Amidst the birthday wishes and loud clapping, the birthday boy stood beaming on the stage, the celebration was in full swing. And I am here seated in the corner, a little aloof the crowd with a continuous thought nagging me. It is almost 5:30 pm and the cake cutting ceremony had just begun. And I knew, if I didn’t make it before the dark, I am in big trouble.

It is the narrow lane I have to take for home from my classes; the reason for my concern. To be able to walk through it in dark is no less than a nightmare. The bunch of nuisance over the corner tea stall always gives me a hard time crossing it. Their dirty comments and their piercing stare gives, not just me but every girl walking that lane cold feet. Those creeps spared none.

BUT none of us dared to voice our fear. If we do, we had to do it by risking our dreams and our freedom.

I had tried once, and that almost cost me my freedom.

The world is filled with such unsocial creeps, and with time I have to learn to deal with them.

This is not the only lane filled with these worthless men waiting to take a swoop over any girls walking through it. 

Almost a year back when I was barely fifteen but by then the world outside had already begun to see the woman in me. While coping with the newly developed features within myself and struggling to understand the changes happening in my body, I had another problem to deal with. And it was those blisters of society. 

That evening the sun was yet to hide behind the horizon when I took my usual route to home with some errands for her mother. A bunch of boys in the dark corner made me conscious and my short steps made my walk stiff and quick. I almost squealed with fear when a man from the crowd walked towards me and stood right before me. 

“Hello, Sikha!”

His impromptu appearance took me by surprise. And my cautioned walk was put to halt abruptly. 

“How is Rajen Uncle? Do give him my regards to both your parents.”

“I am not Sikha,” I replied dryly I replied and tried to walk away. But he blocked my way again.

“Aren’t you Rajen Uncles daughter Sikha?” 

Trying to find a way to escape I moved a little right but he covered that space too…

“What is your name then?” 

He dared to say that…this made my eyes shoot up to get a glimpse of his face. And I regretted doing it as I found his eyes fixed at my bosom and his stare made me feel nude. I had my blue tees and a Capri on. My shoulders drooped down trying to shield myself from his piercing gaze. 

He continued with his eyes still hooked on my bust “Your parents must have given you a name…Hmmm?”

I tried to escape again, but that bastard had the guts to block my way sticking his hands out, which slightly brushed against my bosom. I knew he did it on purpose, his face did say that he enjoyed the fraction of touch.

I anyhow managed to get away and all this while the rest behind him was enjoying the entire scene.

That was my first ever such encounter. My legs went weak as I ran back home. I could hear those besetting bunch of nonsense laughing at me. Tears rolled down my cheeks. I didn’t understand the turmoil of feeling that whirled in me. I was angry, disgusted, hatred filled my heart but above all, I felt filthy. His gaze seemed to penetrate through my tees, crawled all over my bare skin. 

I dashed in the house sobbing and my mother standing at the kitchen door was baffled to see me that way. She followed me into my room. On hearing my entire narration her expression confused me. I was not able to figure out what she had in her mind. A certain cloud of anger covered the face, that is what I thought from the look she gave me. 

I still don’t know what she was in her mind at that time.

The mood at the dinner table was serious. I could sense that my dad was well informed about the evening incident. But no one dared to speak a word. 

“I think we will have to stop her from going to class.” I heard my mom talk to dad that night. I know I was not supposed to listen to their private talks, but what I heard stopped me from going to the kitchen to fill my empty bottle of water.

“I will talk to her tomorrow about it.” Dad’s reply made me cringe; I cursed myself for spilling everything to mom. Now I had to let go of my idea of scoring better in math this semester, this thought didn’t let me sleep that night. 

To read the second part click here

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