(Photo Courtesy: Twitter/Altered by The Quint)
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Bengaluru Shame: Respecting a Girl’s Consent, Why ‘No’ Means NO!

I have done my due

Time after time

And done this stupid old sentence, but committed no crime.

I have thought this through now,

No more a fool.

Listen up, I give up.

I give up on Bangalore

I give up on Delhi

I give up on Mumbai

And Chennai

I give up on Indore, Jaipur, Shimla, Chandigarh

And of course I give up on Goa.

What good were those news debates I wonder?

How does it matter that my girlfriends and I

Just had an intellectually stimulating conversation about this?

When it happened I was walking home from work at 6.30 pm

Fully clothed, loose, not hugging,

Not modest, without make up, not intoxicated,

Not trying to prove a point,

Not being bossy or opinionated or daring. Or independent

I was not even smoking a cigarette as I walked. Controlling urges.

Not cat walking. Not yawning.

A not-so-expensive-looking ring on my ring finger sat pretty.
To say out loud, 'some other guy's property'.

Phone in my bag.
Come on, I wouldn't ever talk on the phone in an alley,

You know ants and sugar right?

My voice too is sugar.

Provocative sugar.

(Infographic: Harsh Sahani/ The Quint)
(Infographic: Harsh Sahani/ The Quint)

They gathered around me,

same old story, faceless men on a two-wheeler.

Won't glorify what happened next.

It was only 2 minutes. Not noodles.

They got down, made advances, I fought back. Lol.

They kissed me kisses that felt alien.

Stranger things right in the feels.

But not the upside-down-demogorgan kind. Way worse.

It was like an out-of-the-body experience.

It were as if I was up in the air
watching all these sensations happen to me,

but still not feel a thing.

Beyond numb.

They pinned me down

Bang bang

I hit the ground

Bang bang

I was stripped of my clothes,

Of my dignity

Most of all I was stripped of my sense of self.

Of my truth.

Is this for reals? I thought.

Things like this go viral on the news,

On YouTube

And I win fu**ing battles in the fu**ing comment sections.

Can't be happening to me.

F***.

As I watched myself struggle, my mind wandered to the aftermath.

The shame the family would feel;

How my husband would be supportive, but not quite understand.

His parents would confuse this too with some kind of issue with my modern life choices

The pain my mother would go through

The price she’ll pay for a raising an independent child

Hushed conversations near the water-cooler in the office

As I am groped even more violently,

the gravel and dirt of the road in my mouth,

my brain has visions of displays of women empowerment.

On TV and web.

Right now respect for my views is the last thing on my mind

You think these guys understand sarcasm or the purpose of satire?

Shut up item numbers

And for heaven's sake,

shut the f*** up Bollywood.

This faceless mob has taken your ways too seriously.

No is yes.

Walking in the street minding your own business is also yes.

Coz SRK, Salman, Aamir, Ranbir say so.

Yeh uska style hoyenga, hothon pe na dil mein haan hoyenga.
Aaj na chodoonga tujhe, dam dama dam.
Dil mein hai toofan bhara.

Ha ha.

Shut up consent, for you don't exist.



(Infographic: Harsh Sahani/ The Quint)
(Infographic: Harsh Sahani/ The Quint)

If I get out of this,

I am giving up on risking my life every time I go out to work or to enjoy.

Or to f***ing buy groceries for my future kids to get f***ing nutrition.

If I get out of this,

I'm giving up on justifying men ogling at me in the metro, or at a friend’s wedding.

If I get out of this,

I'm giving up on bringing a girl into this world.

Correction: a girl or a boy

Because I'm also giving up on the whole raise your boy right

It's too much.

Please let me go,

I will choose common sense over ideals.

I have learnt my lesson.

I won't go partying wearing clothes that make me happy,

even if it is New Year's Eve.

Especially if it's New Year's Eve,

The year's end is no reason to lose your morals right?

If I get out of this,

I will never put that Oxblood red lipstick.

Or drink my favourite wine.

Or dance to that track I love.

Instead, I will lock the door and stay in at home.

And not call male friends over. Never.

If I get out of this,

I will never smirk as a man explains to me why #NotAllMen is logic.

If I get out of this,

I’ll give up on this whole feminism thing.

I swear.

ACTUALLY F*** THAT.

If I get out of this,

I will go around asking men if they are bored and sing to them

So baby, pull me closer in the backseat of your rover.

At least that way, there will be some twisted kind of consent.

Try me s***es, I could stoop lower.

(Roma is Digital Marketing Manager at Pepsico, poet and fiction-writer. She can be reached @romajoshi. This is a personal blog and the views expressed above are the author’s own. The Quint neither endorses nor is responsible for the same.)