I am burning with a passion so fierce as I’m pressing these keys. It was an incident that made me test my own strength. And if there truly is a god above, at least I would be able to answer that I did not maintain a neutral stance at the hour of moral crisis.
Today, as I was walking the horribly crowded streets of Delhi, much changed in the afternoon that was just like any other.
I was groped by a man.
I felt his hand on my breast. It was the ugliest feeling I’ve ever known.
The rest happened within seconds. I pushed away the hand, turned around and was face to face with a dirty and rugged old man with squinted greying eyes. He was carrying a heavy stick in his hand. I acted on instincts and with all the strength I had, I kicked him at the back of his knees again and again.
By then, I could deduce he was a crazy man, mentally unfit.
He started threatening me with his stick and raised it up in an attempt to hit me and I thought for a second he would drop it with full force upon my head. Still, I did not take a step back and kept standing in the same place boldly.
The sad reality struck me when I saw not a person coming to my support but choosing to be mere spectators instead.
Before long, I found my hand advancing towards the pepper spray (which I always carry inside my bag) but I was more or less trying to understand the situation. My brain started working faster than ever. First, he was half mad (still, that he groped me by the breast tells a different story). Second, if I used the pepper-spray, the other people would have to suffer as well. Third, I could use the power of the crowd to help me through the situation.
Then I began shouting at the top of my lungs how I would have him jailed if he so much as dared moving a step.
Perhaps that made the people around me understand what was happening, for it was then that a few shopkeepers and other men came forth and started pushing away that madman.
All this while, he was still threatening me.
I beckoned more people to support me. I cried for help and the earlier deaf ear had started to hear.
I was a witness to the amount of strength a crowd has. After all, it’s made of you and I, isn’t it? And we must not forget that we are powerful.
Later when the matter was settled, a few people also inquired in soft tones if I was alright which was a positive gesture.
Now that I think about it, now that a considerable amount of time has passed by, I’m glad that I refused to be silent, that I refused to be a porcelain doll only fit for the shelf.
At that moment I wasn’t just an individual, I wasn’t just Kanika Tripathi. I was every woman, I was every person who was victim to harassment or abuse. I was not just my own voice but I was also the voice of the voiceless, I was a torch to those who had seen nothing save for darkness.
If I had not taken this stand, would I be writing this post? Would I be living with satisfaction, living without regrets and sorries?
Would I be able to answer myself and my deeds? Would I have a story to tell to those who need my light?
The answer is no and though this test was something I would pray no other soul should have to endure, I’m satisfied that I passed it and came out, above all, victorious in my own eyes.