The road was a long lonely path in the dead of the night and the tree leaves were hustling due to the light breeze. The only sound that could be heard was of the field crickets chirping all around, providing music to this silent night. Rosaline, an Australian national, decided to walk home from work that particular day in a bid to enjoy the breeze. She wanted to get away from civilization and think about an incident that happened with her in the office that day. One of her colleagues made a lewd gesture towards her that she found rather disturbing to say the least. If she had been in Australia she would have made sure that she gave the person a piece of her mind. But she could not dare take that risk here in India. She reads about the incidents that happen nearly everyday here and what happened with her was nothing in comparison. She takes a deep sigh , and vows to use this weather and the night to get this incident out of her mind.
She continues her journey towards her flat, with only the accompanying sound of her footsteps for company. Just as she takes the final turn towards her house, another set of footsteps join her. Her heart skips a beat and she could not muster up enough courage to turn around. Instead she continued her walk towards home, her body rigid with fear but her mind determined to make it home. A silent prayer escapes her lips as she continues her sojourn home, teary eyed in company with the stranger’s footsteps. She finally reaches her society and once in the safety of being inside, turns around to find a man in his mid-twenties, a resident of the same society, returning home from work, just like her. Relief spread throughout her body, with a part of her calling herself as stupid to assume so much without any basis.
This incident only highlights the situation so many women in our country have to go through almost on a daily basis. This is becoming an issue of paramount importance. The fear that the females of our country face, whenever they get out of the house, is something the male species should be ashamed of. A country like ours, where all are ancient history we have considered the female to be a sacred goddess. That goddess is being exploited now , and its nothing but to feel ashamed of. Many of us might say that it is only due to a small section of the society, but we should ask ourselves this question : How many times have we looked at an unknown female and admired her physical appearance? We might not take it to be a big deal, but it makes her feel so uncomfortable that her future fears are borne out of the same. So even if we are not committing any crime, we sure as hell are contributing towards the women in our society feel uncomfortable about it.
Its not all doom and gloom though, we do get to hear a lot of examples of men protecting and respecting women, as it should rightly be done. But we should for once look back at the changing dynamics of the society, and think about it : Do we do enough to make women feel safe and comfortable? People might say they do , but how many of them have taken a stand when they see any incident of harassment rather than stand there and watch. Its a paradox I believe, but it is one where the key to getting out of this depends on the male gender. Women will only feel safe around strange men in public places, transports etc when the men will learn to take a stand and it will only happen once they understand that it is their responsibility towards the society as a whole. And once they do learn to take a stand, a potential criminal would never have the guts to harass a lady in public knowing full well the consequences of his actions. We live in hope, but the change starts from within. And it is one change that we should incorporate at the earliest before it is too late and the society and the values go beyond our saving.
Rosaline, shut the door of her apartment and closed her eyes. She called up her mother back in Australia on the pretext of informing her that she reached home. But the truth is all she wanted is to hear her mother’s voice because her mind needed it. For her it had been nothing but a Silent Nightmare.