The Closest Corner

Today’s Project 365 prompt is


When you’re away from home, what person, thing, or place do you miss the most?

I don’t travel much on my own except on the few official tours that I have to make. But whenever I do, I do miss my people and my home. The girls who otherwise get scolded for creating a mess or because of their shouts and screams are the ones who are missed the most. The order and discipline of the five star property somehow makes me feel lonely. At least that’s what it does to me. I am in constant touch with my family through technology while on tours. Yet there’s something that is missing all the time. A personal touch.

Apart from the people, I do miss every single corner of my house. The one place that I miss most is my bedroom. The peace, the my time (however little) and the sound sleep that it provides me is much more precious than the comfort and hours provided by the super soft mattresses of the luxury hotels.

image

So which is your favourite corner of the house or the most missed person back home?

Posted from WordPress for Android

I’m a Girl

Blog Action Day 2014

I’m taking part in Blog Action Day (#BAD2014) and the theme this year is #Inequality.

Being a female and from a country where gender discrimination continues to be an enormous problem, I didn’t have to think twice about the topic to write on.

The fight starts off from my mother’s womb.

Get the sex determination test done and abort if it is a girl.”

Yes. We start fighting for our lives even before life seeps into us.

In spite of all of this, I’m born. Alas!

For some reason I am not buried yet.

No one distributes sweets, throws a party or shows any happiness as they did when my brother was born. Instead you can hear them cry or curse me and my mother.

Every single minute from here on I keep getting unsolicited discourses. Mandates on what to wear, what not to wear. I’m told to keep my mouth shut under all circumstances regardless of whether I’m right or wrong. I’m told how I should not let my parents waste money on my education or personal development. After all the ultimate goal of my life is serving the husband and in-laws, handling the kitchen, the laundry and the kids.

Nobody is bothered about what I want from my life.

My brother gets freshly baked breads while my grandmother chooses to serve me with stale food. Even our cow gets better food than me. Of course, she gets them milk, dung and what not. The brother gets full-cream milk twice or thrice a day. I’m told that I should maintain my figure which alone might help get a low dowry demand from the groom. If God forbid I happen to be dusky or dark-complexioned, my life will be hell all along. You know it’s always Tall, Dark and HandsomeNever Short, Dark and Beautiful

I’m the second girl child in my family. My parents decide to admit me to a government school when they can easily afford to put me in the same private school that my elder sister goes to. And sometimes they also decide to not admit me to any school at all. All this because it was my fault that I was born as a daughter when they were expecting a son.

An eve-teaser chases me and I am forced to withdraw from attending coaching classes.

With great efforts I manage to crack competitive exams like IIT-JEE and CAT. With a lot of persuasion and assurance that the money spent on my education will be a good investment and my parents can expect good returns for the investments they have made on me so far, I get admitted into one of the premier engineering or management institutes. First day at the college and the professor tells me in as many words, “Girls getting into IIT (or IIM) is an utter wastage of seats. They get married, have children and leave jobs.

Fighting against all these odds, I crack the interview at world’s biggest IT company. I have completed a full year at work and produced remarkable results. This is what the CEO utters: “Women should trust “karma” instead of asking for pay raises.

I’m in the family way and I eagerly share the news with my manager. With twisted eyebrows he screams, “How could you do it? We have our Annual Sales Meeting around your due date.

I join back after my maternity leave and my manager hands me the pink slip. His argument that you’ll not be as dedicated as you’ve been so far.

My first appraisal after a year of motherhood. I’m not given any increment because I took my allotted leaves to take care of my child who was unwell.

The neighbour expired untimely. His wife was  forced to wear white clothes, abstain from attending family functions, watching television, listening to music, eating non-veg. Her brother-in-law lost his wife to an accident. He gets married within thirty days of her death.

And we engage in Kanjak and Durga Pooja. 

And we talk of equality and culture.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

No. This is not the story of every other female in India. But yes some of the situations quoted have been faced by  females in different contexts. Things definitely are improving for good. But the pace is slower than required. Parents have now become more understanding and supportive. Teachers are now more encouraging and helping. In-laws are now more accommodating and supportive. Companies are working towards making arrangements to support working mothers. The steps are being taken forward. But a lot has to be improved by us. A collective effort from all concerned will definitely improve the situation faster. Looking forward to a better place for all of us.

