When I was a child, my mother was extremely overprotective of me. She often spoke to me about sexual predators lurking outside our house, which was in a posh locality in west Delhi. But only the locality was noble, not the mind of people in that vicinity. Unlike other Indian mothers, she was the one who educated me about good touch and bad touch. According to her, bad touch was something that sends chills down your spine and makes you feel uncomfortable – but trying to make a 10-year-old understand that, was a tough task indeed.
It was a cold winter evening in December when the eyes of the devil fell upon me as I was paddling my way through the narrow streets of our housing complex. I was enjoying my ride after having a scrumptious meal prepared by my mother. Lost in my thoughts, my attention was suddenly grabbed by a suspicious middle-aged man standing near the end of the building, facing the boundary wall of our society. Initially, I thought he was urinating, considering the rights men in India have when it comes to pissing publically. I ignored it and began enjoying the after-dinner ride on my bicycle.
Later, I sensed that something was amiss when I saw that person waving his hand asking me to stop the bicycle and so I did. He asked me for directions and pretended to be lost. I innocently nodded and gave him the directions. What happened next traumatized me for years to come. He came closer to me and started unbuttoning my shorts. I resisted his moves, but that didn’t stop him from slipping his hand inside my garments. “I’ll scream, please let me go,” I yelled but he paid no heed to my loud protest.
I ran as soon as I dropped my bicycle on the road, and started yelling at the top of my voice for help – but no one came. I frantically rushed back to my home and closed the door of this memory behind me and never opened it again.