I was walking down the highway waiting for a rikshaw when I saw few eyes staring at me, from up to down repeating the gaze. I stopped and transfixed my gaze on them with a smile for a while, because I thought they might want me to acknowledge them too. Because I thought they assumed themselves to be deserving to get captured by my mind as a retaliation for assuring me of my body with such luscious stare. And I gave them the attention their eyes were barking for.
I was sitting in a metro, where an old man was feeling my hips with his’. Synchronously catching a glance on the lumps poking out from the fabric of my t-shirt. The man was vulnerable, maybe he wanted a physical gesture to be comforted, maybe just a kind pat on a back as a reciprocation for the consistent rubbing of his hips against mine! I gave him a side hug with smile on my face.
I was sitting in my classroom watching the rehearsals of plays to be showcased at an event in my college. Actors cracking lucid jokes which were followed by the giggles and fits of uncontrollable laughter aimed at my gender, were entertaining my classmates. While they briefly looked at me between their laughs, I figured out what they wanted out of me. They were checking on me if I was enjoying such jokes too. I knew they expected me to clap and laugh and glance sideways to contaminate the anger in the eyes of some, with the vulgar mifit and illiterate remarks. I did the same. I giggled with tears in my eyes.
I have been blamed to be seeking attention while declaring myself as a feminist. I have been showered with disgusted expressions of words and looks whenever I have taken a stand for the rights a women must possess. But trust me, I feel the most unfortunate for even proclaiming that we women should be treated as equals without being judged of a false fragility just because of a different body structure that yours. But you have forced me to be, what I am today. And me existing as this won’t cease until you alter your mentality and rudimentary beliefs.
-Shriti Om Pandey