About the Series
This series has compiled the very common thoughts and struggle stories of teenagers, through memories and voice of a girl who is a keen observer and an introvert. The reason I felt beatific while writing these episodes were its transparency, an erk and a desire to touch the hearts of youths. The girl who is narrating the story holds her own deep story about all of it and why she is so much concerned about youths. Her story would be revealed probably at the end.
This part, I initially named as “Secret Punishment!?”, I wrote when I saw a rape case as cruel as hell. I don’t want to explain it but of course, I would like to share this, as an introduction.
I was walking outside the school mess towards the assembly ground, with my girlfriends. Sakhi, Salvi, Era, and others. We all were in the mood for playing either basketball or ‘kho-kho’, (a popular outdoor game in India). Though I lacked stamina I’m always ready to play any, literally any game, because I loved sports.
As soon as we were near the ground, I heard some whisperings.
“Hey, look. Look at her.”
“Hmm. Pity her..”
Ikra was sobering like hell. I asked Sakhi and Salvi, “what’s wrong with her? Is she alright.”
They ignored my question at first and kept walking towards the basketball court.
“Don’t ignore my question. What’s up with her? Why is she crying? Are their no teachers who are questioning her?” Strange.” I said knitting my eyebrows.
Sakhi came near my ear and said in the lowest pitch possible,
“She got her first period yesterday night.”
“Period?” I contemplated.
“Yup. Don’t you know about it girl.” She whined. Salvi giggled.
I spilled out, “Of course I understand… Hmm.” Having no idea about the matter. And so I decided not to make a fool out of me by inquiring any further.
I wondered why she was crying? A girl with her was consoling her, so I said in my heart “She will be alright.”
As soon as the last bell rang and I reached home, after having lunch and everything else done, I finally I asked mom,
“Maa, what type of disease are periods?” And as I did, I recited the whole story in front of her.
She looked at me and smiled with all the care and love. Then, she explained it to me and my eyes widened.
“Does this happens to boys too?” I asked her.
“No. This is something every female in this world has to suffer from.”
“That’s bad,” I replied.
“You don’t worry dear. You are still in the 5th grade. You would know when it will happen to you. Good that you asked me yourself. ” She hugged me.
“Oh! Now I understood. Why she was crying.”
Ikra lived in the school hostel and so much pain. A great deal for her, for sure.
Later, I got to know that, that’s not the only problem girls had to suffer. Ladies were not allowed to touch any of the things inside the sacred places like holy books, diyas etc.. They were not even allowed to enter the temple, during their menstruations. Rules changed though, now but many families still are there, who follow these traditions.
Many women were not allowed to enter the kitchen or touch any of the ingredients for cooking the food. Others cannot even share their sudden change in behavior or pain with anyone. This becomes more difficult in families where generally there is a single female and all others are male. Some girls are not allowed to sleep on the beds but are forced to live in the separate room or sleep on the floor.
That’s ridiculous and crap!
I asked mom, “Isn’t Durga, Kali, Parvati, Saraswati, Virgin Mary, Krishna’s lover Radha etc. Aren’t they all women? All those males and everyone else pray to Durga every year, who is in itself a ‘women’? And you told me every female in this world have to suffer it. This is something too natural to happen. That means she too suffers it. Then, why the hell these stupid restrictions maa?”
She smiled and said, “Who said you to stop? After few more years, you will be free to take your own decisions. You can go to the temple and kitchen and can do all the stuff. Don’t you see those actresses or women like Kiran Bedi or Kalpana Chawla? Time is changing. Though slowly. We are not stopping you. No one can and no one knows. Just keep it with yourself. Just don’t tell your grandmother about it. She doesn’t like it as she is old and following a tradition. Well, though she is following a tradition still I would say she understands a lot. ”
“Hmm…” I replied in a musing tone.
After few months something strange happened. I was standing outside the gate of my house, when two guys too elder than me, on the bike stared at me for few minutes and then went away. I got a bit scared.
As soon as mom was out, as innocent I was, I said “Mum. Something strange happened.” I giggled a little as I was telling her. “Two bhaiya’s looked at me and then suddenly went away. They were on their bikes.”
She frowned and said, “Stupid girl. Not every boy elder than you is your brother.”
But everyone told me all people are my brothers and sisters. Then what’s wrong in that?
Later, on TV I saw one news, of a girl ‘raped’ in some far away village.
What’s this ‘rape’?
Little by little, through here and there, I understood what it is and how horrible it is and the fact that, “not every boy is my brother.”
My parents never stopped me from anything. Words of my mother had inspired me always.
I love her words. And I changed. Yes, I challenged. I started taking baby steps to change the stereotypical, in my own way from whatever I understood them, until that time.
My aunt knew that I was suffering from periods and she too was when we had gone to hilly mountain areas of our country to enjoy the beauty of those historical and wonderful temples. She stopped me to get inside. At first, I didn’t understand why? But later, I got it. Yes. I was having my menstruation.
In the next temple, I did step inside. I didn’t feel any pain inside for doing so because I knew I need to prove myself. I had shown her that no girl is doing any sin by entering the temple with all her natural causes. I need to be independent. What’s the point of traveling so far, without even enjoying that beauty of my creator itself!
I never ask any guy to stand up for me inside the bus so I can sit. I never depended on any guy to come and help me in my school stuff or ordering some food in the canteen. I never had any boyfriend to tell me if I’m pretty or not!
Now, I can never be tamed.
“This world had been harsh to females. Too harsh that now we are numb. Numb in the way that we have no tears left. Cruel. Cruel sons of Mother Earth rip her name raping not only ‘she’s’ morals but their souls too. Shameful. They don’t even care for their Mother’s glare.
They are the butcher, they eat their sister, in front of their mother. No morals are left inside. No one to speak about it. Hell. Yeah, it is. Continue…whatever you want to do, do.
Look in the mirror and then Die inside. Die. I will not drop a single tear. Do whatever you feel like. Perv you are I know. Go take the hell out of your mother and sister as well. Let them too enjoy. Whatever may come. I will not drop a single tear. Whatever may come…”
I’m a teenager still; I’m eighteen. And I still suffer every day from lusty glances of soo many males around me. I also suffer from plenty of emotions that every girl faces each day. But I have the ability to CONTROL myself. To plan out things and always be bold, to fight for the justified, for the right. I don’t want any boyfriend right now. I crave independence. I want to have marriage.
Marriage with my dreams. Marriage with my passions. I’m not a feminist. I’m just the revolution. I let the love flow in the air. But only after I will make my stand above those crazy glances.
So that’s how, I’m done with my own little journey and ready to board the ship of reminiscence, to share with you all the stories, so dearly told, through the harsh and cold. Entrusted and as a confident, they’ll share with me their life. I hope they’ll feel good, as I share with you all the beauty of being youth.
( A new story from this compilation will be available next week. Come back and read it too ! )
Written by Ritika
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