Scars on the body can still heal but not those left on the mind! Yet you think you have all time in the world to think on it?

Every once in a while I pick up a newspaper only to get horrified. Every time I watch a TV and the reality strikes me and every moment I wondered over spending a night all alone, the issue pinned me. Elders often ask us not to get perturbed by such news, but it isn't that comforting either. 

Last few months have seen back to back cases of young girls being raped, mauled, assaulted, brutalized, harassed, shoved off a running train or left locked in a house without food or water for months together. Umpteen cases of rape in a span of just 24 hours in every district of the nation used to sound dreadful; now it’s a part and parcel of life. There would not be perhaps a single girl not having one such frightful story in her kitty.

 As media brings these images to us in a 24x7 witness, the news seems to have anesthetized us out of our ability to empathize, react or protest. Are we a citizenry bereft of any human emotion and conscience? Our silence condones crime. Our apathy is their power source. Our indifference is the curtain these criminals hide behind, each time they ruin a woman’s life.

More than twenty cases of rape and molestation were reported in Haryana, in a month; let alone Delhi and rest of the country. And mind you, twenty is just another number which have been figured out; Heaven knows how many complaints the police refused to lodge. Add on to that, the number of cases which were not reported at all due to varied reasons like family reputation, the victim being too ashamed or afraid, the victim being murdered etc.

The toll of gang rapes seems to be increasing day by day. An ongoing struggle for emancipation of women seems unending; or, shall I say, redundant?

Going through a few back end stories of some of those cases, we find out that reasons for such inhumanity is that the accused wanted to teach the victim a lesson. Lesson for what? Because she refused to surrender before their unending, unethical pleasures; because she retaliated to their molestation; because she raised her voice!

What I see, the more such cases are being unearthed, the more these heinous crimes are happening! From one end of the country we come to know about a 6-year girl being raped by a father, and the entire “rape-culture” itself changes. Worse becomes the worst. Their inner animal would have mocked, “What an idea Sirji! Why the hell was I hunting down outside home when I have so many daughters/cousins/sisters?”
The moment an acid attack case hit our ears, galore of such cases started piling up. Probably, they got yet another Sirji’s idea. “A 50 bucks acid would satisfy my virility; or a lesson for her should satisfy my ego.”
You always see what you tend to see. They choose to see various methods to answer their overexcited hormonal calls from the pain and agony of women. And the government, society, feminists, pro-feminists and thinkers talk of emancipation of women’s destiny! It’s not their mentality, its sickness; they are the sufferers of low self esteem. You arrest them today and then release tomorrow to feed their sexual drives again. India has now become a land of wild and vile. 

Who are these men walking with us in the crowd and committing such heinous crime? Bringing on such news should make them realize of what they are doing. But is it happening? From any angle, do you see a sense of penance in their eyes? It’s not. It’ll not. Such news will give them new ideas to continue with their desires, ideas to sodomize! That’s it.

No, I am not asking to keep such news at low; not to raise your voice. But only raising voice won’t work. A story should always end with a moral. The headlines must change from “A girl was allegedly raped” to “An attempted rape was FIRed and a finger has been taken out of his body.” Personally, I have surrendered hoping that the mentality of men would change. No, the situation would only keep getting worse. No education, morale or therapy can make them gentlemen. Because they are not men, they are animals! Capital punishment is an easy walk. That girl who is gets raped dies every day; every morning waking up she fights with herself, fights with the mockery of the society, fights answering how ‘exactly’ was she raped, fights for being a ‘She’! Capital punishment doesn't justify those tears. Such people should also be agonized and tortured to death!

Against the strangers who took away my sanctity;
Against the injustice I bore yet never seemed pretty;
Against the darkest night I fear talking even to myself;
Against each tear that ran through my eyes on itself;
Against the present with a violence;
Against the people who never realized my essence;
Against the world that took away my toy;
Against the rules that killed my joy;
Against each devil the government spare
I dare! 

Yes, I Killed You - An Open Letter

I pray the angels come and usher you into God's presence
May they carry you, like I wanted to, when you fall asleep.
May His love on you be overwhelming, dear daughter! 
May you laugh in the presence of the angels,
The curse of death loses its sting, sooner or later..!!

