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Dear Delhi



Dear Delhi,

You have been an amazing friend these five years

Five years of freedom

Five years of learning and unlearning

Five years of losing my identity,

Five years of constructing another.

“A strong, independent woman who know no fears”,

That’s what I thought I could be,

Until

That day I was groped

by a man on the bicycle;

It was as if my soul escaped my body!

You know how we are told

To scream,

To shout,

To throw stones.

Everything, anything that I could’ve done,

I did it, in my mind.

I replayed that scene over and over and over again,

Dragging that man by the collar, making him apologize,

That would’ve soothe my conscience!

Do you remember the day Hayu (name changed) came home crying

Because a man slapped her butt at

Kashmere Gate metro?

Or the day Laro (name changed) asked me

if he looks promiscuous

Because a man rubbed his penis against him in the metro?

I consoled them,

Yes I did,

But never did I tell them,

Tell them I was groped too!

That shame, that guilt, that fear…..

Dear friend,

You know remember the day

someone called me

Kanchi right outside the police station?

Or the day we went

To protest Nido’s death

Chanting “India, give us justice”

How liberating it was to accept the identity

Of being a “Chinky”

Accepting and subverting the tag,

That’s what we call it, right?

Do you remember that day my best friend confessed his feelings,

How weirdly happy we were

To finally experience being loved!

Strangely, a year later

We fell sick,

Slept more,

Gained weight,

And he would always

Always berate us for being lazy

And hazy for deviating away from our aim,

Do you remember the day we laughed at him

While he was reprimanding us,

He kicked us in the thigh;

Because we laughed.

Do you remember then,

We took our purse and phone

And ran and ran

By the lanes of Hudson,

We could see no one

Dead of the night,

Teary and searching for contact,

Friends, acquaintance, anyone

To seek refuge!

And I took refuge in Bhopal for a week

To convince myself

That I was a strong, independent woman.

Dear Delhi,

I never once thought that you’d fail to protect me,

That you would turn me away while I seek refuge.

But that’s okay,

Friends forgive.

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133 3rd Floor, Lane 1,

Westend Marg, Saidulajab,

New Delhi - 110030, India

Close to Saket Metro, Gate #2

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