The Rebel

He loosened his grip. I was glad that he did. My wrist was paining. He leaned back against the wall and closed his eyes as if relieved after a long time. I was hurt, disgusted, anxious, scared, shameful, angry and confused. All at the same time. I looked on with curious eyes. Grandpa slowly and stealthily cleaned me up with his dhothi underneath the blanket even while mom and granny sat in the same room watching television. And then he would give me a Parrys toffee rolled in a translucent green wrapper saying, “Shreya to Daadu ki pyaari bachhi hai.” (Shreya is grandpa’s lovely baby).

At three I didn’t know how to react or whom to tell what. So, I kept staring into nothingness.

Dad’s distant cousin from Jhansi used to visit us often during business travels. I hate pethas because they remind me of him and the ugly sticky feeling he left me with every time he stayed over. Till I was nine I didn’t know how to react. Then on I started hiding and avoiding him completely. I even stopped attending family functions just to escape him.

When I was about eleven, I started responding rudely to grandpa and this uncle. In fact I was rude with everyone. Especially men. And those who asked me to help these men with anything. Dad, mom and other elders termed me as discourteous, ill-mannered, rude and stubborn. They labeled me as a rebel.

I regret not having told Mom or Dad about these incidents. But then, would they have believed me? That’s the thought that stopped me from sharing anything with either of them. They never told me or made me feel that they would believe me. Sometimes when I look back, I realize it was my fault that I didn’t react the way I should have for whatever reason. But then I also wonder that was it not my parents responsibility to drill down on why I was behaving in a certain manner. Instead they chose to blame me and letting me be the way I was. Alone and cocooned in the darkness of my fears. And masking it behind the rude behaviour.

Image courtesy of pat138241 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of pat138241 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

My dear daughter, I’m telling you this because I shudder at the simple thought of someone misbehaving with you. I want you to know that no matter who says what or who reacts in what manner, I’ll be there for you. You can count on me. I’ll listen to you. I believe you. I trust you more than anyone else. You can tell me anything that is bothering you at any hour of the day. I’m telling you this because I don’t want you to regret later. Speak up. Speak with me. I’m all ears for you my dear. Speak up even if you have committed a mistake. I promise you that I’ll not punish you. I would rather help you correct your mistake or teach you how to avoid it in future. I’ve been sent as a guardian angel and I promise to protect you in every way I can. And all you need to do is to believe me, trust me and share with me.

###################

CSA Stats Header

  1. Approximately 5 children die every day because of child abuse.
  2. 1 out of 3 girls and 1 out of 5 boys will be sexually abused before they reach age 18.
  3. 90% of child sexual abuse victims know the perpetrator in some way. 68% are abused by a family member.
  4. Most children become victims of abuse and neglect at 18 months or younger.
  5. In 2010, 1,537 children died of abuse or neglect. 79.4% were under the age of 4 and 47.7% were under the age of 1.
  6. Boys (48.5%) and girls (51.2%) become victims at nearly the same rate.
  7. 3.6 million cases of child abuse are reported every year in the U.S.
  8. Abused and neglected children are 11 times more likely to engage in criminal behavior as an adult.
  9. About 80% of 21-year-olds who were abused as children met criteria for at least one psychological disorder.
  10. 14% of all men and 36% of all women in prison were abused as children.
  11. Abused children are less likely to practice safe sex, putting them at greater risk for STDs. They’re also 25% more likely to experience teen pregnancy.

Information Source: DoSomething.Org

Related Articles:

Child Sexual Abuse: Top 5 Countries With the Highest Rates

Child Abuse in India – A study by the Ministry of Women and Child Development, Government of India

Abuse & Violence – ChildLine

India, a nation of child sex abusers?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

This post is part of the WordPress Daily Prompts : 365 Writing Prompts program where the aim is to post at least once a day based on the prompts that they have provided. Today’s prompt is, “Childlike: Explain your biggest regret — as though to a small child.

The author Rekha Dhyani is one of the contributors to the We Post Daily and blogs regularly at Dew Drops. She also shares her lucky clicks at The Crystal Trance.

Posted from WordPress for Android