Although God called you home so early,
With so many dreams we had, so many songs unsung.
Those lullabies that I tucked in my bosom,
You'll be in my heart, in my dreams.
The moments we had I will carry through, benumb.

I know I am the sinner, and yet,
On bended knees I pray for you,
As tear splash down my cheek.
These tears in my heart will water my prayers
To you near His heart, may He keep..!!

You have every reason to push me away
You, and should, hate me for this way
I am the culprit, I do confess
Dying in the dead trepidation I pray you listen
The story of your mother, her cries forbidden..!!

Perhaps everything that frightens us is
Something helpless that wants our love.
Torn with anxieties and blighted,
Far from the Lord’s world even I came
Only not to be expected.

As a clay toy we play with in summer,
Is left to mix itself with mud in rain.
I grew up as a broken part of a tree
Bled with the orgy of
Ignorance and disdain.

Never allowed to raise my voice,
I acquired a habit of permanent astray,
Never admitted how I hated the wolf-whistlers
Like hungry crocodiles ready to devour their prey.
I sanctioned it, through their action and my inaction.

A hapless girl with the image of my prince,
I used to dream of every night.
A little heaven of hope mixed with despair
That he will enter my life,
And the dark days will one day be fair.

The day came; I did not know would be so dark
A fool’s paradise I was in; I was sold out.
Dreams that I would make his life heaven
Oh! I was a burden for them too
They demanded their voice out.

Yet I endured, life can’t be so ruthless
Now, perhaps, I am at my right place
“Hands that he has held mine, fluttered my heart
With bricks, he has made this house
I’ll give it my soul, my every part.”

But Alas.! Even that was not meant for me.
If he would only smile,
I would have given him my heart.
If he would only just grazed my hand,
I would have undressed both of us.

But a subjugated soul couldn't dream so pure.
Where I wanted to love him,
He craved for my body.
Where I yearned for his touch,
He embarrassed me with an authority.

O daughter! How should I put my tears in words?
The fear, the turmoil, the torpid, the chain
Wretched me through each day year-by-year
From an infant I grew too old,
With a hope, nothing is permanent, my dear!

But Alas! Nothing has changed.

The body is still susceptible to pain
It only has to eat and breathe the air; and sleep.
Blood flows within the thick skin, I don’t know why.
The body shudders as it shuddered,
Now voice doesn't come out, I have stopped to try.

But Alas! Nothing has changed.

Tortures are just as they were,
Only the houses have grown bigger.
The fact that I am a girl still haunts
It bruises, swells, oozes, bleeds and linger.

But Alas! Nothing has changed.

It’s just that men have become more foppish outside.
Their ways to argue their righteous and justify are fancy.
But the howl with which the body answers to them,
Was, is and ever will be a cry over death
According to the age-old agony and pitch.

But Alas! Nothing has changed.

Except for the course of rivers,
The line of forests, the color of flowers,
The stretch of coasts, deserts and glaciers,
The tides of oceans, the anguish of nature,
The height of mountains, the number of creatures.

Except perhaps the manners of society
The eccentricity of ceremonies and culture
Evolution of science, books and gadgets
The dreams, the aspirations
Leisure, attitude, sports and matches.

But, amidst those landscapes still wanders my soul,
It disappears, returns, draws nearer, moves away.
A stranger to itself, phlegmatic,
Unsure, uncertain of its own existence,
As if the body has nowhere to stay.

In that mannerism, the soul suffocates
The movement of hands to shield the head remains the same.
The body writhes, jerks and tries to pull away.
So many lives at stake, still they sit so calm
As if they have all time in the world to fix the problem.

They say you are what you do, not what you say.
What they did to me made me cry at times
And made me spend sleepless nights
The religion they boast of,
I am in all their worship.
Yet, as a wife at home, I am battered
As a girl child, I am killed
As a student, I am tricked
As a worker, I am asked
As a stranger on the road, I am raped.

I bore it somehow, I know not
How I gathered the strength.
But I couldn't muster up the courage
To see you in the same pain at length

With the dreams of a future bright
With the feeling what I was doing the best
I killed you…
I killed you with my own bloody hands.

I've closed my eyes to their hypocrisy for long enough.
It’s time for the awakening, I prefer..
Of my soul and their conscience. But
I want to let you know that you have my love forever.

