Rapes Don’t Affect Me Now; The Khabar Isn’t Taaza Anymore
“I feel a stir only when I am worried that my morning cuppa is turning cold.’'
“I feel a stir only when I am worried that my morning cuppa is turning cold.’'(Photo: The Quint/Ankita Das)

Rapes Don’t Affect Me Now; The Khabar Isn’t Taaza Anymore

There’s a distinct familiarity that stales even the most barbaric incidents.

Of late, such is the nature of my guilt.

Back home, at around 2 in the morning every day, I hear a loud thud. The first day, it left me shaken. It is the kind of noise that would make you sit upright and prick your ears open. I could not muster the courage to go take a look. I pulled the covers up over my head and shut my eyes tightly.

The second day was no better. But, surprisingly, the third day was a surprise. I was wary, yes. But I wasn’t alarmed. The jitters had died out. I figured If I could just sit tight and tune out the noise, everything would be fine.

Something similar manages to come over me every morning.

I skim through the morning news. The headlines are cluttered and packed together. I scan every corner. Lazily.

I feel a stir only when I am worried that my morning cuppa is turning cold.

A business merger. A political victory. A rape. A celebrity wedding. A rape again. I blink twice, reread the headline and my reflexes lead me to a sigh. But I carry on, nevertheless.

My eyes drift to a photograph of a silk dress, donned by a Bollywood queen. She is perched on a podium, resplendent in blue. Head thrown back, she laughs feistily. There is a crowd before her, cheering her on. Their faces look excited, almost manic.

I am a bit more drawn to the newspaper now. The caffeine must be kicking in. Right below the photograph is another headline. The print is bolder and sentences shorter. Crisper. It has too many full stops.

No fine print. Unlike the earlier ones.

This one too is reporting a rape. A 16-year-old raped on her way to school. I wonder for a second why this incident called for a print that was bolder and bigger than the one reporting the 25-year-old’s rape.

She was on her way back from a night club. Her car was hauled aside and she was dragged out and raped. Seven times. Was it any less heinous?

I cringe, take a sip from my mug, and start thinking of breakfast.

I remind myself every time that the apathy is not justified...every time I read reports about rapes and molestations. That’s usually seven or eight times a day. By the fifth or sixth time, my shoulders don’t square up, eyes refuse to widen, and instincts are grateful that the victim wasn’t me.

I don’t quite know when the frequency of the incidents led to my passivity.

This does not mean that I don’t live in constant anxiety of getting raped when walking down a deserted road or coming back from work at midnight.

I do.

Despite this, the khabar isn’t taaza any more.