Saturday, December 29, 2012

Farewell, Girl


My friend +Tanmay Mukherjee came up with one of the most touching posts I have read about the girl whom we shall never know, but know very well. If you can read Bangla I will suggest don't bother with my post and just read his original blog post.

However, I thought the post deserved to to reach out to a larger population and so I translated it on the fly, almost literal in parts, trying to keep the essence intact. Feel free to share all feedback with him directly.

Also, came across this very ironic Calvin & Hobbes strip earlier today, shared by Diptakirti




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Farewell, Girl

I was here just now. Now, no more.

Dad's job, Dad's vote, Mom's parantha, Mom's vote, Brother's cricket, Brother's vote.
My college, my just-turned-twenty-one, my doe-skin, my vote.
My friends, my friend. Gossip-stories-mischief. A bunch of our votes.

Dad used to say that after I completed my studies, I'd take up a good job and visit a foreign land. Will also take my parents. Three votes, will dress up and visit abroad.
Mom used to say my husband would take me abroad. Another family. A whole lot of votes.
He used to say, "I will show you a foreign land. Breathtaking landscapes, charming cities; Explosions of development and technology all of them" A fellow helpless classmate's vote. Innocent vote.
Everyone had known that this girl wanted to go abroad.

"If you don't study hard, how will you go abroad, you fool?" - and so would go my Mathematic's tutor. Just the other day somehow got a 96% in maths and told Sir "Just give me another five years, You will need to come abroad to visit me"
Some would get irritated with my passion to go abroad "Why? What is missing in our country?"

True. What really is missing in our country? Development, a growing GDP, World Cup win, what's missing? We have everything. Just that getting scared had become a bit of a habit. Scared of what?
In trains, buses, Metros,
In the bustle of local markets,
In the masses at religious places,
Was scared of any gathering of people.

Who or who all would be lurking in that crowd and attack me?
The filthiest of words would waft through, lecherous looks would be flung all over my body, and sometimes a few dirty hands would grope me.
Mom used to say I was responsible for my dignity was in my hands; nobody else. These things will always happen in trains, buses and other public places. However, I shouldn't make a scene so that others start talking about it. That's far more dishonourable. She used to say that these things happen anyway.

Used to loathe myself. Who does such things in the streets? Whose brothers? Whose fathers? Does that mean my brother, my father too...! Mercy! Steadily I learnt to not trust others. So had decided to leave everything and move abroad.

The funny thing is those whom I used to detest, those from whom I wanted to run away to a different land, ended up making all arrangements to send me abroad. A few of those dark men tore me apart to such an extent that the entire country and the Indian government gave up on me: they said that they weren't capable of taking care of my recovery. The affectional government bore the entire expenses of my treatment, in fact flew me to Singapore. And in the meanwhile I believe they lathi-charged some unknown faces, set the water cannons on a few unsuspecting ones. Apparently those lunatics had tried to show the government the way. Can't those rascals see that our father-like government has established a "theek hai" empire in our great country?

Finally our most honourable and compassionate media gave me many new epithets and the news vessels overflowed with those monikers, soaring through the skies with TRPs.

Apparently my family was very pleased with my treatment, or so I was told by the media and government. Salute to them.
Apparently I fought like a braveheart, I am courageous, fearless and of an indomitable spirit; the media and honourable government proudly proclaimed. Salute to them.
But believe me, I did not want any of this. I am really scared of those dark men. I am really scared of the unfeeling, all powerful government.

I just wanted to live. No revenge, no cleansing of society. While on the ventilator, the little that I could think of was a desire to live. I did not want to make any official statements. I have to live, I must live. Mom, I will live. Dad I will live. Brother, please...can I live a little?

I failed. I couldn't live. None of you could get away by calling me 'India's Daughter' and my survival story. All of you had to take the blame of my death.

However, you will still have your little sister, your daughter to protest. The government still has it's votes. My parents became a little lonely. Let them be. In all this, at least there was a little good - my plans of a trip abroad materialized.

Singapore. What a beautiful city, just like a picture postcard. No, I couldn't see much of it.
In those crowded buses when someone would come and grope me, I would feel like tearing up. And would say to myself "Will go away and not die in this wretched country."

Thanks to the Almighty. At least I didn't have to breathe my last on my country's soil. 
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