“A long long time ago, my friend and I were taking a walk on the narrow roads of our colony. It was dusk, and the walk was slow paced. I was in 9th grade at that time, the prime of my adolescence.
We both were engrossed in random yet intense conversations about school, friends and the usual who-likes-whom banter. Of the two of us, I was walking on the outside. From the corner of my eye I noticed a boy on a blue Bajaj scooter riding towards us. I didn’t pay much attention as our discussions were so engaging, of course.
It all happened in a fraction of a second. And I have replayed that fraction in slow motion more than a million times in my head.
Yet, all I remember is his right hand stretched out to grope my breasts; I remember his hand squeezing my breast so hard that the pain lingered on for a while; I remember him speeding off with confidence, without a wobble; I remember not knowing what had hit me, while my friend screamed out aloud; I remember my face feeling flushed, hot with shame; I remember lying to my friend that I wasn’t hurt and hurrying home with tears stinging my eyes.
To this day I dont know who that bespectacled boy was. I don’t know what he looks like. I don’t know what thrill he got out of doing what he did. But he taught me, at that tender age, what it felt like to be violated. He taught me that women had breasts, a body part that men lust after. A body part they are so crazy about that they can hurt for it and be violent to satiate their urge. And therefore a part that needed to be hidden under bras, stoles and dupattas.
It took me years to unlearn what he taught me. Today, when I look back at this incident, I try to understand this boy and his toxic perceptions of masculinity and power. I know the drivers of such behaviour and try to reason them in my head. I may understand now, but i will never forget. I sure as hell wish he remembers and realizes what he did that day to a young girl, and to his own self. And I sincerely hope he grew up to be a better man.”
They said, “Please draw me in a playground for children, with swings, slides and a lot of flowers.”