Learn, my child, to look at life early as a serious matter.
It’s is hard; it does not pamper anybody,
And for every time it strokes you
It gives you ten blows.

Become accustomed to that soon,
But don't let it defeat you.
Decide to fight.
Close the door and cry out loud,
But never show the tear to those proud.

I want to sing you the song of your own strengths.
I want you to tell a different story.
I want you to be just you, not anyone else.
To be unique, beautiful, individual self.

I want you to be out loud grateful with you.
I want to you believe in that is bigger than you.
I want to help you have a go at choices.
I want to help you savour being in the world.
I want to encourage you to get up and try again
And have another go.

I want to help you find your signature strengths
So that you can give to others and be kind.

You have to keep this story running
Because it’s time for my goodbye,
But you have to fight.
Not because you hate the present less,
But because you love the future bright.

When your innocence does not make you vulnerable,
When your love does not make you weak,
When you muster the courage to fight back tear,
Come back to my womb, my love,
That pain of being a mother, I will proudly bear…

A Rishtaa In Disguise

Assalam Alaykum Baba, if I may call you so. I am your grandson’s new tutor. From today I’ll teach him Science, Math and Hindi and I must tell you he managed to impress me on the very first day itself,” I said with a bit of hesitation to a septuagenarian. His aged skin was moulded into an almost permanent beam. Years of ups and downs were etched by every deep line and wrinkle on his face. Yet his unruffled eyes never seemed to be permanently lost deep into his thoughts and unhappiness. His lips were slightly turned down and his forehead had deep creases that pulled his eyebrows losing. Constantly struggling with the melancholy that washed over him, he raised his eyes to greet me. “Namastey beta,” he said humbly folding his hands before me. “I am glad you are able to take out time for my grandchild and his friends. Mind you, they are all very naughty; they might get you on nerves,” added chuckling.

“Don’t worry, I am not going to throw in the towel provided you get me some stories I know grey beards are always loaded with.”

“Pleasure would be mine. I am bored to death. You are any time welcome to my home. And it’ not a compensation, it’s an invitation. No strings attached,” saying this, the grey head of the old man drooped again.

And then it became a custom. Daily after my engineering classes, I used to teach my students, if I may say so, for an hour or so and then rush to Baba’s room. He started telling numerous invaluable things which I would never find in any book. His age demanded restrictions in movement, but his thoughts were still liberal, unobstructed, and loud and clear - music to my ears. Day by day, the family became a part and parcel of my life – my student was more like my child and Baba more of an inspiration. He narrated me stories of holy Quran, didn’t miss an opportunity to come closer to the two longest epics where I actually found I knew lesser than him, gave a daily food of thought, philosophy of living and the strength of an independent mind.
I can never forget his remarkable message,” Remember, it's possible for you to join the rest of the world and still retain your liberty and ideals. Being honest is not enough; it has to be in a right direction. There is no point admitting honestly with pride I am a killer. Your honesty should follow your deeds and then humility. Mistakes are meant to be acknowledged, don’t court it with excuses and problems of life.”

A hapless language-freak that I was, he started tutoring me with Urdu. I had entered the doorsteps of his home as a teacher least and pleasantly knowing I myself would become a student of such an adorable teacher. Going back home, I used to write my name in all possible languages I knew and cherish. By then I had added another book to my shelf.

I had celebrated Eid many a times with my friends back in school, college and otherwise. But that was an Eid I observed closely. Seeing Appi (that’s how I used to address Baba’s daughter-in-law and my student’s Mom) and other family members arranging for prayers and feasts used to excite me and I placed an urge to keep a-day fast to get a better feel. To my surprise, he agreed. He explained the rituals that are followed, Appi was given the charge. I still remember how much I had eaten on the grounds of fast for the next day and Baba could only laugh at my full-toss drama. I tried mugging the prayers to be offered and the prostrations. But disappointed I sat next to him,”Baba, I am a disgrace. I couldn’t remember the prayers – the words seem too difficult and time is so less. I should better postpone this thought of keeping fast until I am prepared.”

