Saturday, January 5, 2013

From Nirbhaya to Bhaya.....

The past few weeks have caused a national uproar over the way a fellow human being has been tormented. I chose to use “fellow human being” instead of “woman” because; she was first another human and then a woman. The sheer inhuman nature of the crime makes me wonder how the hands did not tremble and heart did not bleed as they treated another human being with so much cruelty as to put the worst enemy tormenter camps to shame.

There has been an unending debate by various sections, some demanding harsher punishment/capital punishment , some criticizing women for the clothes they wear, some asking women to learn self defense, some advocating teaching men how to behave with women…etc. But I am not even getting there. It is not about what should be done, what could have been done, who is to blame, or how tough laws should be. I am still closer home, on how the women around me have been reacting to the crime. How fear has started impacting their psychosis.

The horrific nature of the crime and the heartless gut wrenching manner in which a woman has been abused has left an indelible fear in the minds of scores of women across the country especially the women around me. A friend reported how giddy she has been feeling ever since the news broke out and every time she talks about it she feels stressed out and jumpy. Another friend didn’t want to talk about the episode because she felt nauseated every time anyone even spoke about the issue.

My mother didn’t want me to hire a driver to drop them off to the railway station because I would have to come back alone in my car with an unknown driver, even though he would be from a known source. A friend, who commutes to work by auto everyday as she could not drive due to a back problem, brought a vehicle last week, so that she may drive to work. She reasoned her life was more important than the back pain.

And today as I picked up a friend to go to the market, she came down in a lovely sleeveless dress and even before I could comment on how nice she looked, she ran upstairs. “Just a moment, I’ll be back” she said. I saw her grabbing a shawl and draping it around her. “Why take the risk”, she said as I looked quizzically at her.

The fear of suffering, they say, is worse than the suffering itself.

It does not mean that I have ceased being fearful, but I have ceased to let fear control me. I want to accept fear as a part of life -specifically the fear of the unknown; and I want to go ahead despite the pounding in my heart that says: turn back, turn back, and don’t venture too far for you know not what lies beyond. I want to be a butterfly that spreads its wings out in the sun. I want to be the heroine of my life, not the victim and I hope all the women out there want to be the same.


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