Only if I had dared.

Only if I had dared.

Humans have this tendency to blame their own shortcomings to whatever object they can. We work hard on ‘not to be responsible’ instead of ‘being responsible’. There have been so many incidents in my life but the one that leaves me in ashes and self loathing us when I was sixteen years old. 

                               I took a public bus that day. After walking to the bus station I hopped a filthy bus as most of the public vehicles are (again we ourselves are responsible for their condition).  I was sitting by the window I plugged in my earphones while seeing the passing by scenery which was more of a pollution and poverty hazed sight. A girl hopped the bus in next stop. She was pretty. Lemon colored salwar  kamiz with a long braid going all the way to her waist, a tiny bindi was attracting attention to her beautiful forehead. Kajal in her dark eyes gave her kind of exquisite look. She was breathing hard as if she has been running. Sweat had broken out on her pretty face. I noticed her slightly relaxed posture became stiffened when one of the four men who had followed her into the bus came near enough to stand close to her.  He smiled at his comrades and they smiled back. They looked nasty and dangerous.  One standing near the girl was now bumping his body to hers from time to time,  pressing his crotch to her side whenever the bus jerked, touching her whenever possible, murmuring what I guess were  the ugly things in her ear.  She was scared I could sense that, she was embarrassed I could see that,she trembled with rage and shame u was sure of that. She had her eyes cast down. On and on the journey proceeded. Girl hopped down the bus at next stop and the men, those four men followed her. I caught the glimpse of her face when she squeezed passed by my seat and was not shocked to see her cheeks Stained with tears. When the bus moved again  I saw those men still following her and giving vulgar comments out loud. Bus rolled on leaving the ugly sight behind and I realized I have not been listening to the song blaring in my ears at all. I took my earphones off. I saw that the faces of other passengers were very passive as if nothing had happened. Couple of women sitting in front of me discussed in hushed tones ‘what a poor girl….. Why didn’t she said anything..   These days girls are not safe…. She must have encouraged men at some point…huh, I’m amazed at scenario these days…..’ Man on the contrary sat stone faced avoiding each other’s gaze. I felt disgusted and repulsed. Why none of them said anything?  why none of them took her stand?  Why are they not saying anything at all? But the thought that nagged me most then and now is ‘who am I to point them out? Am I any different? Why didn’t I took her stand? 

I didn’t picked the newspaper for two days I’m not sure exactly why. 

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Mahima Singh
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