A letter from Kashmir


This is the first time I have stepped out after you’ve passed away and I didn’t realize how hard it would be. For starters I can’t call up and fight with you as usual. ‘Why don’t you ever call me? You don’t love me.’ I can’t ask anyone that. Neither can I ask Bhaskar how you are doing, nor are you going to be there when I go back.

A part of me, kept shutting the other away and the silence here just awakened her. I keep shooting and walking the entire day, listening to music so that SC’s fears don’t drive me nuts. ‘How are we going to survive? What will we do? I can’t take it anymore. Let’s just jump into the Dal and die.’ She keeps whispering into my ear. I on the other hand block her out with deafening music, playing in my ears. She cries all the time. Today, she wept so much, a young boy actually came to comfort her. I was so embarrassed, uff, I rushed to the nearest coffee shop, where people recognised me. Sat there for sometime, listening to the owner talk about everything under the sun. The sound of other people’s voices just pulled me out of a dangerous place,

It’s one of those days, when I’m feeling more hopeless than most. A few days ago, father dear, got absolutely hammered and started cursing the neighbours and your dear sister, infront of them. Mr Bhaskar called me up. Apparently he even flung a stone, till I reached home and yelled. The minute he hears, SB, like most men, he calms down. But the other one gets really scared, in any case, she’s terrified after you’ve gone. It’s a strange phenomenon, the part that is scared has become more afraid and the part that is aggressive, has lost it’s shit.

Today, after your dear family pulled another one she came out in the worst way possible. ‘ I’m giving you a last warning. If you don’t stop this slander, I will literally pull out all the skeletons from your closets and then I will prove in a court of law that you cheated a psychiatric patient.’ But nothing your husband or I say, will change their behaviour. Like a friend said to me today, ‘they can’t digest that a girl can lead the life that you do or inherit anything from their parents. So they will not stop. Just stop feeling bad.’ Two of your sisters passed away before you. No one asked their sons about their belongings or their work, no one tried to meddle in their house. So you think they have this audacity because you were unwell or because your husband is an alcoholic or because I’m unmarried? What do think it is? Or is it because that’s what it’s like to born a woman in this country?

Each time I read about a rape case, I think, our souls are raped in our homes long before a man lays a hand on us. Each time, our brothers are told they are the be all and end all of everything. Each time, the daughter is educated less, fed less and made to feel less. This lessening, mitigation of us allows every man to feel he can overpower us- physically, emotionally and financially. If he’s from a better class, has more money, has a good job then he grows up feeling more entitled. The brothers end up whacking their sisters, as do the fathers and then the men in their lives, if they don’t physically hurt them, go ahead and damage their very beings. I don’t even want to comment on my sister’s marriages but one thing is for sure, if their husband’s knew they had someone to fall back on, they wouldn’t dare. We get violated every single day by our people, who turn a blind eye to the flaws of men. What are we going around expecting from strangers?

P.S- These days I end up thanking GD, for not marrying me. I would have been a puppet in everyone’s hands. I wrote to them today saying, I will never get married. No man, no cry, Amma or actually, no man, no yanking around!