · July 18, 2012

    Very well written, K..shook me up.

    • kismitoffeebar · July 18, 2012

      It is an angry state of affairs. I hope all our rage is channelized into something constructive.
      Thanks Sri 🙂

  4. The Girl Next Door · July 18, 2012

    Shook me up too.

    I wish the women of the accused’s families would disown them. Sadly, I don’t see that happening. We seem to have lost such honourable people from the midst of us. And in time, this ‘news’ would soon become a routine affair, and nothing will actually happen, unless someone like you and me decides to take it up in all seriousness.

    I had the exact same question in my mind while I was watching the news – why was the cameraman so busy shooting the video when he could have gone ahead and helped the woman? She was alone and there was a mob molesting her!

    • kismitoffeebar · July 18, 2012

      True TGND. it doesn’t happen! everyone is overcome with tolerance for the wrong things and are busy fighting over trivial issues. Ya, the caeraman gave a justification that he helped publicize teh cause and because of his video we have proof. Mighty justifiable, that answer. :/
      There was one who tried helping but got bashed up. but he will atleast sleep in peace.
      I saw the video. Yes, I did. I saw people gathering and joining in this barbaric act. I can’t tell you how outraged I felt.
      You are right, we need to take an initiative. Lets really think of something. Lets think of a way to do it. Its high time.

  5. greenboochi · July 18, 2012

    I really really wish this should nt be a passing phase.. but that’s how it has been right? Every case is forgotten in less than a month.. media makes business for a day or 2 and that’s it. Slow rules and easy ways out mean, the culprits sit at home enjoying their lives. I feel the raging anger in me. I so dont want it to rest. All the while I had been thinking, law and order cannot assure safety for a woman.. it has to come from the entire society, a change in the mindset of all those men out there… which would never happen btw. Your post brought a new perspective.. just had me wondering.. really.. how will the women of those families react? Will they still be able to see that man in the same way they used to be? Can they really talk to those animals, feed them and sleep in the same room as them? I can never do that. I would disown immediately. But can all Indian women think the same way? I dont believe so. We are brought saying that we should abide by the men of the family, right from childhood. I still see many of my friends (well educated and earning) adjusting to abusive marriage n all that.. Thats just how our society wants to see us. The change should happen and it should come up in every individual.. not just the male population.

    • kismitoffeebar · July 18, 2012

      We will not let it pass Gb. We will keep thsi fresh in our minds. I actually hate it when people praise those who carry on after shocks liek these. It makes me feel worthless. I mean, something of htis magnitude happens and then you claim proudly that you pulled your life back together and went on with it and never punished or worked towards punishment of the wrong-doers? It just does not make any sense.
      You know what we can do? Keep writing about it and let it linger? Strive to fight against it. and not tell our daughters to avoid places. Train them in martial arts. Make the other women aware that such evel minds are not to be bred through love. Heavens! They wouldn’t know what love is, right?

  6. Smita · July 18, 2012

    😦 have nothing much to say but that was a sensational piece of writing. It gave me goosbumps!

    • kismitoffeebar · July 18, 2012

      I don’t think anyoen can say enough on this Smitha. Thanks 🙂
      I just hope we collect this rage in a big big pot and channelize it in the right direction.

  7. KP · July 18, 2012

    The anger and helplesness has been brought out well.I liked the line “I did wonder how it would be if all the women of their families disown them and give them up to the Police?”This idea is what I used in my story Rohini’s rage of date

    • kismitoffeebar · July 19, 2012

      Thanks a lot KP. Thanks for understanding, really! Ya, the women must totally give them up. This is not a mistake to be forgiven – it is intentional abuse and that really hurts whether we are under covers in our safe home or out in the wild.
      Let em check your story 🙂

  8. Bikramjit Singh Mann · July 18, 2012

    I will hope and wish the women in the family will give up these men, but as the news say all but one have been arrested… Funny is the faces were hidden of some.. strange when the media showed the horror of the girl..

    Few people have been sacked, the media chief has resigned and the recording fellow also has gone… But I think that is a gimmick..
    Does not matter what they do.. question is what’s happening to the culprit… When will they be hanged.. I would like this trail to go live on Tele, so people can see and at earliest…

    About forgetting this incident I would say give it a couple of weeks..

    • kismitoffeebar · July 18, 2012

      Yes, the main question is indeed that – what is happenign to the culprit. what amazes me is that somethings are so obvious, they stare right into your eyes and still, we wait and wait endlessly for nothing!
      I hate the misguided tolerant attitude.

  9. aame · July 18, 2012

    and we all know…are very sure..to the core…there are many more…passing by….because there’s no video footage…

  10. Destination Infinity · July 18, 2012

    In this case, the law will have to catch up because it has become a nationwide issue. But think about all other such cases. Many of them go unreported. Even if it is reported, it’s difficult for the victim to follow the process of the law.

    I too second the comment made by Bikram above. If the culprits are given strict punishment soon, others will be wary of getting into such things.

    Destination Infinity

    • kismitoffeebar · July 18, 2012

      Ya the law has to. and I believe we must help the law. If law can’t catch them, we give them to law.
      You are right about unreported cases.
      it is just just a horrid state of affairs.

  11. My Era · July 18, 2012

    I am so agitated, shaken, sad and scared with the way things are and the lightening speed with which they are deteriorating.

    Your writing shook me and I can feel a fresh surge of rage for the culprits, who dare to believe that crime is a play and they can go about doing anything they please for no effective law prevails in our country.