He said, “God, be He your or mine, receives only one language – submission. If you have good intention and an innocent heart, these scriptures and verses do not matter. I am a learned man, so I will teach you how to pray but do you know why to pray?” Those words had a magic. Faith and love cannot be persecuted and my faith meant no harm. I was not to be bound in the pool of compliance, I wanted to float and swim in it. I was made to prostrate next to Appi. I closed my eyes and murmured,”My Lord, I am a child and in plain words I have a wish list. Baba said you are a polyglot, so says my Mom. So here I am. I seek your attention. And this selfish girl has her wishes to be fulfilled.” I touched Appi when she was offering Namaz. It was bliss, an inner peace and to my wonder the very next day I received what I had prayed for. I got my Eidi – my first Eidi.

Children celebrated Diwali with me and shared the Diwali gifts my biological family had sent. Baba showed so many dimensions of life and righteous. The marked words used to remind me of my father – same thoughts worded out from different mouths. We discussed, argued, complimented each other and squabbled around like pals. Then a miscible part of the family, Appi expressed, “I wish you were a Muslim. I would have made you all mine.” Even I cherished. But the words of the egalitarian grand old man I can never forget, “You don’t have to amend yourself to be my daughter. This would be grave to my teachings, love and blessings. I adore you the way you are and it’s your innocent heart I would always want to keep with myself. Life teaches one to play many roles and abide by many relations with a single name. That’s its beauty. Don’t ruin its magnificence.” He then whispered some Quranic verses in my ears and said, “You are my daughter. That’s how we welcome our children when they are born. It’s just an expression of showing affection. Be the same. God doesn’t seek a name, he seeks a moral heart.” Saying this he called all my students who were there standing with a Rakhi to be tied on their wrists by me. That day was Rakshabandhan.

Indeed Baba, you didn’t change me.
                                You added a new me.

Last year when you left me and this world, I am left with these reminisces and memories. I still don’t remember the prayers, but when I close my eyes and somehow He listens promptly. Whenever I give up and the dawn breaks, I muster up courage to give one more try. I am still selfish, but trying to learn the art of forgiveness. I am still stubborn, but don’t ruin my apology with reasons.
But at the end of the day, I miss you. May you rest in peace!
Inaa lillaahi wa inaa illayhi rajaoon (Baba, don’t laugh if you find it wrong)
And I know you had asked me to keep us at low because the world is too blind to understand humanity. But as you had taught, if even a single candle is glowing somewhere, there is still a hope. If even one person could make out what I learnt from you, that would be my tribute to you..!!

I was weak; He came as an Al-Mukeet
I wanted to be heard; He heard, Al-Mujeeb
I was a sinner and my tears dried
None but He raised my with pride
I am not judgmental
I am not a convert
I am a Muslim
In the name of God..!!

I pray for strength to carry on
I do not wish to judge
And when I close my eyes in His name
I only know I am loved
I am not a fanatic
I am not a convert
I am a Christian
In the name of God..!!

They consider them pure
Even I worship; they ignore
I shadow my brain
To lighten my heart
I am not an aristocrat
I am not a convert
I am an untouchable
In the name of God..!!

My heart liked following you
You walked ahead, still I didn’t pry
But today, out I live yet I die
I can’t dance on my own music, I ask you why?
I am not a lost identity
Not a stuff to be clawed
I am an existence; a daughter
In the name of God..!!

A Reason To Wait ...

A worthless gift
I felt like giving you
I see lovers around
That’s what they all do
Lunatic me, in my desire to fathom
A love pure
Now I am afraid
Would you consider me an eye-sore?
A cue for my budding love, you had said:
"Presumptions are grave
And you can adore me
With whatever you brave" :)

Some say perfection is unattainable
For most things that's explainable,
But in your arms and with your heart's affection
I found a brief moment of perfection

You rested your lips on mine
I never knew that loving you
Could be this fine
But scared that I am
If it's a dream
My mind..
 My evil mind
But again,
Coy to his love, an eager slave
You had kissed my forehead
That enchanted
"Presumptions are grave" :)

You had held me
Like there was no tomorrow
I had suddenly forgotten
My past sorrow

A surreal mix of fact and fantasy
All I needed was a cue
For I was scared of losing you
If only you knew
With the touch that I still crave for
He said:
"Baebie, presumptions are grave
I love you and you are mine.." :)

