On Women’s Day here is a short story on revenge. Harsh and hard, we hope that it connects at some level, because bias and inequality exist in reality and in the minds of people. Let’s hope that we break the bias and march towards an equality where humanity and being human trumps all differences.
With bloodshot eyes, tears running in a frenzy she screamed at her image. ‘You will pay for this. Do you understand!’ The reflection stared back at her, helpless, trapped and unable to get rid of that pathetic expression of hopelessness heavily mixed with anger and suffocation.
Of course, revenge is the word. These people cannot see you happy. ‘They’ will avenge you for being light spirited, for being sure of yourself, for pursing a dream, for saying ‘no’ and for being ‘you.’
Do you want to live or be alive?
These stoic, cool as ice people. These people who claim to be well – wishers and society.
And so here ‘I’ realize that when ‘they’ are going to grope me with their cold ruthless hands, that when my invisible to the naked eye blood trickles and makes me feel limp only then will they feel avenged. Only then, when they see’ me’ unable to move, unable to think and unable to put a single step out of their defined boundaries, will they have assumed that they set the record straight.
The unspoken understood rule
What record? I am a woman! Not a dreaming bubbling fountain of hopes and inspirations, not a dreamer, not an achiever. I am a woman! I broke the unspoken understood law through generations. The law that makes every woman that resides here a willing and automatic privy to. Also, the law that clearly states, you can think and work hard as much you want, but you shall do only what the ‘we’ the ‘us’ deem fit.
You may be good at some things but ‘we’ hardly care if you are running a company, a school or anything for that matter. All that matters at the end of the day is how well you fit into ‘our’ compiled lists of duties.
The closing in
The reflection now began to move. The creases relaxed and a slow sly smile played around those thin lips. Oh yes, ‘I’ fooled them alright. Not that ‘I’ didn’t try to be a good girl and stick up to those outrageous standards. Trust ‘me’ I did try very hard. But there is this voice inside of ‘me.’ A voice that has a heart and a head. The voice that kept silently fueling my thoughts, reminding me to silently trudge along truth, wisdom, elevation and skill. The voice tells ‘me’ now that it had always reasoned that ‘they’ would come. Come with an array of weaponry ranging from emotional drama, assault, abuse, taunts as well as force.
Please ‘I’ knew it, yet how could ‘I’ help it. How could ‘I’ help falling in love with X even though he belonged to caste Y. Besides, ‘I’ couldn’t help being single, independent in spite of knowing that ‘I’ was born to be someone else’s arm candy. How could ‘I’ help believing to manage a career and home, knowing that I would be constantly judged? How could ‘I’ help slapping that ogling and touchy guy, knowing fully well that he would take revenge? Oh please tell me, how’d ’I’ pretend to just not exist, not have an opinion, not feel angered, not feel alive! Please someone tell me, how could ‘I’ just pretend to not be ‘me’.
But the ‘us’ and ‘we’ never do understand, do they? They find it so below themselves to acknowledge our existence, our wants, and our innermost unsaid beings. All ‘they’ want is the pattern to continue, the age old phenomena of subordination must continue. Those who falter will pay. Those who break the bias will do so at a cost.
She checked the image reflected on the glass once again. Oh God, why did ‘I’ not become like one of ‘those’ who become an example of the finest of women. Who do what they want, live by their own standards and are successful being who they are. She flinched, the image shook her head and the eyes said it all. Yes, ‘those’ are there, few of them are there, but are you so certain that ‘those’ had no price to pay. That ‘those’ got it as easily as the ‘he’ of the world?
The loss of hope
She wavers for a minute, unsure of her steps, more so because she cannot remember the last time she held her head high and walked. She looks at the reflection for some inspiration. ‘They’ are now just behind her, outstretching their large hands. She tries to duck, tries to punch them back, tries to fight. But every time she hits ‘them’ with her arguments, thoughts, opinions, anger, she is treated with the same disdain.
And so this was inevitable as ‘I’ always knew ‘I’ would have to pay for being ‘me’.
‘I’ can feel them, grabbing me down, pulling from the depths of within to the depths of outside as I shout harder. Please, please let ‘me’ be. ‘I’ will try my best to keep ‘us’ happy, ‘I’ will slog and sweat and bleed for the strength of ‘we’, but please just let ‘me’ be alive. Don’t judge ‘me’, don’t bully ‘me’, and please don’t kill ‘me.’
‘They’ hear none of this and feel threatened now as ‘I’ am putting up an unexpected fight here. ‘They’ call for more help and suddenly hordes and hordes of ‘them’ come. Faceless, brainless, heartless, now there are more of ‘them.’ ‘I’ cannot understand why are ‘they’ all here, what did ‘I’ even do to ‘them’, but here are ‘they’, charging towards me. ‘Their’ fury rising like a cloud of dust and slowly transforming into a tornado, whose eye is drawing towards ‘me’, to suck ‘me’, to take ‘me’ away from everything and everybody ‘I’ recognize.
The image shatters, blood trickles, the heart bleeds, the eyes swell with a barrage of tears. This is it! ‘I’ am dying and can feel life slipping away. The cold hands grabbing me with more vigor and suddenly the noises cease, the beats stop and there is a silence that is more deafening than the loudest sound. ‘I’ am lost, not because ‘they’ are here, but because suddenly all senses, hopes, dreams have fled from ‘me.’ ‘They’ have had their revenge and ‘I’ am now at their mercy, slumped on ‘their’ feet with unseeing eyes, an unfeeling heart and an unthinking brain.
‘They’ rejoice, shout and make merry.
A new begininng
Just when ‘I’ thought it was all over, ‘I’ see this beautiful child running towards ‘me.’ With innocence and happiness it has no understanding of this world. It has not figured out the ‘I’ and the ‘we’. It still believes that it is important to dream, fly and conquer.
‘I’ look at its pretty face and suddenly the image peeks from those broken glass pieces. Maybe, this is not over yet. ‘They’ have taken their revenge, but it’s ‘my’ turn now. ‘I’ will avenge ‘me’ and all ‘those’ of ‘me’ who have been slaughtered at the altar of society, countries, perceptions and patriarchy. ‘I’ will have my revenge, but ‘my’ methods are different.
No ‘I’ shall not curb, not negate and neither inflict violence. ‘I’ will love, teach and dream along with this child. ‘I’ will stand alone and grow through this child, this new generation and make sure to stop the ‘us’ from harming this budding innocence. Oh yes, ‘I’ will have my revenge, and only then will ‘I’ become the ‘we’ that tomorrow will be proud of. Let tomorrow love, respect and care the ‘us’. “That,” I say to my friend in the mirror, ”will be ‘my’ revenge.”