The hideous gang-rape in Delhi is part of the continuum of violence millions of Indian women face every single day...The Hindu, December 19, 2012.
In Delhi, drape age as a shawl. Be silent. Invisible.
The decades shield a body, the spreading contours (like
a burqa in the wind) merely hinting at sexuality. Sometimes
--not always-- age allows freedom to pass through piss-
Filled backlanes, untouched by men who catcall and jostle
against breasts, masturbate on buses, reach out to fondle
a pubis publicly.
Years ago, a broken bus in Delhi forced a night walk
past the ramparts of Purana Qila. Dimly lit turns
cowered, each shape changer Rape in its mustachioed
menace, waiting to pull apart labial lips in the primal scream,
destroying the only thing a young woman is responsible for
safeguarding, her impenetrability; her mate, her education,
the dominion of others.
Through the years this shawl, stained by the slow drip
of semen on a local train, the sudden shock of a penis
behind the guise of a lost traveller near home, the embrace
of a male relative, a stranger’s grope; this shawl, woven
with the collective memories of women shamed by
Why-only-you? How-did-you-ask-for-it; this shawl, like
our dupattas and anchals, meagre veils against men
brought up badly; this shawl knows how tenuous
the threads, how easily torn ... This shawl,
is now part of the communal sloughing,
slouching uneasily towards losing
all our cover-ups.