 But then perplexed that you were:
“I love you but then
I fear
In the times to come
Can I see you this near?
An era seems to pass
From where I stand
I am afraid
If I am worth holding your hand

Kissing your lost eyes
I uttered:
I choose you over life and death
Don't worry;
 I'll move heaven and hell to get there.
You can't talk; you won't talk about it,
I understand.
But put your worries in my hands.
Lay your head down,
And believe that
I will do anything to stop your tears.
Without a sword
Or a great white horse
Or armor
You are my prince
Whom I'd swoon over, any day
So go and do your prime job
I'll wait for you
Until I get into my graveyard

 Today that we are apart
I think of it every time
That I look at the stars
I love you with fervor
That time can never reverse
I had given you the promise
I am only yours
This memory is mine
But that moment was ours

And I make it today
For I know one thing,
My love for you is blind
And it will always be that way.
I know you will come back
You are not gone, you are just away
After all,
You taught me
Presumptions are grave
Do I have a say? :)

Apne Apne Ajnabee

ek umr hai jo guzaarni hai unke begair hamein
ek lamha hai jo kaata nhi jaata
woh apne hoke bhi paas nhi hote
yeh dard hai jo dil ke qareeb hota hai

yeh dekh mohabbat mein laparwaahi hamari
woh ab nhi toh zindagi jeena bhool gaye
yeh dekh laparwaahi unke maangi firaaq ki
deewaron pe likhe mere naam ko mitaana bhool gaye

woh khamosh rehkrrr bhi sadaaein mujhko dete hain
dikhaate nhi, prr apni mohabbat ki wafaein mujhko dete hain
woh kehte hain hum ajnabee hain, saath nhi antim saans tak
prr apni saanson mein meri duaon ki mehekti hawaein rakhte hain

yeh ajeeb hi kasmakash hai hans na dena yaaron
hum rulate bhi hain ek doosre ko
toh ek doosre keliye..!!!

The Story Untold ...

