“It’s been years. I don’t feel the pain in my vagina anymore”.
“But why didn’t you tell anyone?”
“I was shocked. Ma used to see my vagina bleed, she never did anything. So, I thought it’s something to be done regularly. I was 7 then. I am 20 now.”
“Since then? Till you moved out? Every day?”
“Almost, till I planned to move out.”
As we were enjoying “Nimbu chay”, I looked into her eyes. She had no expressions. She didn’t really care much about it. I grabbed her pack of smokes. We shared one. I noticed a faint smile on her face.
“You know, every man in that family tried to touch me. Mama, Kaka, Masa.
BUT, but Baba…”
“What? What did he do?”
“He didnt stop them!”
She opened her pursue to buy Candy Floss. I could see condoms in her purse. I didn’t ask anything, I knew she’d tell me everything. After all, she was going to be engaged with my brother.
“He didn’t stop them because he wanted to earn without working and I was the only option for him, even though he didn’t let any other man touch me BUT my relatives and he claims that with pride.”
“Why the hell didn’t you go to the police, Shruti?”
“Because when I tried doing something, I was asked how were my boobs grabbed and I was asked to demonstrate and then…”
“I was asked to strip and show them the marks.”
I noticed tears rolling down her eyes. She is one of these over excited women you’ll ever meet. Always smiling and always jumping, and always smoking. Always with no gaps.
“Regularly hota aya hai na. Hota gaya. I crossed my puberty. My school was very strict and I had no friends. Kisko bolti? My own parents betrayed me. You think my school would have helped me?”
“Look, I am going to write for this site that’s going to publish this story. I want you to tell me everything so that we can stop another Shruti.”
She paused. Lit another smoke, gave one to me.
“I was 7 when I was raped. My mother served him tea in the very room. My dad took money from him, I was in pain. Something below my stomach was paining and I couldn’t understand anything.
Next day, mama had come over. I was so happy. He entered my room with Nutties and raped me just like kaka did. He held my breasts so hard and then he put fingers in my vagina, and it was hurting me so much.
I wanted to run away, I was crying and screaming, he penetrated something and I felt like I was dying and then I was lying on the floor, naked. My pet, Tito, licked my head and arms and sat there, without barking. This continued. Just because they wanted to derive pleasure, I was raped by Kaka and Mama on the very same day just before my Exams. My vagina bled, days after days. I didn’t feel the pain anymore. Their penises were so familiar and so friendly, yet so unwanted. I was always ready with my legs spread, with my clothes off my body. Baba and I hardly spoke then, I couldn’t tolerate them, in fact, I was pregnant and I was asked to choose abortion, obviously!”
“How are you now?”
“I am awesome. I am getting married which was something I always wanted to avoid. A man fell in love with this torn body which has been used in every way by many men. SEX, not love. Now, I am getting the love I deserve and that makes me smile. I have left them now, I live with my friends and I am happy.”
“Why don’t you file a complaint against them?”
“I can’t. Baba is involved. Let them be. I am strong enough to stop another me, Police kya karegi? Just like you are penning down and recording, others will too and this will spread. Laws in this country will not help you, you can help yourself, you can help others, and authorities will NOT DO ANYTHING.”
“What are your plans in the future?”
“Hahaha. I am going to complete my degree here. Get married, continue my studies abroad and then work with Raj.”
“How many babies do you want?”
“I will never have kids. I have complications. I have been raped more than 30-40 times, I can never have babies, but I want to adopt so many dogs and so many cats and live happily…HAPPILY”.
A pack of smokes got over. We exchanged a very deep look. I hugged her and she left for work. She has grown up with men in her family exploiting her breasts and vagina in every possible dirty way. No, not that she isn’t raising her voice against them, she is doing the necessary by talking to people who are willing to share her experience but she doesn’t wish to penalize them because she loves her parents. She works with NGO’s now and she is studying Psychology now.
She is smiling but do we really know the intensity of the “help stop, help me!” behind her smile?