    I am with you in wishing that may their families & women in their lives of these monsters disown them without a second thought.

    • kismitoffeebar · July 19, 2012

      Hey ME,

      I know how you feel. It is indeed one situation that seems to have set us on fire. and I fervently hope and pray that we channelize it right.
      Yes, I am so sure they are basking in the glory of not being caught. Well, no matter how optimistic, enforcement of law is something that really does not make one hopeful by any small measure. and yes, that’s where the common man should use his power to catch and punish them by giving them to law and pursuing it. If a mob could harass a girl, can’t a mob bring her justice?

  12. lifesong · July 18, 2012

    A very, very sad state of affairs 😦 … and this is an everyday happening in some form, at some place… very few are reported… and most culprits are let off without any punishment… Saying that “Every female in India must have suffered eve teasing in some form or the other” will certainly not be an overstatement.
    The country needs to come out with strong laws giving severe strong punishment for such crimes.

    • kismitoffeebar · July 19, 2012

      Definitely, every female in India has suffered from eve teasing. Maybe mild or severe.We have strong laws lifesong, there is a need for implementation of them. I pray to God it happens soon!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  13. Srinivas Sundaram · July 18, 2012

    Am speechless Kismi… Gave me goosebumps.

    It’s really disturbing that a girl cannot walk safely through a street full of people, and that so many people and the entire police force stood mute witness to this atrocious act :-(.

    It’s a really sad state of affairs that we currently live in and the ground level implementation of laws is probably what is the biggest lacking piece in creating at least a reasonably safe place to live. I mean,…what’s the use even in having strong laws if they are not enforced and some fear of the law instilled where required.

    • kismitoffeebar · July 19, 2012

      Sorry to say this Sri 😦 But it is indeed something so shameful that writing baout it itself makes you belligerent.
      ground level implementation of laws is probably what is the biggest lacking piece in creating at least a reasonably safe place to live – I just can’t agree more on this!

  14. Ritika · July 18, 2012

    The women wont disown them,they will get bails ,and they will live freely.
    You know why ? Because we live in a country like that.
    People want a change but they do not want to do anything about it.
    When that girl was going through all that,how many people actually came over to help .

    • kismitoffeebar · July 19, 2012

      Abetment of crime is an even greater sin. If there are such abettors, men or women, they are all equally responsible to what is happening in the society. Ya, it is treacherous – apparently a couple of them did try but got overpowered by the mob. well, we’ll never know that. But what we know is, there a busy street, there is a girl, there are other “humans” and a mob molests her amidst blaring traffic. And , for 30 mins.

  15. Sumitra · July 19, 2012

    I won’t say well written, because I’m sure you hardly would have written this for accolades. I wish we lived in a world where such articles have no need to be written…

    • kismitoffeebar · July 19, 2012

      That is just so hitting-the-nail-on-its-head ! I wish a wish, the one you wished for 🙂

  16. Visha · July 19, 2012

    Atta Toffee, this was so impactful and hard-hitting! But I will tell you my perspective on this write-up.

    When you started, it looked as if the victim is speaking all these in her mind. In the end, it turned out to be the wife of the accused. Even now, while I type out this comment, I read the post again and felt the same. Or maybe I am dumb enough to get the correct jist.

    • Visha · July 19, 2012

      *gist

    • kismitoffeebar · July 19, 2012

      Hey visha 🙂

      yes, it does look liek that and I felt it too. Infact, I wanted to see and present the perspective of a another woman, (here supposedly the wife) going through the tumultous uproar of thoughts – where she empathisez with the victim and then recollects how she has undergone eve teasing and totally lives the life of the victim. I was just wodnering that if we all really feel for and empathize and take next steps as if we were personally affected by it all and not just as a passing tragedy, it would make the surroundings cleaner.
      and it is not easy being the family of such sick people. They have their own fears and uninvited tolerance veiling the boiling rage.

      I am very very glad you noticed and felt that way visha 🙂

      • Visha · July 19, 2012

        I am a diligent and good reader you see *show off* 😉

      • kismitoffeebar · July 19, 2012

        🙂 hehe and also there are the italics 🙂

  17. Nithvin · July 21, 2012

    Hi Kismitoffeebar!

    I am commenting only about your writing, not what made you write it, as I don’t have anything new to say about that. I also thought that it was the victim we were reading about, but it turned out be the accused’s wife. Read it from the beginning again and realised that the italics could be interpreted in an other way too ! Loved the writing technique 🙂
    Just a co-incidence that I had written something in a similar way to record my feelings about a certain incident and about the same time you have posted yours. The context of that is completely different of course. Will keep visiting your space here on.

    • kismitoffeebar · July 22, 2012

      Helllloooooooo an a big big welcome here 🙂

      Thanks a lot Nithvin for coming by 🙂 Yes, it is true that it does seem like a double narrative of sorts 🙂
      I will soon hop into your space too. Pls do come as often as you wish to.
      again, welcome! 🙂

  18. pixie · July 23, 2012

    Beautifuuly written Kismi! You gave me goosebumps and I could feel the rage!
    Sigh..

  19. Mom of A and a · July 26, 2012

    Hi, coming over from Jas’ blog. This is a wonderful piece. I initially thought, as I guess you wanted, that this was a story from the victim’s perspective. I liked the twist at the end. Again, really good story…wish it were true.

    • kismitoffeebar · July 27, 2012

      Thanks a lot Mom of A and a 🙂 And a hearty welcome here 🙂
      Pls do come by as often as you wish to 🙂
      Thanks again!

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