“Doctor, are you sure? Really, I don’t have time?” she asked. Doctor remained silent, as if he was trying to be hopeful. But quickly he added, “You have a month with you. You still have hopes.” She couldn’t understand, “I am so young, I am only 26. My life hasn’t even started. My career has not even taken its shape. I was supposed to support my family. What happened to me?” Thinking all these she left the hospital. For the first time the honking streets and the hustle and bustle of surroundings didn’t bother her.  She sat in a park – the park which had always been her second home, the place where she becomes a child, and the place which makes her forget the bitterness of life.
But that day was a different day. Every word of the doctor was echoing in her ears – vibrantly and clearly and was tormenting her. She was feeling helpless. It was as if the life was making her mad but asking her to calm down; as if she was bleeding but could not even ask why she was stabbed. She saw her friends playing a new game. They were those friends of her with whom she used to enjoy playing hide-and-seek, merry-go-round - the games which the time had forgotten. Those kids were sobriquet of smile for her. But that day she didn’t feel that enthusiastic anymore. She was chained, she was lost. Seeing her sitting on the bench, her friends came jumping to her to play “What’s Special Today” – a game she had created in which everyone had to narrate one good thing one learnt that day. But that day she could not admire her day. She recalled she had forgotten to have a couple dance with the vegetable vendor – a customary 2minutes dance she used to make sure she spends with a 60-year old woman selling vegetables by the side of road that falls towards her home. Haplessly she went astray. She did not, after a long time, forget to rejoice the brilliant sunshine that shafted through the skylight.
She came back to her room only to find her roommate was not there. She switched off the lights and sat quietly until her landlady knocked at the door. But she was not hungry; she was numb and was not able to understand what was happening to her. She called up her Mom to footloose herself.  The moment she heard her Mom’s voice, she could not speak. This was certainly not a thing she had ever wanted to tell. She shaking lips remained locked and she sat back speechless. Drops of tears passed through her eyes when she heard her Mom saying “Keep taking food in time. You are really very lazy. You won’t even eat anything unless someone comes and feeds you or your stomach really starts growling….”and on and on and on. It was not that she was iterating those for the first time. A talk with mother had always been like this; as if a transistor had been shoved in her head and she could not just put it off. But that day was a different day. She wanted to listen more of it. She wanted to tell her how much she loved her, that she looks beautiful when she wears blue, that she should take care of her skin, the wrinkles are making her look older and drier. But she could not.  What if Mom senses that she is in some deep trouble? What if her motherly instincts make her worried for her child staying miles away from her? She decided she would not let her family know. She disconnected the call. Restlessness did not spare her though. She started writing down. Somehow she calmed herself down. Things would fall in place. Crying would not give anything. There was still a hope. 
Day passed, but her body stopped responding. But when she had no choice, she chose to believe. “Weakness is the greatness sin.”- a line by Swami Vivekananda her heart would whisper to her mind whenever she felt weak. Unfortunately, everything she tried only to taste the flavor of failure. This day was her last day with the world, perhaps. She decided not to waste the most wonderful day of her life, she did not want to cry, crib or complain.
Her father called her up, “Is that you who has sent me a bouquet? Why? It’s neither my birthday nor father’s day.” And he chuckled. “In the race of achieving something big in life, I never got time to tell you whatever I am today are because of you and for you.”
 She called up her tattler sister – her best friend, her adorable company and her life. And as expected she spoke volumes of actually nothing. But this time she enjoyed her every word. It was one of those times when one wants to be quiet and just sit around one’s dear ones, enjoy listening. She suddenly got up, dressed herself, went to a nearby shop, bought her sister’s favorite chocolate and started eating. It was relishing.
Time was ticking. And she suddenly got on her feet – her best friend, she had to talk to her. She had to tell her everything in her life would have gone wrong had she not been there. She was her soul. She called her up, “I don’t know which idiotic bench in the school was that that I met you.!! You were one pain in the ass. I hate it when you keep talking nonsense. I hate it when you get nutty. I hate it when you don’t study and crib on the syllabus. I hate it when you eat ice cream when you know you will get cold. But I somehow like it when you say you are sorry. I like it when your nose gets red and you swear on me that you would never touch it again. And I love you the most when you actually again pick up one. I hate the way you hastily cross roads, but I love it when you hold my hand and stand on my left to guide you. I hate it when you do not understand my point, but I love you the most when I find only and only you when I am lost.” She could not say much and hanged the phone.
She wiped her tears when her roommates entered. “Ah, my loves. I don’t know what relation I share with you. Perhaps a friend is not the word, nor is a family. I don’t know if there exists any relation between the two. It was probably you who made me Room Idol – I never knew I sing so well. And that mess in the kitchen, phew..!! I am sorry that I scolded you for walking under the sun. Understand – you have migraine. But I have always loved keeping your head in my lap. I don’t know if it soothened you but I loved kissing your forehead all the time. Today I die for that half cooked bhujia. Probably I am a lesbian, I loved my roommates more than a guy.”
And the as usual response, ”Why you acting nutty? High or what?” she chuckled.
It is 2 at night. She made a final call. He picked up the call. Half asleep, he asked, “What happened? Is everything okay?” She said, ”Nothing. You sleep off. Let the cell be on and keep it near you.” Deep asleep that he was, he did the same. She could hear him breathing. She could feel it. She wanted to speak, but her voice fumbled,” Would you mind if I say I love you? You are my friend and you adore me. But I could never muster up courage to tell that I love you. I loved you when you appreciated me and I loved you when you scolded me. Can, for a moment, I can take you as the person whom I love? That essay that you had first written, I still have those sheets. Is it okay if I keep with me? I am sorry I had recorded our first conversation. You came as a surprise in my life. You have grown matured, you speak big things now, you have huge dreams. I love seeing you enthusiastic. But happiness always follows insecurity. Will you remember me or my name at least when I am not around? You have given me an immense respect as a friend. Would you start hating me if I tell you that I love you? Will you forgive me that I lied to you many a times only to hear your voice? I irritated you a lot, but I didn’t have time. Else, I would not have minded waiting for you all my life. Take care. Don’t be angry with me when get to know this. I’ll never leave you – even if you don’t want me. Because you are my angel.” She felt good. He did not hear anything. But she knew he would understand her, after all she was his friend.
She has now grown weak, too weak. And by then, doctor too had lost all hopes. While crossing the road, something came across her mind and she, all of a sudden, stopped when a van ran over her. She died , of a road accident, so that the family bears with a sudden pain and not gradual agony.
She is no more with an untold story to go with her to her grave…