Wednesday, April 9, 2014


Both the sisters huddled together on the bed as they watched the epic Mahabharata on TV. The current episode was about Draupadi's vastraharan. The little one uttered tiny sobs once in a while, but the elder one sat stonefaced with blank vacant eyes. The younger sister squealed animatedly as Dushasan tugged Panchali's saree and she closed her eyes to pray. When Lord Krishna appeared and saved Panchali from being disrobed in public, the little one held her elder sister's arm, "It's such a powerful image. See, I have got goosebumps."

The elder one kept staring at the TV screen devoid of emotions, "This is Kalyug yet everything is the same. There are Duryodhans and Dushasans waiting at every corner to disrobe a woman. There are bystanders, just standing there with their heads bowed, unwilling to interfere, citing societal rules, or ducking behind ancient laws. Thousands of years ago Draupadi was called characterless because she had five husbands. Nowadays we are labelled characterless if we have male friends. And that label was enough to humiliate her then, it is enough to rape us now. The only thing that has changed is that no God is coming to save us anymore. Apparently He has also forsaken us," she laughed a mirthless laughter.

The younger one knew that her sister was disillusioned because of the harrowing ordeal she had gone through recently. She was trying to lighten her mood but it had backfired. She hugged her sister tightly and whispered, "Didi, maybe He is here already. Maybe He is within each one of us giving us strength, the power to take care of ourselves. I know you are hurting but you have to be strong and get over this. You are responsible for your own happiness so do whatever makes you happy... do anything that will help you get over this horrible experience. Putting this episode behind you and living your life on your own terms - that'll be your victory, that'll be His victory."
The elder one kept quiet staring at the screen as Draupadi vowed for revenge.

Next week there was a breaking news in all the TV news channels. In a first of its kind, a rape survivor had thrown acid on the man who was accused to be her rapist. He was released two months ago due to lack of evidence. After the attack, he sustained 90% burns and was critical. The woman had surrendered with a big smile on her face. She was surrounded by a horde of supporters, fault-finders, detractors, and media all waiting for a sound byte.

Her younger sister, sitting alone in their room, saw the news with tears streaming down her face, "This is not what I meant. This is not what I meant..."

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