Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Everything was Exciting When I was 15

This entry is a bit more on the personal side but I figured it was about time to make good to the title of this blog. I don’t remember the last time I felt excited. I get nervous; last week was exam week if you want proof. I definitely get angry – just ask my brother – and I do feel happy meeting my friends but excitement has been missing. 

When I was in 3rd standard and the final results had come out, I had topped the class. And I found out through a friend who blurted it out before I even collected my report card. Ever since then I had managed to be within the top 5 in the class and in my entire school career, the rush never went away. 

I remember when I had my first sleepover. I had been trying to get permission for years before I received one and I couldn’t stop grinning for days. Now thinking about a sleepover makes me wonder if I will be able to stay up late enough as is the sleepover code.

In my last year in school, I took a week long trip with people who were previously acquaintances and are now some of my best friends. I remember obsessively packing and repacking, making sure I forgot nothing. When I visited the 'Valley of Flowers' last month, I packed hours before my flight was due to depart. 

It isn’t that I don’t enjoy travelling, or a sleepover, or getting a good score but my stomach doesn’t erupt into butterflies. The only constriction in my chest is from hyperventilating before my literature paper. 

Saturday, 27 August 2016

Why We Need Conversations About Sexual Harassment

I was groped. The setting is simple - I had gone out to buy a reference book I needed. It was a little past Eight and one of the streets I took was fairly dark. However, being a residential area, I presumed it to be safe. Of course, as it turns out, it wasn't. And really, that is what it boils down to. 

I was walking in one direction and he came in through the opposite on a bicycle. After my brain registered what happened, I immediately hit him with my book; I only wish I had a heavier one. I should’ve knocked down his cycle or yelled or kicked him or something, but I didn’t. Instead I chased him down half the road and immediately lost him for he was on a cycle and soon far out reach. If you asked me to recognise him I wouldn’t be able to. But I couldn’t stop shaking for the next half hour and I can still feel his touch, or should I say the gross violation of privacy. 

As dehumanised as I feel, I know that I am safe (for now). I know that the statistics were never in my favour, that there are worse things that can happen to a girl on a dark, empty road. But that knowledge is meaningless.  Statistics are numbers on a paper and this is sadly, the reality. 

With the recent blacklisting of social justice and feminism, rape culture has been dismissed as something women make up. In this age where anger is the norm; where venting on the internet is easy, we forget that these discussions we have are about humans.Conversations about social issues didn’t begin because someone wanted to be a social justice warrior; they stemmed from real life. When you say ‘take a joke’ or ‘political correctness gone mad’ you are dismissing the scary reality of thousands upon thousands of people. And by no means, should this discourse be limited to women. Men are just as likely to get raped and have their story fall on deaf ears. I am not trying to be progressive. This is the simple case of of creating safer worlds for the people who reside in them.