Poem: When They Meet Up There

Last week in Maharashtra’s Wardha district, a 25-year-old woman teacher was set ablaze by her stalker, a married man. A week later, she succumbed to the injuries. I was pained and too moved to read about the trauma and agony the girl underwent. I am writing my heart out here. Because somewhere up there, these innocent victims are watching us, together.

When They Meet Up There

Hello Nirbhaya, here I come.
Untimely death sent me here.
I knew I would get to see you here,
You also died a premature death.

The difference between you and me is
That you were ravaged and raped,
And left to die on the road,
On that fateful cold winter night.

I was awarded death because
I dared to say ‘no’.
His cowardly machismo couldn’t tolerate.
How could I be bold enough to say ‘no’?

I was burnt alive. On my face
He poured the kerosene.
The acid is free, the petrol is free,
Only we girls are not free from the fear.

I can see some young girls here.
A six-year-old from Kathua, now eternally free from the trauma.
She, too, didn’t get a chance to live a full life.
That one staring at me from the corner,
I guess she comes from Unnao.

The candle marches and prayers.
They are seeking justice for me,
The way they did for you.
Years bygone and
The culprits still dare to plea ‘Mercy’?

The pain I underwent,
When the flames burnt my food pipe,
The two heart attacks I suffered,
finally took my life.

How many Nirbhayas more?
And how many times shall be
Justice delayed, Justice Denied?

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