The Mandatory Rite of Passage

Posted by Himakshi Nandwani
May 17, 2017

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While some look up to their own selves to find the strength and power to do things right; for some, their attributes may not necessarily be a force radiating from within. While to some a cause may be self-driven, others may have someone with hopes and aspirations, who time and again motivate them to go out there and take one for the team.

Till a point of time in recent past, I believed that we are only accountable for our own choices, actions, and consequences; and nobody else even remotely. While I’m the kind of person who’d rather be solo, it wouldn’t be wrong to say that we all need someone at one point or another in life whether or not we accept we do, whether or not we like it, whether or not they show up at the hour!

I started doubting my belief when a close friend of mine shared her account of one of the many Rites of Passage every Indian Girl has to mandatorily go through. If you know someone claiming otherwise, she is more likely to be lying, than being lucky.


She wouldn’t normally travel without prior plans or bookings, but an impromptu plan with a friend, coupled with her ardent desire to find adventure and surprises (in what turn out to be unideal circumstances most of the time!) led Kasak (name changed) to the Ladies Coach of a short route train back home. Needless to say, it was crowded. She acquainted herself with a group of girls her age, to kill time. It wasn’t long before they reached their destination.

However the struggle to get off was something that she wouldn’t easily forget-a mob solely of males swarming the only exit point (for no reason whatsoever), making it impossible to sneak out without making an uncomfortable physical contact with at least three men at once. She’d wrapped herself with a scarf anyway, before moving out to protect herself, but all in vain.

No word is apt to describe the disgust and despise of a female experiencing an undesirable touch, so I’d rather not try.

She is usually very naïve, but this time Kasak felt her agony more powerful than her fear, and the instant reflex was a slap on his face that led him to run from the scene. The instant she nervously told the girls she’d befriended, about what had happened, they started chasing him with her so they could help her lodge a report against him. Although they lost him after he jumped down on the tracks and fled, she learned an important lesson and taught me one too-the virtue of fighting for what’s right. More importantly, believing you’re not alone in this, and having the right amount of courage to compose yourself to deal with such situations. Had it not been for those girls, she may not have tried to get hold of him at all.

They may say she lost him, but at least they can’t say she didn’t try!

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