Thursday, March 22, 2012

Time-time ki baat hai

Sometimes, I lie awake at night wondering what I might do if I was just walking along somewhere —maybe on a deserted road running parallel to a railway track, and I stumbled and fell and when I picked myself up, I saw that I had nearly rolled into an old mass grave.

It could happen. All sorts of things happen. For instance, I once heard of a salesman in the UK who put himself up for sale on ebay. I also read of a Bengali village where people sell kidneys — their own, and their wives’ kidneys too, as if it was a joint bank account.

A lot of bad things happen. I read something about a mother giving birth outside a public hospital in Madhya Pradesh, with a pig trying to drag off the newborn. And about a Dalit groom who needed police protection before he could ride a mare to his wedding. A Moroccan teenager killed herself after being forced to marry her rapist. Such terrible things happen and most happen ‘din dahaade’. In broad daylight.

I lie awake at night, sometimes, wondering if the protagonists of these true stories lie awake at night worrying about what they might do to prevent bad things from happening.

What could the villagers sell when there’s nothing left to sell? What do the young people think, knowing that a market that doesn’t want anything from them — not even the strength of healthy bodies. Just their vital organs, so that the lives of others might be prolonged? Do they think that if they just stay home all day, or at least, don’t venture out after dark, their kidneys will be safe?

Did the mother worry about dogs and cats in addition to marauding pigs in case she happened to deliver the baby at night on a public footpath? What could she do to prevent giving birth at night on a public footpath?

And the girl who had acid tossed at her ‘din dahade’ in a public place — does she lie awake wondering if things might have been better if she had picked a different time of day to venture out? And that young woman who was sexually assaulted by a gang of men in Gurgaon? Would 8 pm have been safer? What about 7 pm? What about never?


Rahul Banerjee said...

the world remains unsafe for women both within and outside the home. this is something that needs to be said again and again. congratulations for stressing this.

Mukta Raut said...

pray. pray hard.

bigindianwedding said...

thanks for sharing

Dr Mandeep Khanuja said...

interesting POV

seema said...

Hi Annie.I was at one of your writing workshops at Pune last year.(not the recent one)I wanted to share some experiences like the women who shared them with you and Smriti for 'The bad boys guide-'Will you be interested?Pl let me know.though I am not sure how to put them in words still.
Seema Patwardhan
I am on fb too.Your message button wasnt on so wrote here.

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